Donald Trump was elected in no small part due to black voters in critical states - e.g., Wisconsin - to go to the polls and vote for Hillary Clinton. Blacks were not the only Democrats to elect Trump through their apathy and failure to vote, but due to Trump's racism and encouragement of white supremacists, blacks and other racial minorities have perhaps had the most to lose under the Trump/Pence regime. While many see the dire need of defeating Trump in 2020, the agreement seems to end there and views vary dramatically as to who will be the best possible standard bearer for the Democrats. Whoever the nominee turns out to be, blacks, Hispanics, gays and everyone else needs to go to the polls and vote against Trump even if their favorite candidate does not win the nominee. Too much is at stake to allow petulance like we saw with Sanders voters in 2016 to work to put Trump back in the White House. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the intra-party debate. Here are highlights:
More than a third of the candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for president are women. There are two black men, a Mexican American man, a Taiwanese American man and a gay man.
Yet, in the initial phase of the 2020 race, two straight white men have emerged as the fastest fundraisers, and another has jumped to a lead in recent polls, before even announcing his candidacy.
The rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), ex-congressman Beto O’Rourke and former vice president Joe Biden in a field with historic diversity has caused dismay among some Democrats, particularly African Americans and women hoping for a mold-breaking nominee who reflects the changing face of the party and the country.
Black voters, particularly black women, have the potential to play a decisive role in the Democratic Party’s attempt to defeat President Trump in 2020. An inability to earn their support has dealt severe blows to past candidates — most recently Sanders in the 2016 primaries and to a lesser extent Hillary Clinton in the general election.
As 11 presidential hopefuls appeared this week at a Midtown Manhattan hotel for the National Action Network convention, frustration emerged over the standing of the nonwhite candidates. But there was also tension between some black voters who want a candidate reflecting the nation’s diversity and others who perceive the white men as potentially stronger against Trump.
Other Democrats said they view Biden, O’Rourke and Sanders as credible and compelling contenders best equipped to defeat Trump. The conflicting opinions revealed Democratic divisions touching on race, gender and identity that could shape the nomination fight.
“The old white guys have been in the political arena. They know what the job entails,” said Yvonne James, a 79-year-old New Yorker who carried a canvas bag at the convention with images of the Obamas and other “strong black men and women” stitched onto it. “So if it boils down to them or somebody who’s kind of new, let’s go with the experienced choice.”
Democratic voters have become more racially diverse over the past couple of decades, according to a 2018 Pew Research Center study. In the midterm elections, a record number of women, predominantly Democrats, were elected to the House. Democrats expect African Americans — particularly women — to play a pivotal role in the 2020 primary race, beginning in South Carolina, the fourth contest in the lineup.
Those factors could complicate the path to the nomination for Biden, Sanders and O’Rourke. In addition to his past struggles with African Americans, Sanders has faced questions about his handling of sexual harassment claims in his 2016 campaign.
At least seven women have come forward publicly to say Biden made physical contact with them in past years in a way that made them uncomfortable, prompting him to promise to be more mindful of his interactions. Biden, who did not speak in New York, has signaled he will run for president but has not announced a decision.
While the former Texas congressman and Senate candidate received cheers, some in the audience expressed uncertainty, saying they were not as familiar with him.
At this early point in the presidential campaign, the strengths of the white male candidates have come sharply into focus. The Sanders campaign this week said that it raised $18.2 million in its first 41 days, outpacing competitors who announced their totals. O’Rourke’s campaign said it raised $9.4 million in 18 days during the first quarter of the year. Both have cultivated loyal armies of small-dollar donors. Harris came in second among candidates who have released fundraising tallies so far, raising $12 million over a longer period than either O’Rourke or Sanders was in the race.
It’s been 15 years since Democrats last nominated a white man for president, choosing John F. Kerry, who would go on to lose to George W. Bush in 2004. With so many strong alternatives this time, some Democrats say, they aren’t keen on doing that in 2020.
“That’s the American norm; people vote for what they know. But the old, safe norm is what got Trump in there. I think it’s time to shake up things a little bit,” said Tiffany James, the 37-year-old head of NAN’s South Carolina branch.
Personally, I view both Biden and Sanders as too old. As for the rest, I am still trying to figure out who I like and, more importantly, who can defeat Trump.Some of Biden’s backers argued that he would provide the gravitas and experience needed to defeat Trump. But there was also some concern that his advanced age could be a liability. Biden is 76, and Sanders is 77. “The job of a president requires a lot of energy. A lot of legwork,” said retiree Jacob Azeke, 77, of New York.