Here's how Trump plans to take down Biden — and why aides for the former VP fear it will work

Here's how Trump plans to take down Biden — and why aides for the former VP fear it will work
Marc Nozell
Election '20

If former Vice President Joe Biden ultimately receives the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, he will need a heavy African-American voter turnout in order to defeat President Donald Trump in the general election. The centrist Democrat has fared well among black voters in some recent polls, and Trump is no doubt well aware of that — which is why, according to a Daily Beast report, one of the president’s top priorities is turning black voters against Biden.

In a Beast article published on May 30, three journalists (Sam Stein, Asawin Suebsaeng and Lachlan Markay) note that in 2016, the Trump campaign successfully undermined black support of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. And in 2019, the Beast reports, Democratic strategists fear the same tactic could be successfully used against Biden.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, who is African-American, told the Beast that Trump’s anti-Hillary Clinton tactics in 2016 did, in fact, hurt her support among black voters — and the lesson for Biden, Clyburn stressed, is to be as proactive as possible when Trump tries to paint him as anti-black.

“History is my teaching,” Clyburn asserted. “Everything to me is built on some historical context, and because I know that is what happened in the last election — yes, I believe (Trump) is going to try and do it again.”

Clyburn recalled that in 2016, he was shocked when he visited an African-American barber shop and a barber named Oliver told him that many of his customers were voting for Trump because they had been convinced that Hillary Clinton was favorable to “mass incarceration.”

The Beast also interviewed, anonymously, a Clinton campaign veteran, who acknowledged that Trump’s anti-Clinton tactics among black voters in 2016 “was certainly damaging.” Most African-American Democratic voters, the Beast explains, won’t vote for Trump in 2020 — yet in a close election, peeling any of them away “could help kneecap the former VP.” And that, according to the Beast’s sources, is what Trump is hoping for.

Veteran GOP strategist Ed Rollins told the Beast that trying to sour black voters on Biden will not only be a Trump tactic this year — it will be used by Democratic presidential hopefuls as well. “Democrats can’t win unless they get Obama levels of black voter turnout,” Rollins told the Beast. “Unless they can get back those levels, it makes it awful hard for them to win the White House.”

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