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History being made on the first day of Black History Month w/ 2 black candidates running for President! This is exciting but begs the ❓how will this affect black voters? Especially since every Dem candidate needs black votes

Im glad you asked. Have I got a thread for you
Lets start w/ Obama. He is a unicorn! Everything he brought to the table in 2008 is hard, if not impossible, to replicate. Not to mention even *he* had to work to get black voters in the primary.

If blk support wasnt automatic for him, it wont be for Harris and Booker 2/?
Im sure many of us have heard some variation of “they [will/have] vote[d] for ::inset blk pol here:: because [s]he’s black” to explain black voting behavior.

This drastically oversimplifies black political behavior. Our use of race us much more complex than that... 3/?
During the time of political exclusion, many black people used social sanctions to create and maintain group cohesion & ensure black people put the group interest above their own interests...

This is what @chryllaird and Ismail White call “social accountability”

What does any of this have to do with Booker and Harris running??

You all ask amazing questions!

I argue that Black people expect *and prefer* candidates (black & white) who put the black community’s interests above their own individual interests. 5/?
This behavior is epitomized in the actions of many of the Civil Rights leaders, which may explain why they garner so much support from black voters.

Moreover, many of the 1st black pols were leaders in CRM and thus set the benchmark for effective leadership for many black ppl
But how do non-civil rights leaders do this???

How can Harris and Booker or Biden and Sanders do this?? ::said in anguish::

Be ye not dismayed for I bring you a theory!

My community commitment signaling framework tells us that candidates can communicate their prioritization of the black community’s interest through discussions of their commitment to the community.

And they can do this in two ways- personal sacrifice or social connection.

Personal sacrifice signals are those that reference past actions in which the candidate has placed the groups interests first.

These signals communicate a realized accountability b/c they have already proven the community is their #1 priority.

Social connection signals are those that rely on individuals, symbols, or institutions to show.

These signals convey a potential accountability to the group because the candidate has yet to show thr groups prioritization only an understanding of thr expectations

Heres a picture of my framework...

SO... what does this MEAN?!

It means that Booker and Harris along with all the other Dems have to prove that they will prioritize black voters in ways that are not inherently known based solely on skin color.

They have to prove it!

Harris and Booker have hurdles with black voters. Coming after Obama who left somewhat of a sour taste in the mouths of many black people, the burden of showing social accountability is high

But they cant appeal 2 much b/c that would isolate white voters. Its a tightrope

And lets not forget (in case you have) that Harris is a woman which introduces a whole HOST of other hurdles, signals, and expectations that supplement those I’ve shown here because, well...

So keep your eyes out for the signals... I’ve shown a few in this thread, but now that you’ve seen (and hopefully believed?) you cannot unsee them...

Thanks for coming to my Ted Talk.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Candy?


I want to be clear that Im not arguing that black voters are not a monolith. We are a beautiful people with varied opinions and ideologies. That said, big picture things like racial equality, policing of black bodies, etc matter to *most* of us in important ways
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