The Presidential race will take on new meaning in the next two primaries, as Nevada and South Carolina make their choice for the White House. The elephant in the room for Hilary Clinton is can she win over the black voters? These two states have a more diverse population than Iowa and New Hampshire, so the color question now comes into view.
Clinton received some support on Thursday as The Congressional Black Caucus Political Action Committee – the political arm of the Congressional Black Caucus – came out in her support.
“She has been, her whole career, an individual fighting for issues important to the African-American community,” said Congressman Greg Meeks, chairman of the group. “The person that has partnered with the CBC over the years is Hillary Clinton.”
During a press conference, other members of the PAC derided Mr Sanders for not supporting the Brady gun control bill, which strengthened background checks, and for voting in 2005 for a bill that gave immunity to gun manufacturers (he recently co-sponsored a bill that would end the practice). It’s too easy for children in African-American communities to access guns, they argued.
“Bernie Sanders has not just been missing in action, he’s been on the wrong side,” on guns, said Hakeem Jeffries, a representative from New York. PAC members said they would be heading to South Carolina to urge voters to go with Mrs Clinton in the primary.
However, it is not all plain sailing for Clinton. There has also been some negative reporting towards her. An article in The Nation Magazine by black legal scholar Michelle Alexander, argues that policies her husband Bill implemented as President and she fully supported, such as the crime bill to welfare reform they decimated black America.
Her article, “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote,” argues that in the election, there’s such a thing as a lesser evil, and Clinton is not that.
“When politicians start telling you that it is ‘unrealistic’ to support candidates who want to build a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system, it’s probably best to leave the room,” writes Alexander.
More support for Saunders comes from Ben Jealous, former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.He told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow this week that he respects Bernie Sanders for holding onto idealism.”My theory is…game recognises game. You send your idealist, we send our idealist, and a compromise will be a real compromise.”
Further support for Bernie Saunders comes in the shape of Black writer Ta-Nehisi Coates of the Atlantic, author of “The Case for Reparations”. Despite Mr Sanders having said he is opposed to reparations for black people over slavery in America because it is too “divisive” of an issue.”One can say Senator Sanders should have more explicit antiracist policy within his racial justice platform, not just more general stuff, and still cast a vote for Senator Sanders and still feel that Senator Sanders is the best option that we have in the race,” he told Democracy Now.
A recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll in South Carolina shows that Clinton has a 74% to 17% advantage among blacks in the state. Therefore she certainly has an advantage going into South Carolina. However, that doesn’t mean South Carolinians won’t change their minds come Election Day on February 27th, unless that exit poll is as wrong as the one in New Hampshire.