Obama boosts Clinton with black voters

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President Obama is heading to North Carolina on Tuesday, a chance to rally black voters behind Hillary Clinton and capitalize on the wreckage surrounding Donald Trump’s campaign. 

Obama will stump for the Democratic presidential nominee in Greensboro — where more than 4 in 10 residents are black — and appear at a town hall geared toward African-Americans airing in prime time on sports broadcasting giant ESPN.

{mosads}The president’s appearance comes as Clinton is riding high, days after Trump’s campaign was thrown into chaos after an 11-year-old video surfaced of the Republican nominee boasting about forcibly kissing women and grabbing their genitals. 

Clinton is leaving nothing to chance, especially when it comes to black voters, who are not as enthusiastic about her as they are about Obama. 

But “that gap is narrowing” due to the tumult surrounding Trump’s campaign, according to Kerry Haynie, professor of political science and African and African-American studies at Duke University

“The more the Trump campaign implodes, the more enthusiasm there is to make sure Trump does not become president,” Haynie said. 

“In barbershops and churches, you find more talk about Trump than talk about Clinton,” he added. “It’s negative talk about Trump, and when there’s talk about Clinton, it’s in the context of how she can stop him from becoming president.”

Clinton needs black voters to turn out in high numbers to replicate Obama’s winning coalition, especially in swing states like North Carolina, Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. 

In 2008 and 2012, black voters made up 13 percent of the nationwide electorate, according to exit polls, even though at the time they represented 12 percent of the population.  

Pollsters believe Clinton can afford some drop off from Obama’s record turnout but not too much, or else it could hurt Clinton as well as Democrats in down-ballot races. 

“She doesn’t need to match his turnout because his turnout was record high,” said Democratic pollster Celinda Lake. “But she needs to get high African-American turnout, like the other Democrats have gotten over time.”

On the surface, it doesn’t appear as if Clinton has a problem with black voters.

Just 7 percent of African-American adults said they have a favorable impression of the Trump in a September ABC News/Washington Post poll, while 78 percent said they view Clinton favorably. 

Trump has inadvertently helped her cause with several ham-fisted attempts at reaching black voters, such as when controversial boxing promoter Don King used the N-word while introducing him last month at a Cleveland church. 

During Sunday night’s debate, Trump responded to a question from a black man in the audience about being a president for all Americans by explaining how he would help “inner cities.”

“I would be a president for all of the people, African-Americans, the inner cities,” he said. “Devastating what’s happening to our inner cities.”

But there are lingering questions about voter enthusiasm for Clinton, especially among younger black men and women. 

Former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder (D), the first elected black governor in the U.S., said last month that Clinton still has not developed an affirmative case that resonates with African-Americans.

“If she doesn’t, the excitement that she needs might not be there,” he told The Washington Post

The Clinton campaign denies it’s having problems reassembling Obama’s coalition. 

Aides say they’ve outpaced the president’s reelection campaign when it comes to registration and mail-in ballot requests in states like Florida, North Carolina and Nevada. 

According to a campaign aide, there are 84,000 more African-American voters on file in North Carolina than at this point in 2012, when Obama lost the state to GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Nationwide, there are 359,000 more black voters on the rolls. 

Clinton has relied heavily on the Obamas to make her case. The president remains extremely popular among African-Americans, with 86 percent approving of his job performance, according to the latest CNN-ORC poll

The president has leveraged his popularity to urge black voters to go to the polls for Clinton, something aides say he’ll continue to do until Election Day. 

Tuesday’s rally is Obama’s second for Clinton in the Tar Heel State, which he won in 2008 thanks to high black turnout. 

Obama has made at least eight appearances on hip-hop and R&B stations to plug Clinton over the last month. And he is featured in a new Democratic National Committee radio ad aimed at black voters, urging them to “get fired up one more time” and go to the polls.

The spot, part of a seven-figure ad buy, will air on nationally syndicated urban radio shows, according to the DNC. 

He also made a rousing case that his legacy is on the line in November during a mid-September speech to the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. 

“I will consider it a personal insult, an insult to my legacy, if this community lets down its guard and fails to activate itself in this election,” he said. “You want to give me a good sendoff? Go vote.”

Haynie said black voters in North Carolina have been motivated by local issues, such as a court battle over controversial voter ID legislation. But he said Obama has helped a great deal as well. 

“There is enthusiasm for that, to thank the first black president,” he said. “It’s a very powerful message to have him say, in the words of Ronald Reagan, ‘Win one for the gipper.’”

First lady Michelle Obama has also emerged as a powerful force for Clinton. She’s stumped for her in Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina and has appeared in radio ads geared toward African-American voters airing in battleground states. 

“So when I hear folks saying that they just don’t feel inspired in this election, I have to disagree because right now, we have an opportunity to elect one of the most qualified people who has ever endeavored to become president,” Obama said of Clinton during a stop in Raleigh, N.C.

Tags Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Michelle Obama

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