The generation of African Americans pushing criminal-
justice issues and institutional racism to the forefront of the presidential election had little effect at the ballot box during this primary season, according to an analysis of exit polling across 25 states.
African Americans account for a larger share of Democratic primary voters this year than they did in 2008, but that is because of older black voters, not higher participation by younger black people.
Across two dozen states where exit polls were conducted in 2008 and this year, black voters older than 45 grew from 12 percent of the electorate on average in 2008 to 16 percent this year. In those same states, black voters younger than 45 made up 11 percent of voters in 2008 vs. 10 percent this year.
President Obama, in his commencement address last weekend at Howard University, praised young black activists for bringing new energy to the ongoing movement for racial justice and equality, but he said: “You have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes.”