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The Black Establishment Wants Hillary Clinton. What About Black Voters?

Democratic Candidates Attend New Hampshire Democratic Party ConventionDemocratic Candidates Attend New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton raises her arms stands on stage during the New Hampshire Democratic Party Convention at the Verizon Wireless Center on September 19, 2015 in Manchester, New Hampshire.Photograph by Scott Eisen—Getty Images

Hillary Clinton might have lost New Hampshire this week, but she won something else: A vote of confidence from the black establishment.

On Thursday, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, which lobbies and fundraises on behalf of black Congressmen, endorsed Hillary Clinton.

“As someone who consistently worked with the Congressional Black Caucus as a U.S. senator from New York, she supported legislation to ban racial profiling, prosecute hate crimes, and eliminate racial disparities in the healthcare system. And she stood with us on consistently voting to raise the minimum wage, championing the Paycheck Fairness Act, and helping minority-owned small businesses,” reads a statement on the PAC’s website.


It’s unclear if the endorsement will influence voters, though. While some political experts argue that such endorsements don’t matter, others say that every little bit helps. And when it comes to the black vote, that little bit can go a long way.

The black vote is crucial to the Democratic party: In the 2014 House elections, almost a quarter of the Democratic vote came from African Americans, according to the Washington Post. Moreover, the black vote helped President Obama win the presidential election in 2008—he won four swing states because of it.

Clinton only won 22% of the black vote in 2008 when she ran against President Obama in the primaries, but she’s likely to get a much higher percentage this time around, given that she has President Obama’s—if unofficial—support (she was his Secretary of State, after all). The president still enjoys nearly universal support from black Americans, according to Gallup.

While Bernie Sanders might have won New Hampshire, that state is only 1.5% black. The next few primaries will be held in states with much greater racial diversity. Nevada, whose Democratic caucus will take place on Feb. 20, is 9% black; South Carolina, whose Democratic primary is on Feb. 27, is 28% black, according to FiveThirty Eight.