2020 Democrat Candidates Court Black Support in South Carolina

Joe Biden and Jim Clyburn (Win McNamee / Getty)
Win McNamee / Getty

The candidates for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination are courting black voters in South Carolina, the early primary state in which the African-American community plays the most significant role.

South Carolina (Feb. 29) will be the fourth contest of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary — after Iowa (Feb. 3), New Hampshire (Feb. 13), and Nevada (Feb. 22). It is usually the third contest in the Republican primary, but the parties vote on different weekends.

Black voters make up about 60% of Democratic primary voters in the Palmetto State, and their support is usually seen as a proxy for black support in other states.

In one recent Monmouth poll, former vice president Joe Biden held a commanding lead among black voters in South Carolina, with 51% of likely black voters. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was a distant second at 12%, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in third place with 10%.

Overall, Biden had support from 39% of South Carolina voters, with Harris at 12% and Sanders at 10%. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had 9%, with only 2% support within the black community.

Recently, Warren and Sanders have made an effort to boost their black support, visiting and speaking in black communities in the capital city of Columbia, South Carolina.

Many candidates have focused their campaign efforts on predominantly black churches. The Biden campaign has hired Michael McClain, pastor of Liberty Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Catawba, South Carolina, as a local faith outreach director, the Washington Examiner reports.

The Harris campaign has also used a network of alumnae from Alpha Kappa Alpha, a black sorority, to build support.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, has made a concerted appeal to black voters in South Carolina, but his support stands at 1% in the black community and 5% overall.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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