- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2016

PHILADELPHIA — Hillary Clinton is using the Democratic National Convention to aggressively woo minority voters, whom she is relying on to put her over the top in November, and she enlisted President Obama to spearhead the effort with a keynote speech Wednesday.

But the bid to reunite the coalition of black and Hispanic voters who were instrumental in Mr. Obama’s two White House wins ran into powerful headwinds Tuesday from the Black Lives Matter movement. Black protesters took to streets with calls to shut down the convention just as Mrs. Clinton received the nomination and made history as the first female standard-bearer for a major political party.

As several hundred Black Lives Matters protesters marched through the city toward the convention at the Wells Fargo Center, the crowd chanted, “Hell no, DNC/We won’t vote for Hillary!”

White activists outnumbered black ones in the Black Lives Matter demonstration. But young black men and women in the crowd said they weren’t voting for Mrs. Clinton. Many said they would back Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

Samantha Eusebio joined the march spontaneously on her way home from work as a museum educator. She said she used to support Mrs. Clinton.

“Hearing all that’s been happening, I don’t know what to believe anymore,” said Ms. Eusebio, who twice voted for Mr. Obama for president.

SEE ALSO: Bernie Sanders supporters storm media tent as Hillary Clinton accepts nomination

The marchers chanted, “Don’t vote for Hillary. She’s killing black people!”

Inside the convention, one of the themes for the day was Mrs. Clinton’s commitment to social justice. Speakers included former Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., the first black person to hold the title of America’s top cop, and eight black women dubbed “Mothers of the Movement,” whose sons died at the hands of police and galvanized activists throughout the country.

Her nomination at the convention was seconded by civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.

Still, Mrs. Clinton has a complicated relationship with black voters.

Her husband, former President Bill Clinton, was popular with black voters, and Mrs. Clinton shared in some of that affection. However, their support for tough-on-crime laws during the Clinton administration caused mass incarcerations of black men that the activists now denounce. Mrs. Clinton’s warnings in the 1990s of “superpredators” today is being called a racist “dog whistle.”

During this year’s campaign, she repeatedly sided with Black Lives Matter, even when the movement inspired deadly attacks on police officers in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Still, she has been criticized for tossing out a Black Lives Matter activist who crashed one of her private fundraising events.

SEE ALSO: Hillary Clinton secures nomination

At the protest, 28-year-old Duan Byrd said he was more concerned about Mrs. Clinton’s cozy relationship with Wall Street than her social justice policies. But mostly he didn’t trust her.

“It’s not that her [stated] policies for minorities aren’t good. It’s just hard to trust that she’ll hold true to them,” he said.

Rep. G.K. Butterfield, North Carolina Democrat and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said Mrs. Clinton’s success in November depends on her ability to motivate black and Hispanic voters to turn out at similar levels as they did for Mr. Obama.

“No question about it,” he said.

Mr. Butterfield said he was confident that Mr. Obama’s convention speech would help by “telegraphing a message that they are immovable” in their support for minorities.

He predicted that Mrs. Clinton would win in a landslide, with the help of minority voters.

Mr. Obama, the country’s first black president, drove record high turnout among black voters and received a landslide share of their vote, 96 percent in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump likely needs to crack 12 percent of the black vote to prevail. That is more than George W. Bush won in 2000 (9 percent) and in 2004 (11 percent).

Mr. Trump was supported by 1 percent of black voters in a national poll last month by Quinnipiac University, which gave Mrs. Clinton a narrow overall lead, 42 percent to 40 percent. Mrs. Clinton got 91 percent of the black vote, with the other 8 percent either undecided, not voting or wanting someone else.

Mr. Trump does better with Hispanic voters but still trails Mrs. Clinton by a wide margin, 76 percent to 14 percent, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

Luci Riley, a California delegate to the Democratic convention with ties to Black Lives Matter groups, said young black men are tuning out the message from Mrs. Clinton and other establishment figures. “They’re not voting at all. They have given up on the system entirely,” she said.

Indiana delegate Gina Paradis agreed.

“It doesn’t matter what kind of figureheads from minority groups you put up on the stage,” she said. “Minorities are more distrustful of the establishment than any other group.”

Ms. Paradis, who worked organizing inner-city voters for Sen. Bernard Sanders during the Democratic primary, said the high level of distrust of Mrs. Clinton in the electorate was acute among black voters. “They don’t trust Hillary,” she said.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide