North Carolina is a crucial state for presidential candidates to win if they want to see victory in November. This is especially true for President Donald Trump as the Republican in the race. But this year, as in previous elections, black voters will likely be the key to determining which candidate gets the state’s 15 electoral votes.
The Charlotte Observer recently published an article on the race, and if the piece is any indication, Trump will have his work cut out for him when it comes to defeating former Vice President Joe Biden in North Carolina. The author interviewed a number of black residents who were not enthused about a Trump victory.
Eileen Skinner, 61, told the Observer that she isn’t sure that she will turn out on election day because she “lost a lot of faith in politics.” However, if she changes her mind, she indicating that her vote will be more against Trump than for Biden. “I don’t care for his politics or his verbiage,” she said. “I’m embarrassed to have him as president.”
Derek Partee,68, is a Republican who describes himself as a “party man.” He stated that he has not yet decided which candidate he will support despite supporting Trump in 2016. “He’s not addressing the Black community,” he complained. “And there’s no diversity in the Trump administration.”
A Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer named Tasha Bias stated that she agrees more with Trump regarding law enforcement. She said that Biden should be more forceful when it comes to distancing himself from the “defund the police” crowd. “It’s about holding people accountable,” she said. “It’s not a police issue, it’s a people issue.”
However, she explained that she would not be supporting the president because she lacks trust in his sincerity. “I don’t’ really believe anything that comes out of his mouth,” she said.
Another black North Carolinan named Pamela Clay said she believes that while Trump’s support for school choice might help black children, she insisted that he does not understand people living in poverty. “Not just that,” she added, “he doesn’t have the desire to understand.”
Despite his troubling numbers in the African American community, Trump is still trying to reach black residents, who make up 23% of North Carolina’s population. His campaign launched radio ads in 11 predominantly black markets on Tuesday. The ad featured former NFL player Herschel Walker, who also made an appearance at the Republican National Convention.
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign is trying to shore up black support in the state as well. Democrats are attempting to ensure a rebound in black voter turnout.
The Observer points out that, “N.C. Democratic leaders have had their eye on one number: 169,800 Black Democrats who voted in the state in 2012 did not vote in 2016, when Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the state by about 4 percent.” The Biden campaign is trying to solidify black support by pointing to Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has disproportionately affected the black community.
The Trump campaign apparently recognizes the importance of winning in North Carolina. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have each made three stops in the state to appeal to voters over the past few weeks. Members of the president’s family have also traveled to the state as well.
There is a reason for this. The Observer pointed out that “North Carolina is a must-win state for Trump. No Republican has won the White House while losing North Carolina since Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.”
But Trump does have a shot at winning enough black votes to ensure that he wins North Carolina. Clarence Henderson, a civil rights activist advising the Trump campaign, stated that if the president can earn an extra 5% of black votes, “it would literally be impossible for Biden to win.”
Earlier this year, the Trump campaign announced that it planned to open 15 “Black Voices for Trump” field offices across the country. They intended to place three of these in North Carolina, one of which has opened. Paris Dennard, who heads the campaign’s black outreach, said that Gov. Roy Cooper’s “draconian COVID-19 restrictions” stopped them from opening the other two.
According to a Civitas poll which was conducted before Biden selected Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate, 5.7% of black residents supported President Trump while Biden received 80.5%. Blacks who were undecided made up 9.8%.
As a Republican candidate, Trump already has an uphill battle with black voters. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on his re-election efforts. Also, many black Americans feel that the president has not handled the issue of police brutality effectively, although this particular sentiment might be overblown by the media.
In fact, it is likely that the majority of black Americans agree with Tasha Bias’ statements about the “defund the police movement.” A recent poll revealed that most African Americans do not wish to see their law enforcement agencies downsized or abolished. Indeed, a significant percentage wish to see more police active in their communities.
Moreover, most black Americans are not on board with the widespread rioting and looting, which are being perpetrated largely by white Antifa operatives. Obviously, Trump will not earn the majority of black votes in North Carolina, but is it possible that he can win enough to secure the state’s electoral votes? If he continues to make his case directly to the black community and focuses on his economic record and cracking down on the violent unrest in America’s cities.