December 5, 2019

JOE IS THE BLACK CANDIDATE:

Why black voters never flocked to Kamala Harris (MAYA KING, 12/04/2019, Politico)

Months later, with Harris out of the 2020 race and Cory Booker lagging in the polls, the only black candidates in the field are set to miss the next Democratic debate -- but Biden, the candidate getting by far the most backing from African American voters, will be center-stage thanks to their support in polls.

That collective choice by black voters so far in this campaign has been one of the most misunderstood dynamics of the Democratic primary. Harris' campaign and others initially expected South Carolina, with its majority-black Democratic electorate, to be a source of strength for her. But Biden has prevented any other candidate from breaking through there this year, even as his poll numbers have flagged in other, whiter early primary and caucus states.

A review of public polling and interviews with black strategists, activists and Democratic officials explains why African American voters have largely gotten behind non-black candidates: a medley of concerns about Harris' and Booker's electability, their authenticity and their campaign styles, all of which prevented them from effectively challenging Biden's enduring -- and, to some, surprising -- strength among African Americans.

"The affinity voters in these groups feel for Joe Biden is deep and strong, rooted in his relationship with Barack Obama, who is the ultimate validator," Buttigieg pollster Katie Connelly wrote in a July report, obtained this fall by McClatchy, that garnered attention for probing how Buttigieg's sexual orientation was affecting his chase for African American voters. "The power of the Obama association with these voters" was paramount, Connelly added.

Posted by at December 5, 2019 12:00 AM

  

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