With early voting underway and just days until next week’s election, backers of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are targeting Black voters as they seek to defeat President Donald Trump in the battleground state of Florida.
Efforts to pump up turnout among Black Floridians come as nearly half of the state’s registered voters had already cast ballots as of Wednesday morning.
While voters are casting mail-in ballots in record numbers, turnout among Black voters has lagged behind white and Hispanic Floridians, BlackPac executive director Adrianne Shropshire told reporters during a conference call Wednesday.
Many voters are choosing to vote by mail rather than risk exposure to highly contagious COVID-19, but only about 62 percent of Black voters who requested mail-in ballots have returned them, she said.
Shropshire said Blacks are more likely to vote in person, either during the early voting period that ends this weekend or on Election Day.
“This is part of our cultural history,” she said. “That’s just a part of the way in which Black people engage in elections, right, is to show up in person.
Even so, about 85,000 Black Floridians who didn’t cast ballots in 2016 have already voted in Tuesday’s election, she said.
Black voters are motivated by Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, which has been especially deadly for communities of color, and the economic havoc spawned by Covid-19, according to Shropshire.
They’re also moved by “this overarching reality that the nation is having to deal with, in terms of racism and systemic racism,” she added.
“That’s being felt by Black voters right now because it is being amplified by the president of the United States. And that is obviously motivating for Black voters,” she added.
Billionaire Michael Bloomberg recently dropped more than $4 million into an already-existing digital ad campaign funded by BlackPac, a political committee aimed at mobilizing Black voters, to support Biden and vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris.
BlackPac has also launched TV ads, teamed up with Biden super-PAC Unite the Country to air ads on Black and Caribbean radio stations in Florida and turned to influencers such as rap stars to drive up support for Biden.
The efforts to boost turnout among Black voters — especially young Black men — come as recent polls show Biden and Trump deadlocked in Florida, a state with 29 electoral votes considered critical for a White House victory.
Both candidates and their surrogates are traversing the state in the days leading up to the election, with Biden and Trump slated to appear at separate events in Tampa on Thursday and the former vice president making an additional stop in Democratic stronghold Broward County.
While Trump continues to hold large rallies that attract thousands of supporters, Biden’s campaign is opting for more intimate gatherings or drive-in events, such as appearances by former President Barack Obama in Miami-Dade County and Central Florida in recent days.
Blacks are enthusiastic about participating in the election, but it’s not necessarily because of the Democratic presidential nominee, Shropshire said.
“People are angry about what is happening in the country and I would say they are more determined than excited about what’s happening now,” she said.
Trump has stumped in Republican-dominated areas such as Northwest Florida and The Villages while also focusing on Hispanic voters in Miami-Dade County, where he continues to have strong support from Cuban-American and Latin-American voters.
Although many Trump critics have accused the president of stirring racial divisions and not being critical of white nationalists, the Republican president has repeatedly said he has “done more” for Black Americans than his predecessors.
“Nobody has done more for the Black community than Donald Trump … with the exception of Abraham Lincoln,” he said during a debate with Biden last week, adding, “I’m the least racist person in this room.”
Although Black turnout lagged when compared to other ethnicities as of Wednesday, Black voters are on pace to make record gains, according to Unite the Country CEO Steve Schale.
About 12.5 percent of voters who have already cast ballots in Florida are Black, who comprise 13 percent of all voters in the state, Schale, who led Obama’s 2008 Florida campaign, told reporters Wednesday.
Schale believes the number of Black voters casting ballots in this year’s election could outpace 2008 and 2012, when the man who turned out to be the nation’s first Black president was at the top of the ticket.
“I think it’s very doable,” Schale said.
Obama defeated Republican opponent Mitt Romney in Florida by 0.9 percentage points in 2012.
“We’ve seen really good turnout among Black voters and seeing, doing better with suburban whites and white seniors. That’s how he (Obama) won Florida,” Schale said.
Biden enters the final stretch of the campaign with a “net positive” rating among voters in six battleground states, including Florida, Priorities USA Chairman Guy Cecil said during a separate call with reporters.
Priorities USA and BlackPac joined forces for Florida television ads aimed at Black voters. The ads, announced last week, were part of Bloomberg’s $100 million investment in the Sunshine State on behalf of Biden.
Biden’s net positive rating among voters reflects a “fundamental difference” with how they felt about Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the run-up to the 2016 election, Cecil said.
But Schale cautioned against comparing the contest between Biden and Trump with the race between Clinton and the Republican president, who won Florida by 1.2 percentage points four years ago.
“There’s nothing about this election at this point that looks like 2016. It’s cats and dogs,” Schale said. “I don’t think we can function on any assumption of 2016 other than the people that voted in 2016 and 2018 are probably going to vote. … Everything has changed this cycle. So we all have to just get through the election and see where we are.”
–Dara Kam, News Service of Florida
“Democrats turn out Black Voters” Is that a bad thing? If qualified and registered, do they not have the right to vote? I thought that Jim Crow was dead
Harvey S Holly says
So Biden says to a black man if you don’t vote for me you ain’t black. Unimaginable. And ignored by the media. What has the democrat party ever done for blacks. Trump has done more for the black community than Obama and Biden. Dems pander to the black community for votes and then forget about them until it’s time to vote again.
What has he done specifically any examples?
CB from PC says
Under Trump, Black unemployment was 5.5% in September, 2019.
Lowest since the U.S. Dept. of Labor began keeping statistics since the 1970s.
The Pandemic has hit everyone, minority and non-minority business owners.
The lockdowns extended by Democrat Governors and Mayors have disproportionately prevented people of color who own or work “Hands on” in restaurants, on construction sites or manufacturing from receiving a paycheck.
Combine the pandemic with the burning and looting of urban businesses owned by minorities,
while the Democrat Mayors watched, and it looks bleak.
Guarantee Trump will continue to move money into urban Enterprise Zones.
Guarantee Trump will continue to generate jobs with his son running the businesses.
Did Cory Booker or Elijah Cummings in Newark or Baltimore improve the prosperity of the Black Community?
Finally, Covid-19 came from China.
The same country which has paid millions to Joe Biden’s “family enterprise”.
Man that koolaid must be spiked. NO thats right more lies about a do nothing self promoting Egomaniac hell bent on ReElection or Financial ruin. Covid came from China and Mr Incredible lied to America with petrie dishes full of food to nourish it 230+ Dead. Isnt Trump the one swith a Chinese Bank Account. I wonder what thats for lol or if its legal. Thats right no laws pertain to him. His job record is ok But the Adm. before him created more. The lockdowns were necessary and still are in some hardest hit areas.IMO Employment WAS key word 5.5% need I say more. The Pandemic hit everyone even the “All the Eggs in one basket” Golf Resort Stable genius 11 Bankruptcied Liar in Chiefs Portfolio that are hemorhaging money with zero cash flow. Heis levered to the hilt and will be called on his loans.Hewill place money to those who kiss his ass the most. Why do you think he really wanted to open. To save himself. Let me know when that MAGA thing starts ok. Vote accordingly.
Anything for control. That is all it us about, being able to control. Some wont be controlled. You think the Dem resistance movement was big? If Biden manages to win, I think you’ll see that resistance favor returned, time 10. You reap what you’ve sown. Karma, righting wrongs for centuries…….
Donald Trump has done nothing for the black people, or for white people other than his rich stockbroker friends and white supremacists, and communistic countries this is who he seems to be supporting. Please stop watching Fox News.
If Donald Trump cared about this country as much as he does himself our country would not be having a deadly virus spreading like wildfires all over this country.
From the start, he would not assist Democratic Governors unless they bowed down to his ego. He lies on a daily basis and it makes me wonder why those that support him think that is ok for a president of the USA?
Donald Trump can’t run his own businesses without losing money let alone trying to run our country. He is a failed business person and no bank in the USA will lend him any more money so he had to resort to communistic countries to give him money, and his supporters think this is ok?
Please stop watching Fox news you are only fooling yourself.
CB from PC says
Specific details please.
Gary R says
@ Mythoughts – WRONG! How Trump — not Biden — has helped make black lives better https://nypost.com/2020/07/04/trump-not-biden-has-helped-make-black-lives-better/
You should stop listening to CNN and MSNBC with their lies. If fact they cover up for Joe Biden’s corrupt family. Try to use google to educate yourself.
President Trump did not personally file for bankruptcy but the corporation did. There are advantages for filing bankruptcy. Many corporations have done it. You should read about it to educate yourself.
LOOK! Trump Administration Accomplishments https://www.frcaction.org/accomplishments Where are Joe Biden’s accomplishments? I’ll wait.
CB . . . OMG! You got it wrong again. . .Thanks for the link:
President Trump and his allies have tried to paint Joseph R. Biden Jr. as soft on China, in part by pointing to his son’s business dealings there.
But Mr. Trump’s own business history is filled with overseas financial deals, and some have involved the Chinese state. He spent a decade unsuccessfully pursuing projects in China, operating an office there during his first run for president and forging a partnership with a major government-controlled company.
And it turns out that China is one of only three foreign nations — the others are Britain and Ireland — where Mr. Trump maintains a bank account, according to an analysis of the president’s tax records, which were obtained by The New York Times. The foreign accounts do not show up on Mr. Trump’s public financial disclosures, where he must list personal assets, because they are held under corporate names. The identities of the financial institutions are not clear.
The Chinese account is controlled by Trump International Hotels Management L.L.C., which the tax records show paid $188,561 in taxes in China while pursuing licensing deals there from 2013 to 2015.
Another “CULT” member who reads the NY Post. . . OMG! LOL! Just another FOX owned right winged outlet. . . a “Tabloid Rag”! Do try and get some credentialed FACTS to help forge your opinion. Maybe from the Associated Press. LOL!
FRC= A RIGHT WING EXTREMEST LOBBYING ORGANIZATION.
For example. . . The FRC often makes false claims about the LGBTQ community based on discredited research and junk science. The intention is to denigrate LGBTQ people as the organization battles against same-sex marriage, hate crime laws, anti-bullying programs and the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
This analysis from PolitiFact:
And the trend line for the poverty rate shows a similar downward trajectory in recent years.
Both statistics show dramatic declines under Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, suggesting that Obama could also claim credit.
“As with the economy generally, Trump likes to take credit for the long economic expansion, even though it is a continuation of an expansion that comprised nearly the entirety of Barack Obama’s tenure — June 2009 through January 2017,” said John P. Frendreis, a political scientist at Loyola University Chicago.
To Trump’s point about opportunity zones and criminal justice legislation, more context is needed.
Trump did sign legislation to establish opportunity zones, which offer tax incentives to long-lasting investments in designated low-income areas in the United States. And he also signed the First Step Act, which enacted a variety of provisions to reduce sentences for nonviolent convicts.
But while Trump gets credit for signing these bills, he doesn’t get sole credit.
Opportunity zones were enacted as a small part of the Republican-backed tax bill, which was universally opposed by Democrats for other reasons. A more accurate gauge of support for the specific opportunity zone idea is the original bill promoting the concept. That bill attracted co-sponsorship from 36 Democrats and 45 Republicans.
And Democratic support for the First Step Act was even clearer. The bill passed the House 358-36, with all of the 36 votes against the bill coming from Republicans. And it passed the Senate 87-12, with all 12 no votes coming from the Republicans.
It’s also a canard to suggest, as Trump did, that Obama “couldn’t get it done,” since the First Step Act built on actions Obama had taken.
Obama signed a law to reduce sentencing disparities between powder and crack cocaine, and he issued executive orders ending solitary confinement for juveniles and banning federal agencies from initially asking job applicants about past convictions. Obama also issued many executive clemencies for non-violent drug crimes and established task forces on policing and on sharing best practices between localities for reducing excessive arrests.
“Trump in this sense is way behind the times,” Engel said. “We have not had presidents since Ronald Reagan that so openly used race as a political weapon. Trump is blunt well beyond the norms of his time.”
Several historians said Trump’s rhetoric has undercut his economic record.
“To be very honest, his posture as president really does not compare to anybody’s posture as president,” at least in recent years, said Dwight D. Watson, a Texas State University historian who specializes in African American history and the civil rights movement. “You might have to go back to Woodrow Wilson.”
Trump’s personal attacks — combined with remarks such as saying a group of white nationalist marchers in Charlottesville included “good people” — are a jarring departure from longstanding public norms, said Max J. Skidmore, a political scientist at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and author of “Presidential Performance: A Comprehensive Review.”
“On balance, the good that he has done has been largely, if not entirely, inadvertent,” Skidmore said, “while the harm is deliberate and calculated to maintain his hold on political power.”