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Virginia: The Dems Begin Pandering for the Black Vote as Governor’s Race in Deadlock



Virginia The Dems Begin Pandering for the Black Vote as Governor's Race in Deadlock-ss-Featured

Amid Virginia’s gubernatorial race, which many consider being a statewide contest with a lot of national implications, Democratic Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina gave a message for his supporters as he campaigned with Gov. Terry McAuliffe, his party’s nominee for the said race.

During a rally in Hampton, Clyburn noted that on Tuesday, people will consider the race as a “bellwether of what is to come,” adding that he wants Virginia to show the U.S.” the way to go” once again.

He also emphasized that the Virginia gubernatorial race is being considered by many U.S. residents and people from overseas as an indicator of what they can expect next year and that he wanted the state “to show us a glorious result.”

Clyburn was the most recent high-profile Black Democratic member to join McAuliffe on his campaign trail as the former governor goes head to head against the Republican Party’s nominee, Glenn Youngkin. Almost all of the latest public opinion surveys indicate that this race is almost at a deadlock.

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The huge support from Black voters has helped McAuliffe win the election to a term as the state’s governor in 2013. The same huge turnout by Black voters also aided in the Democrats winning back the House of Representatives back in the 2018 midterm elections and in Joe Biden’s win in the 2020 presidential election.

Democrats are hoping to get a repeat performance on Tuesday in Virginia. This one-time battleground state that has trended blue in the past 10 years saw Biden carried by the state by 10 points in the last election. Additionally, Republicans have yet to win a statewide race in the commonwealth in the last 12 years.

McAuliffe, who is facing what surveys say is an enthusiasm gap among Democrats, is going full steam ahead to pierce through the perceived complacency.

However, several Democratic leaders and activist expressed their concern regarding the lag among Black voters, who are likely to be politically spent following the 2020 fight to defeat former President Donald Trump. They also expressed concern that these voters could be frustrated regarding the current lack of progress connected to spending measures and a significant voting rights bill by Biden and the Democratic Party, who has control over the two houses in Congress.

Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former Virginia delegate, tweeted last month claimed that she has heard from “people at the doors” how tired and frustrated they feel from the pandemic, economic crisis, and other issues.

As Democrats have seen an upward trend in the last few weeks, they still feel concerned about “a softness” in the turnout of Black voters. McAuliffe has started a late-game effort to spark a light under his party’s base voters.

Former President Barack Obama campaigned for McAuliffe during a rally in Richmond nine days ago. There, he said that they had no time to be tired. “What is required is sustained effort.”

The U.S.’s first Black president, who is still quite popular among Democratic voters even after five years since the end of his White House term, said he understood that the voters have been already worn down from the country’s divisive policies and the pandemic. However, while pointing to Virginia’s race, Obama asked them to not “sit this one out.”

Vice President Kamala Harris has also campaigned with McAuliffe twice in the last few weeks.

She commented that the race “is tight,” during a rally at the mostly Democratic D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia. She added that they needed to make it clear that they are paying attention and that they are not “taking anything for granted.”

Stacey Abrams, a voting rights advocate and the former Georgia House Democratic leader who has historically become the first Black female gubernatorial nominee of a major political party in 2018, also went on the Virginia campaign trail to energize the Democratic party’s voter base.

Several other prominent Democratic Party members have also teamed up with McAuliffe, including Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, and DNC chair Jaime Harrison.
Additionally, McAuliffe’s campaign conducted hundreds of “Souls to the Polls” events in the last few Sundays to direct Black worshipers to early voting stations.

However, veteran GOP consultant Zack Roday, who is based in Virginia, argued that the Democratic candidate’s push in the last few weeks to increase the voter turnout in the Black community is an admission of failure.

Roday said to Fox News that “They need to be bailed out” and his campaign is trying to rely on a constituency that has backed them in the past. He noted that this is their way of admitting a strategic failure that they had throughout his campaign as they failed to build a winning coalition based on the issues that the said voter base is concerned with.

The most recent polls say McAuliffe is overwhelmingly winning the Black vote over Youngkin, a first-time candidate who used to be a private equity CEO. However, if Younkin can make gains close to the margin or if the Black voter turnout goes down, it would spell trouble for the Democratic Party’s candidate.

According to USA Today/Suffolk University pollster David Paleologos last week, if the Black voter turnout is 20% or higher, it’ll put McAuliffe in the lea. However, if it’s only between 16-18%, Younkin is in the position to win

Paleologos also focused on the 1.8% support in his latest Virginia poll for third-party candidate Princess Blanding, who is a Black criminal justice reform activist that is on the ballot as the Liberation Party of Virginia’s candidate.

He said that Blanding’s 1.8% presence is not enough to make a huge difference under normal circumstances. However, because the state’s race is so close, her 1.8% goes beyond the margin between the major political parties’ candidates. Her being on the ballot may have a significant impact on the race’s outcome.

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