This Election Cycle Is Very Different for Black Voters

How is the 2016 election different from the 2012 election in terms of black voters? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Vanessa De Luca, Editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, on Quora:

The 2016 election is different in that there are more eligible millennial-age Black voters who can participate in this year's election than there were in 2012. The candidate who is able to capture their imagination could have a substantial lead in the race to the White House. For many, Bernie Sanders was favored among millennials; with him out of the race, many millennials are stating that they will not be voting at all.

As in 2008 and 2012, the Black vote continues to be a powerful voting bloc in 2016. The Black vote drove the decision in those last two elections, and could do the same in 2016 if people come out and are engaged. But in order for that engagement to happen, the candidates must show they have policies and ideas that are important to this community.

Essence partnered with the Black Women's Roundtable, a civic participation organization, both last year and again this year to poll nearly 3,000 readers about the presidential race, and what issues are top of mind for them that they hope the candidates will address.

Our respondents told us that they vote because they feel it is their duty; our ancestors fought long and hard for this right, and we must respect and honor their efforts.

In terms of the issues they hope the candidates address, our respondents put affordable health care, a living wage, and social justice and police reform on the top of the list of the issues they care about.

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