With outsize influence, black voters are ready to make themselves heard

The first votes of the Democratic presidential primary remain more than a year away, but black voters are keenly aware of the prominent role they will play in choosing the next nominee. In 2016, Mr. Sanders’s “political revolution” flamed out with black voters, and Hillary Clinton fell short of the robust black turnout she needed to defeat Donald J. Trump.

This time around, Democrats are weighing how to reach out to the black community in the primary without losing the ability to appeal to the suburban and working class whites who propelled Mr. Trump to victory. As the party searches for a candidate who can combine those messages — from a field likely to include several racial minorities — many black voters want to be engaged in a manner that reflects their electoral power, and not passed over in favor of a strategy that prioritizes Mr. Trump’s heavily white coalition.

With that in mind, potential Democratic candidates interested in the 2020 nomination have begun reaching out to black leaders and are testing messages for black voter outreach. This courting is particularly critical for white, liberal Democrats like Ms. Warren, Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio and lesser-known figures like Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon.