Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, or Hillary the Inevitable if you're in the establishment press and ignoring three credible polls showing her either very slightly trailing or very slightly ahead of Donald Trump, appears not to be achieving the high degree of support or turnout that Barack Obama did among black voters in 2008 and 2012.
On Sunday, Hillary Campaign Manager Robby Mook dodged a question from Jake Tapper on CNN's State of the Union about indications that black turnout for the former Secretary of State in North Carolina during early voting has not been strong. Meanwhile, a black Trump supporter, who the press seems to believe can easily be turned into an object of ridicule, continues to run circles around them in interviews.
Obama got between 93 percent and 96 percent of the black vote in 2012. The magical Sunday ABC/Washington Post poll showing her with a 12-point overall lead over Trump has her with 82 percent. Even giving her almost all of the undecideds would leave her at 89 percent — a huge advantage over her rivals to be sure, but still 4 points to 7 points below Obama, whose victory margin in several states in 2012 was largely due to his dominance of the black vote. A five-point reduction in the percentage of blacks who vote for Hillary compared to Obama — before considering who the votes might go to — would cost her about 900,000 votes. Then there's the matter of turnout. A 2-point drop in turnout back to levels seen in previous elections would cost her at least another 500,000 votes.
As noted in this post's intro, Robby Mook wouldn't genuinely answer Jake Tapper's related question. Here's how that portion of the interview went:
JAKE TAPPER: What about turnout amongst African-Americans in North Carolina? In early voting, I hear it’s lower than where it was for Obama in 2012.
ROBBY MOOK: First of all, we’re seeing high turnout generally across the country. The voter roles have reached a high watermark. We expect more voters than ever in our history to turn out and participate in this election.
North Carolina has only been voting for a few days so we still need to let the data come in. Look, we should all assume that there’s a mountain of work left to be done there. So we got to stay focused. What’s important to us is we don’t want anybody to wake up after Election Day this historic event has happened and didn’t have a chance to participate. We want everyone to make a plan to go vote.
I suppose we could give Mook the benefit of the doubt in that he meant to say "we're seeing high black turnout. But if that's what he meant, he's wrong, according to CNN as of Friday evening: "So far, the African-American share of the early vote is slightly lower than it was at this point in 2012." More likely, Mook was trying to change the subject.
One wild card in all of this is whether Trump will make significant inroads into the black electorate compared to previous Republican candidates. Most polls show him failing in this regard; one except is Rasmussen. A person who apparently is a paid subscriber to the pollster's full service is reporting that it has found black support for Trump ranging from 15 percent to 19 percent during the past week. This is consistent with Google searches which seem to be able to peek behind Rasmussen's subscription wall which indicate that Mrs. Clinton's black support in their polls is only in the mid-70s. If Rasmussen is right, the idea that she has the race in the bag would be in serious jeopardy. Mook's robotic answer to Tapper seen above may betray a concern that he won't dare voice.
If Trump does outperform expectations with black voters, he may owe Brunell Donald-Kyei a great deal of the credit.
Ms. Donald-Kyei, who is the Vice-Chair of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump, has been making waves in cable and local TV and radio interviews, and has caught several clearly hostile and condescending journalists who thought they could rhetorically shut her down completely flat-footed.
Before getting to the best example of that, let's link viewers to a few of her other recent appearances:
- Two weeks ago on CNN's morning show after the second debate, the interviewer, who was clearly not pleased with how things transpired, consistently went after Donald-Kyei regarding Trump's remarks about women. Donald-Kyei honestly said that of course these matters bothered her, but insisted on looking at the big picture, saying in part (at the 3:44 mark): "We want a president in office that has not corrupted our Department of Justice, that has not corrupted our FBI, that is not above the law."
- On NPR earlier this month, WBUR's Tom Ashbrook continually pressed her on how she felt as a woman about what Trump had been saying. Her response took a direct shot at Mrs. Clinton and the media's double standard (at the 2:01 mark). "And so my thing is this — "It can't be that we as women can pass on what a woman says about women, but then when a man opens his mouth, we're going to be judgmental." When the interview was over, Ashbrook's co-host commented, "Here's my advice. I think he (Trump) should hire Brunell to tell him what to say in the next debate."
- On Fox & Friends Sunday morning, in response (at the 0:50 mark) to Michael Moore calling Trump voters "legal terrorists" in a Rolling Stone magazine interview: "Anyone who votes for Hillary Clinton is aiding and abetting a felon."
Perhaps Donald-Kyei's best moment came a month ago on WGN-TV in Chicago, where the two journalists who interviewed her — and who again incorrectly figured that she wouldn't be able to respond to criticisms directed at her preferred candidate — were left virtually slack-jawed:
Highlights and interviewer lowlights:
FEMALE REPORTER (the opening question, asked in near-amazement): Donald Trump set up these diversity outreach programs?
MALE REPORTER (at 0:52 mark): But what do you say to people who are concerned about his comments about "Mexicans are rapists," or the President's birth certificate, or Muslims shouldn't be allowed in the country? How do you address that?
BUNELL DONALD-KYEI: What I would say is that legal immigrants are tired of fighting illegal immigrants for jobs, just like Americans are tired of fighting illegal immigrants for jobs. I don't know one good Muslim who has a problem with Donald Trump saying "radical Islamic terrorist."
(at 2:03) MALE REPORTER (radically changing the subject on a dime): So you'd want to see stop-and-frisk on the South and West Side (of Chicago)?
DONALD-KYEI: Stop-and-frisk is already on the South Side and the West Side of Chicago. I'm in the courtroom every single day.
(at 2:44) DONALD-KYEI: (Donald Trump's) best debate line: "Democrats care about the inner when it's election time. After election time, what do you get? Zero." What was her response? Quiet. Why? Because that is the truth. He told the unadulterated truth.
And even though people don't want to hear the truth, the truth is bitter, but we have to swallow it. The Democratic Party I voted for over 20 years of my life. I voted for Barack Obama when he said he was going to bring hope and change, and "yes we can," and no we didn't. The jobs didn't come, the better schools didn't come, the investment in our communities did not come. National security, our borders are open, we're not safe. We're not safe, and we've got to stop thinking as black, and white, and purple, and Arab. We've got to start thinking as Americans ...
It seems to me that the male WGN reporter could barely wait to end things.
The press probably hasn't seen a Republican-supporting African-American like Donald-Kyei in at least 50 years, if ever. Stuck in their stereotypical "no sane black person can voter for a Republican" mindset, they've clearly been caught off-guard.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.