By Barney Blakeney
While media manipulators proclaim South Carolina Sixth District Cong. James E. Clyburn as our state’s Democratic ‘King Maker’, the reality is African American voters in the state are the power behind the Democratic throne.
In a recent broadcast morning radio talk show, host Steve Harvey said African Americans should take as seriously the power of their vote as others do. His statement was validated by Democratic primary candidates who sought the South Carolina Black vote.
Though Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden took the Black vote for granted in a successful gamble that he had ingratiated himself with Black voters, others did not. Tom Steyer spent millions of dollars courting the Black vote in South Carolina. Biden spent barely $10,000 with South Carolina Black media to woo Black voters while Seyer spent about $200,000 with South Carolina Black newspapers. In the end, Biden won the South Carolina Democratic primary with about 44 percent of the vote. Steyer captured only about seven percent of the vote. Black voters represent about 60 percent of South Carolina Democratic voters.
Pete Buttigieg, like Biden, spent minimal amounts beyond campaign staff in the Black community to attract Black voters. Black voters responded in kind. Still Buttigieg received about 13 percent of the vote to place third in the running behind Bernie Sanders who also spent next to nothing with South Carolina Black media newspapers. Their neglect however did not go unrewarded.
Buttigieg campaign operative Abe Jenkins said the South Carolina Black vote was pivotal in the Democratic primary producing the most benefits to Biden. After the South Carolina primary, both Buttigieg and Steyer dropped out of the race in what most recognize as an effort to clear the field for an ultimate Biden nomination. Jenkins said Democrats proclaim Biden as the most likely candidate to defeat Trump in November.
Charleston County Democratic Party Chair Colleen Condon said Biden wasn’t well organized in South Carolina or elsewhere, but predicted his Super Tuesday win as a result of his South Carolina victory. That victory came on a 48 percent increase in Democratic presidential primary voting, prompted, she said, by an interracial desire to defeat Trump.
Condon said South Carolina’s model likely will play out throughout other southern states where Black Democrats represent the majority of the party’s voters.