Understanding The Clintons' Popularity With Black Voters
It's true that Bill Clinton enjoyed heavy support from the black community in the 1990s. But as Hillary Clinton seeks the nomination herself, some are raising questions about just how good the Clinton presidency was for black Americans — not to mention whether Hillary Clinton should get any credit (or, alternatively, blame) for her husband's legacy.
Why Black Voters Loved Bill
In fact, history has misunderstood that "first black president" idea, as Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote last year. Author Toni Morrison later said she was trying to talk not about Clinton's popularity with black voters but his treatment in the public arena, especially following the Monica Lewisnky scandal ("I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp").
What drove that popularity? In part, it was regionalism. Clinton did particularly well among Southern African-Americans, and the fact that he was from Arkansas probably helped him.
"Because of his Southern heritage, he appeared to be very, very comfortable in African-American communities," says Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University. That ease, Gillespie said, ranges from his famous sax-playing appearance on The Arsenio Hall Show to his ease on the campaign trail in interacting with black voters — it "sort of hinted at a certain type of cultural fluency that was welcome to African-American voters," she added.
His Southern heritage probably helped him with white voters, too, though — hence the nickname "Bubba."
And once he was in office, he tried to show he was reaching across color lines.
"I think that a mixture of his personality and his politics really made him relatable and likable to many in the black community," said Stefanie Brown James
The Clinton years were also known for a booming economy. During that time, the median household income in African-American households grew by 25 percent, twice as fast as it did for all households nationwide. In addition, African-American unemployment plummeted from 14.1 percent to 8.2 percent (of course, the unemployment rate also fell for other groups). And the administration touted its record of boosting loans to minorities.
While it's true that African-Americans vote overwhelmingly Democratic, identity is just one small part of the many factors playing into the choice between Clinton and Sanders.https://www.npr.org/2016/03/01/46818569 ... ack-voters
Vote gas station. Anyone hear about gas station?
, "I think people forget that we've lived in the White House for six years. ... Before that, Barack Obama was a black man that lived on the South Side of Chicago, who had his share of troubles catching cabs."