Political experts and ordinary people of all races and from both parties have been warning the Democrats for years that taking them for granted would one day backfire.
The emergence of Donald Trump seems to have brought this long ignored issue to a head, and Hillary Clinton is the one who will pay the price.
Her husband remains pretty popular among African-Americans — one of Bill’s more flattering nicknames was “the first black president” — but Hillary isn’t Bill. She is so unlike him that the contrast is jarring. Combine that with Trump’s charisma and it is no wonder black voters are unenthusiastic about voting for Clinton this year.
Her campaign has noticed and they’re scrambling, as Politico reports:
“Hillary Clinton’s campaign is in panic mode. Full panic mode,” said Leslie Wimes, a South Florida-based president of the Democratic African-American Women Caucus.
“They have a big problem because they thought Obama and Michelle saying, ‘Hey, go vote for Hillary’ would do it. But it’s not enough,” Wimes said, explaining that too much of the black vote in Florida is anti-Trump, rather than pro-Clinton. “In the end, we don’t vote against somebody. We vote for somebody.” (…)
It’s not just Clinton’s margins with black voters that concerns Democrats. It’s whether African-American voters turn out in force for her in a pivotal state whose 29 electoral votes are essential to the GOP nominee’s path to an Electoral College victory. A loss in Florida all but guarantees a Trump defeat on Election Day.
One voter interviewed by Politico complained that when Hillary did reach out to African-American audiences, she came across as “pandering.” And indeed, who can forget Hillary’s bizarre “black accent” during the 2008 campaign, or her even stranger “hot sauce in my purse” remark on a black radio station this year?
Clinton isn’t her husband. She isn’t Obama. And she’s not Donald Trump, either. Trump’s support among African-American voters is growing while hers is shrinking. No wonder the Democrats are worried.