2024 election; Black voters in Milwaukee weigh options

Black voters will play a crucial role in deciding who wins battleground Wisconsin. Democrats are confronted with some worrying numbers in recent national polling.

In 2020, 87% of the Black vote nationally went to Biden and 12% voted for Trump, according to the estimates of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research.

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But a Pew Research survey this May found Biden's number down 10%, with 77% of Black registered voters preferring Biden to Trump.

The question for the largest ethnic group in battleground Wisconsin's largest city: President Joe Biden or former President Donald Trump?

"The only reason I’m voting for Biden is because there’s nobody else," said Darren Reaves, a Milwaukee voter. "Now, if there was somebody else, I’d vote for them."

Reaves has decided against voting for Trump. "This dude is a felon. And the bad part about it is: I actually like this guy. I like him, but he’s a felon."

In 2020, Biden won about 79% of the city, and Trump won about 19.6%. For a third time, Trump can count on the vote of Michaela Smith.

"I don’t think Biden can take a verbal beating from Trump," Smith said. "I mean [Trump's] just very straightforward. He’s for the people. I think he just says things how it is."

Another question is how many people will sit out this election, with no interest in voting for either of the main political party candidates? Turnout has been down in Milwaukee. It peaked in 2012, when former President Barack Obama was last on the ballot.

From that year to 2016, when Democrats lost, Milwaukee County saw a drop in 50,000 voters. Numbers in 2020 rose from 2016, but were still 33,000 down from 2012.

"The last president I voted for…was Obama," said Ulysses Gordon, also of Milwaukee. "Obama let me down, and I stopped voting, stopped voting ever since."

He said he plans to skip 2024 as well.

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"The main thing I don’t like about Biden is his border policy. And as far as Trump, Trump is totally different. Trump will destroy the United States," he said." One is a crook and one is senile. Neither of them should get a vote. I liked Nikki Haley, but she screwed up when she didn’t win."

Joe Biden; Donald Trump

Biden backer Teresa Johnson-Cook hopes to convince people to turn out. "It's ridiculous, ‘I’m not going to vote because what difference does it make.’ Blah, blah, blah, blah," Johnson-Cook said. "People died so we could vote. Vote."

Delora Putnam-Bryant is torn and undecided.

"Honestly, they are both way too old for my liking," she said. "I still am undecided. Like, neutral, like not voting at all, which I don’t want to do, or it will probably be Biden. I don’t know. Honestly, I’m just in the middle. I’m torn."

FOX6 caught up with voters at Milwaukee's Juneteenth celebration. Two 18-year-olds who recently graduated from Bradley Tech are planning to vote this fall. 

"It’s kind of stressful," said Nasheem Sanders of pondering his vote.

"I just don’t know enough between the both of them to vote in general, so I’m in the middle, still," added Jaquan Khee.

Khee said his social media usage, including TikTok, provides some information about the candidates.

"With Trump, they talk about his charges. They talk about that a lot. And with Biden, they talk about him being old and him with the wars and all that."

While Khee is undecided, Sanders says he's planning to vote for Biden.

And another unknown: How many will vote third party?

"I understand the pros and cons to both sides, both main candidates, and I don’t really align with either one," said Tajzee Strong, who plans to vote for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

"I like the fact that he pools the controversial sides from both main candidates and he’s not afraid to tackle them. He’s not afraid to answer questions," added Strong.

She admits the chances of Kennedy winning are slim, but that's not keeping her from voting for the independent candidate.

Until Election Day, she can be ready for a steady stream of TV ads, mailers and calls, all trying to sway her vote.

For four years, Republicans have had a campaign office in the heart of the African American community in the Bronzeville area. "Black Voters for Biden-Harris" is a initiative urging Democratic votes in Milwaukee, a city that will play a major role in the race to the White House.