Less known, as Philip Bump wrote last year, is that Trump actually “did slightly better with black voters than did John McCain in 2008 or Mitt Romney in 2012,” albeit worse than George W. Bush or earlier Republicans.
More interesting is that the slippage in vote choice continued through to the 2018 midterms. Turnout wasn’t the issue here, with African Americans constituting 12 percent of the midterm electorate, flat from 2016 and the highest-ever recorded for a midterm. Rather, according to Democratic data firm Catalyst’s analysis of the results, Democrats won the black vote by “only” a 90 percentage point margin in 2018 House races down from 93 percent in the 2016 presidential.
Obviously that’s still a huge landslide. But the direction of the shift is striking. House Democrats in 2018 did 7 percentage points better than Hillary Clinton with non-college whites and 10 percentage points better with white college grads on the path to a popular vote edge of 7 percentage points rather than 2.
A similar pattern is observable in specific key races.