Waning enthusiasm from Black voters presents an inflection point for Biden’s campaign

R. John Thomas of Cincinnati, Ohio, said he did not participate in a new NBC News poll indicating 20% of Black voters would consider selecting Donald Trump if the presidential election were held today. But if he had been polled, Thomas said, he is not sure what his response would have been.

This alarmed him. “It should be a no-brainer,” he said.

“I’m not a Trump supporter — let’s make that clear,” he said. “But I was concerned about President Biden. What has he done for Black people, who were a big reason for him winning? You hear that noise coming from the other side and you think, ‘It’s the same ol’, same old’: People begging for our votes, but not doing anything for us after they get it.”

“But I’m not panicking. The election is a year out,” Thomas, 37, added. “The picture will get focused over time. It’s all cloudy now. But it’s still concerning.”

The share of Black voters who have chosen Republican presidential candidates has been low since the 1960s, after Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat, signed landmark civil rights legislation in 1964 and was elected to a full term later that year. Since then, the Black electorate has overwhelmingly sided with Democrats, with candidates earning 70% or more of the Black vote.