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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

The theory of intersectionality provides a framework to improve visualizing identity as a conglomerate of inseparable, overlapping categories of an individual’s characteristics or identifications. The political implications of this theory serve to modernize oversimplified Black voter profiles with a more nuanced approach. The introduction of President Barack Obama was a critical paradigm shift in the relationship between voters and presidential candidates, especially Black voters. Black-identifying Americans overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama in both 2008 and 2012, and have voted in large numbers for Democratic candidates in most recent elections. Yet, Black voters are not a monolith. Among other cleavages, Black evangelicals differ from most other Black-identifying voters in their views on several important issues like LGBTQ+ marriage equality and abortion rights. Black evangelicals are in fact more conservative in comparison to most Black voters. This study aims to answer why Black-identifying evangelicals align with the Democratic party despite these divisions, and to understand the role that an intersectional lens plays in remapping Black political attitudes and behavior. This study draws upon nearly 200 survey responses and 15 interviews and compares them to the 1996 National Black Election Study and the 2016 CNN Exit Poll. Due to the influx of racially diverse presidential candidates, a more interdisciplinary lens is imperative to confronting assumptions about Black voters.

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