Clinton Campaign: ‘We Do Not Take African American Support for Granted’

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to a Pennsylvania voter during a Pennsylvania Democratic Party voter registration event at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia on Aug. 16. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks to a Pennsylvania voter during a Pennsylvania Democratic Party voter registration event at West Philadelphia High School in Philadelphia on Aug. 16. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

The Clinton campaign says it is working to keep African American support for Donald Trump near zero, as the Republican nominee has begun urging black voters to abandon a Democratic Party that he says has done little to improve their lives.

Marlon Marshall, director of state campaigns and political outreach, said in an interview that “we do not take African American support for granted” and that the campaign has been expanding its outreach operation that helped Hillary Clinton win the Democratic presidential primary with the strong backing of black voters.

That effort included the use of large numbers of black elected officials, entertainers and grass-roots activists, who stumped for the former secretary of state in barbershops and beauty salons, in churches and on black college campuses and at rallies before large audiences of African Americans. Marshall described these surrogates and their testimonials on Clinton’s behalf as powerful tools that the Trump campaign cannot match. He also said that one of the campaign’s “biggest surrogates, President Obama, will continue to campaign for the secretary as well.”

“Since day one, gaining the support and turning out African American voters has been a core focus of this campaign,” Marshall said.

Trump, following a reorganization of his campaign last week, has said he wants black people to vote for him, arguing that African Americans have little to show for decades of loyalty to Democrats. But his pitches have been made in front of largely white audiences, and the New York businessman has been criticized for describing the black community as locked in poverty, crumbling schools and violent neighborhoods.

“You’re living in your poverty, your schools are no good, you have no jobs, 58 percent of your youth is unemployed — what the hell do you have to lose?” Trump said Friday during a rally in Lansing, Mich., suburb where the population is more than 90 percent white.

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SOURCE: Vanessa Williams and Janelle Ross 
The Washington Post