Will Black Voters Show Up for Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Then-presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) chats with some New York-area African-American leaders Jan. 14, 2008, in New York City.
Then-presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) chats with some New York-area African-American leaders Jan. 14, 2008, in New York City.

If not Hillary, then who? Everybody knows the Dems have no backup for the 2016 presidential election. On Nov. 4, Democratic control of the U.S. Senate went down, along with Democratic office holders across the nation.

Meanwhile Hillary Clinton is riding high. With a lame-duck president and outsider status in Washington, keeping the White House is her party’s most urgent political priority.

The uber-Democratic aspirant can benefit from a crowded and messy GOP primary season featuring a contentious gaggle of white males. That prospect is sure to energize women voters.

Yet there are looming questions. She is likely to have little primary opposition, but the “inevitable” lady in waiting will still face a bare-knuckled, brutal general election in the fall. She will be pushing 70 by 2016. Will her health and stamina hold?

Will all the pent-up desire for a woman president hold?

The big one: African-American voters are the party’s most loyal and potent voting bloc. They turned out in droves in 2008 and 2012. Will they go for Hillary in 2016?

The black vote was a hard-rock bastion for Bill Clinton, earning him the moniker “First Black President.” They backed then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential foray — until a real black man turned the tables by winning the Iowa primary.

After some racial ugliness, the Clintons and Obama made up, and Hillary Clinton went on to serve as Obama’s secretary of state.

African-American voters are wary now and must be wooed and won anew. She’s facing a lot of groundwork to energize black voters. Here’s a start:

1. Take care of the boss. That will be tricky. Barack Obama won’t be on the ballot in 2016, and his popularity ratings are at all-time lows. Yet black voters will be fiercely loyal to him, now and forever. Peril to those who fail to pay him homage.

They noticed when so many Democratic candidates shunned the president on the campaign trail.

They noticed when Democratic Senate aspirant Alison Lundergan Grimes refused to say whether she had even voted for the president. Grimes lost her bid by 15 percentage points.

Hillary Clinton must perform a delicate pirouette and nail it convincingly. She must be a zelig, smooching the president, while at the same time backing away from his record.

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Source: Chicago Sun Times | LAURA WASHINGTON

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