When it comes to looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election, many black voters aren’t focused on race, gender or who can out-progessive who. They’re focused on ousting Donald Trump from the White House.
That’s according to the Los Angeles Times, which notes that while the more progressive nature and strong black base of the Democratic Party could have one thinking the next Democratic nominee will be a person of color or a woman, many black voters are setting aside thoughts of racial or gender pride to focus on who can best beat Trump at the polls.
“They are so sick and tired of being sick and tired of Trump, there’s this almost unconscious feeling they’re going to go with the candidate that is more likely to beat him,” Ron Lester, a Washington pollster who studies the attitudes of black voters, told the Times.
For many, Lester added, “that is probably a white male,” the Times reports, “given their deep-seated belief ‘that America is still a very racist place and a very misogynistic place and that a candidate who doesn’t get any white votes is probably going to lose.’”
And that has political watchers giving centrist (read: politically safe) white men like former Vice President Joe Biden the edge. Some black women voters the Times spoke with seemed to back up this assumption.
“My pragmatic side says that the person that can win this election is someone more in the middle, that’s not going to come out for [repealing] the death penalty and reparations,” said Faya Touré, a 74-year-old veteran civil rights activist in Selma, Ala. “I would love a candidate that would do that. But I don’t think that candidate’s going to win this election.”
Catrena Norris Carter, 51, is a liberal activist who helped rally black women in Alabama to elect the Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate. She says she’s thrilled by the candidacies of Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). But she thinks Biden may have the best chance of besting Trump.
“We really need to be taking the temperature of the entire country, not just people who think like us,” she told the Times.
There is of course pushback. Black voters are no monolith, and some black politicos are reminding voters that blacks were backing Hillary Clinton in 2008 — until Barack Obama beat her in the 2008 Iowa caucus.
“People are nervous because the country is in such peril,” Adrianne Shropshire, of the left-leaning BlackPac, told the Times. “People need to have some historical perspective.”
“Looking for the safest bet is a recipe for disappointment,” opined Steven Reed, who’s running for mayor of Montgomery, Ala. “I don’t think playing it safe is the route Democrats should take if they want to win, if they want to excite the base, if they want to get out nontraditional voters and win over swing voters.”