Hillary Clinton is focused on re-energizing a critical voting bloc in Ohio and Florida to help win the White House: Black folks.
Polls show Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are locked in tight races in Ohio and Florida where turnout among African-Americans and Hispanics could help decide the election.
Clinton needs these two states to reach the 270 electoral votes necessary to become America’s first woman president.
But Democrats are worried that many African-American voters are underwhelmed by Clinton. So the Clinton campaign is rallying the African-American faithful in both states.
“I’m not inspired by Hillary, but I’m voting for her anyway,” said one African-American professional in New York. “I certainly can’t vote for Trump.”
Polls show that while more than 60% of Americans surveyed feel Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy, she still enjoys overwhelming support from Black voters.
Clinton has received endorsements from African-American congressional leaders, Black educators, unions, lawyers, faith leaders, the NAACP, The National Urban League, and Black mothers who have lost sons to gun violence, including Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, 17, who was shot and killed in 2012 by George Zimmerman.
Trump, in contrast, reportedly can only count on less than two percent of the Black vote.
“Look at how badly things are going under decades of Democratic leadership — look at the schools, look at the 58 percent of young African-Americans not working,” Trump said last month during a rally of mostly white supporters. “It is time for change.”
Black folks are not voting for Trump in large numbers, we know that, but Democrats are wondering if African-American voters will turn out in as mass a number as they did for President Obama.
Only time will tell.
But there’s not that same rallying call today like in 2008 and 2012 when Obama was campaigning. And Clinton can’t duplicate the euphoric feeling when Obama was in contention to become the first African-American president.
African-American turnout in Obama’s re-election victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 was the first time since 1968 that Blacks outvoted whites, according to the U.S. Census.
But I don’t feel that same sense of urgency in the Black community today although the Black electorate is key to this presidential race with 38 days left before Election Day.
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in panic mode. Full panic mode,” Leslie Wimes, a South Florida-based president of the Democratic African-American Women Caucus, told POLITICO.
And for some reason, despite the fact that Trump blows himself up every day with self-inflicting wounds, Clinton just can’t seem to put him away.
“Obama enjoyed support from 95 percent of Florida’s Black voters in both 2012 and 2008, according to exit polls. Clinton isn’t polling quite that well in a state that has nearly 1.7 million Black votes. An average of the last three Florida polls that provided racial breakdowns shows she’s polling less than 85 percent among African-American voters in Florida, while Trump polls around 5 percent,” according to POLITICO.
Clinton is also mobilizing Black women. Why? Because Black women vote — and they vote in large numbers.
African-American women turned out at a rate of 70 percent in 2012, 4 points higher than white women and 7 points higher than white men, according to the Center for American Progress. And Obama garnered 96 percent of the Black female vote.
Clinton needs support from Black voters — and Black female voters in particular.
I do believe Clinton will win the election and make history when she walks into the Oval Office. But she needs Black voters to help her fight Trump in battleground states like Ohio and Florida.
We’ll know which candidate America will call “President” in less than six weeks.
Let’s hope it’s not the billionaire bigot.
What do you think?