Bernie Sanders Meets with Al Sharpton

Appealing to African-Americans

Sanders took a first step in lining up support from African-Americans by meeting with the Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City right after the primary in New Hampshire ended. He must appeal to blacks who supported Barack Obama, particularly in the south where there are heavy black populations. It is not completely clear what Sharpton can do to help strengthen Sanders appeal to blacks and other minority groups, and that is especially true given the relationship Bill Clinton enjoyed with blacks, which has been transferred to some degree to his wife Hillary.

In a campaign memo last night responding to Sanders’ crushing victory in New Hampshire, Clinton’s Campaign Manager Robby Mook looked ahead to the southern states and explicitly argued that they favored Clinton.

“Hillary Clinton’s ties to both the African American and Hispanic communities run deep,” Mook argued in a memo obtained by PBS. “She’s put minority communities and the issues that matter most to them at the center of her campaign … it’s no mystery why she’s received endorsements from hundreds of key African American and Hispanic elected officials, as well as community and faith leaders across the country.”

Portions of Clinton’s speech in New Hampshire last night were directed at African-Americans and minorities, emphasizing her visit to Flint, Michigan to discuss the lead poisoning in the water on Sunday at a Baptist Church.

“It isn’t right that the kids I met in Flint on Sunday were poisoned because their governor wanted to save money,” she said to supporters last night.

Hillary Clinton is a shameless panderer, as her husband Bill was, but the difference is that Bill had charisma and charm, while Hillary is grating and not believable. While Sanders has a very long way to go to win over African-American voters who do not know him, it could also be that Hillary does not have the hold she thinks she does on the minority groups she is counting on to move her campaign forward.

Regardless of which Democrat candidate wins, it is a very good bet that the minority voters will skew heavily for that candidate over the winner in the Republican primaries. And it is just as certain that African-American voters will be disregarded and forgotten if the Democrat candidate prevails until the next voting cycle when Democrats coming courting again.





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