DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democrats wasted no time looking for political opportunity after Donald Trump falsely accused Hillary Clinton of starting the rumor that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S.
Just hours later, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York was on Philadelphia R&B station, WDAS, critiquing Trump’s behavior. Days later Clinton’s North Carolina state organizers met in Raleigh, in part to chart how to use negative reaction to Trump’s statement to motivate the state’s disproportionately high Black voting bloc to turn out. And Clinton’s team welcomed Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist, to a Philadelphia voter registration event where he railed against Trump’s claim.
Polls suggest Clinton can count on an overwhelming percentage of support from African-Americans. But she can’t necessarily count on them to vote.
“If they feel like they have the African-American community locked up, they should be very, very careful about making that assumption,” Sara Lomax Reese, president of Philadelphia’s independent Black radio station WURD, said of Clinton and her team.
One of the biggest questions of the 2016 election is whether African-American voters will turn out for Clinton as they did for the first Black president. They voted at a historic level in 2008 and an unexpectedly high rate in 2012.