Aug 7, 2022 • 1HR 5M

Theory of Change #049: Brandi Collins-Dexter on why Democrats shouldn't take Black votes for granted

Author Brandi Collins-Dexter discusses her book Black Skinhead and the varieties of Black political experience


Appears in this episode

Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? History is filled with stories of people and institutions that spent big and devoted many resources to effect change but have little to show for it. By contrast, many societal developments have happened without forethought from anyone. And of course, change can be negative as well as positive. In each episode of this weekly program, Theory of Change host Matthew Sheffield delves deep with guests to discuss larger trends in politics, religion, media, and technology.
Episode details
[Article Image]
Musician Kanye West performs in concert. Photo: Rodrigo Ferrari

Episode Summary

Since the 1964 presidential election, Americans of African ancestry have voted overwhelmingly for Democratic presidential candidates. Republicans in most races usually get in the single digits, according to decades of opinion surveys.

On the surface, it may seem like Black Americans have an undying loyalty to the Democratic party. But when you take a closer look, you see that there’s a much more complicated situation. And that’s because Black Americans are actually no different than any other racial group in having many different ideological groups.

In fact, many Black people are actually conservative and not just on religious matters either, but they don’t want to vote for a Republican party that has a decades long history of empowering and pandering to racists, especially since Donald Trump came on the political scene in 2015. But even that aspect is complicated as well, because Trump actually got more Black votes in 2020 than he did during his first presidential run.

According to exit polling by Edison Research in 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 69 points among Black men. But four years later, Joe Biden had only a 60 point margin. A similar trend happened among Black women. In 2016, Democrats won the group by 90%. In 2020, they won by 81%. This trend parallels a similar movement among Hispanic voters, which we’ve discussed in a previous episode.

And it raises all sorts of questions. Joining us to discuss is Brandi Collins-Dexter. She’s the author of a book that will be coming out in September called Black Skinhead: Reflections on Blackness and Our Political Future. She’s also a former senior campaign director at Color of Change, which is a progressive activism group.

The full transcript, audio, and video of this episode are available to subscribers. Please join today to get full access with Patreon or Substack.

Listen to this episode with a 7-day free trial

Subscribe to

Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
to listen to this episode and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.