Editor at Large of the Daily Best, Goldie Taylor says Hillary Clinton has asked the Black Church to save her…. Will we?
From Goldie Taylor:
A day after getting shellacked in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton is laying every chip on the table. By morning, while her opponent was in New York having breakfast with Rev. Al Sharpton and making an appearance on The View, the Clinton campaign began unleashing one endorsement after another from African American leaders.
The move is largely seen as a counter-punch to a stingingly brutal assessment of the Clinton record published in The Nation. Bestselling author and college professor Michelle Alexander spared nothing in her rebuke of Clinton and her husband’s record on black issues. By mid-morning, acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates—who is perhaps best known for “The Case for Reparations”—announced that he would be voting for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Alexander did not make an endorsement and Coates was quick to say that he represents no one but himself. However, the news comes at a time when many believe the Clinton campaign is in dire need of a re-set.
While Clinton’s enormous support among black voters does not appear to be in jeopardy, the latest round of endorsements is an attempt to send a clear message to big donors and white liberals. No Democrat can win without black support. And that means Bernie Sanders has no path to victory.
In addition to a flock of South Carolina elected officials, Clinton now counts the Congressional Black Caucus PAC and at least 28 prominent black preachers among her strongest supporters. Announced just ahead of the Iowa and New Hampshire contests, the former Secretary of State unveiled a list of some of the most politically powerful pastors in the country—including Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. and Dr. Raphael Warnock.
Both of Moss and Warnock are camera-ready and have a proven record of turning out votes in hard-fought Democratic primaries at the local, state and national level. Warnock, who is senior pastor at Atlanta’s Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church situated in the center of The King Memorial site, was once rumored to be a potential U.S. Senate candidate in Georgia. Ahead of the 2012 mid-term elections, the 45-year-old co-led one of the largest voter registration drives the south has ever seen. Warnock, the son of a Savannah preacher who doubled as a junkman, is frequently featured on cable news and has emerged as a national voice on social justice issues.
Otis Moss, Jr. is a theological giant whose storied activism dates back to the civil rights movement. He is the pastor of Olivet Institutional Baptist Church in Cleveland, Ohio and a local health center at University Hospital bears his name. He also is the father of Otis Moss, III, the pastor of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ where President Obama and his family once worshipped. Moss, who was once co-pastor at Ebenezer, enjoyed a close and personal relationship with Dr. King. The late civil rights icon presided over Moss’ wedding to his wife Edwina over 50 years ago.
That they and others are standing up for Clinton now should come as no surprise. The Black Church has long proven to be a ready and necessary refuge for former President Clinton and now, as his wife makes her own bid for president—first in 2008 and now in 2016—the Clintons appear to be answering the altar call again.
The playbook was first forged in 1992, when the only viable black candidate for president abruptly dropped out of the race. The exit of Douglass Wilder, a popular Virginia governor, opened the window for Clinton to win over black voters and he was embraced like family by black pastors.
Twenty-four years later, the Clintons are attempting to harden support among key African American influencers ahead of the South Carolina primary. Once again, black pastors are a key element of that strategy. Unlike Iowa or New Hampshire, the Palmetto State primary race is 56 percent black and nearly 56 percent of all South Carolinians attend church at least once a week. Home to Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott, black evangelicals are a powerful force in state politics. Notably, after a white supremacist slaughtered a black state senator and eight people at Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, the community came together and prayed.
According to a Marist Poll released February 5, the Clinton “firewall” has not cracked and she is leading Sanders by a hefty margin: 64-27 percent. And the most recent poll shows Clinton beating Sen. Bernie Sanders among black voter by a four-to-one margin.
Still, she is stacking the deck.
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Goldie Taylor is the Editor at Large for the Daily Beast, Author, and can be seen on PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton.