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View from the Hill

Election Roundup: feat. Courting the Black Vote

South Carolina, Republicans and African Americans

With the Republican primary in South Carolina under this election season’s belt, efforts by the red candidates to speak to young black voters in South Carolina have come to no avail.

Donald Trump, whose comments about Muslims and immigrants have given rise to just about every synonym of the word racist, just won South Carolina’s primary — without the work surgeon Ben Carson, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul and Ohio Gov. John Kasich have been putting in to gain black support.

In fact, Trump said if he were African American, he wouldn’t like Obama. This starkly contrasts Carson’s efforts, who visited the historically black college South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. He answered questions, townhall-style, in a room packed with young, black college students.


Similarly, Paul, who's made great strides to appear more open than his Republican counterparts, has made statements about the uneven distribution of black men and women in prisons and said the criminal justice system needs reform, a subject many other Republicans have danced around.

And just for good measure, Kasich said Republicans just can’t “show up” in black communities and think that’s adequate to show the party cares about African Americans.

Though the disparity in courting the black vote was compelling, Trump took South Carolina with 32.5 percent of the vote with Rubio ten percentage points behind at 22.5 and Cruz right on his heels at 22.3 percent.

Democrats and the Black Vote

The Democrats know what they need to do with South Carolina’s Democratic primary just around the corner — both Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are taking good care to corral former Obama supporters to their respective sides.

Sanders had a sit down with rapper Killer Mike, a former vocal Obama supporter, and talked everything from gun control to Sanders’ self-proclaimed democratic socialist title.

On the other hand, Clinton has made sure to align herself with the likes of Jim Clayburn, a top-ranking African American in congress. She also continues to discuss black unemployment in detail in her campaign stops and via social media.

With just five days to go, Clinton is ahead in polls with black voters in all age groups, according to a Monmouth University poll.

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