News & Politics

Hillary Clinton Backers Launch Black Outreach Program—But Will It All Backfire?

Hillary Clinton has a lot of allies pushing her to run--but top Democrats say all of this maneuvering could be a big mistake.

Photo Credit: AFP

Allies of Hillary Clinton are building up a powerful infrastructure ahead of the 2016 presidential elections to ensure her strength as a candidate.  The latest move is that the “Ready for Hillary” Super-PAC, which is building a campaign before Clinton even announces one, is reaching out to blacks.  The outreach to blacks is being formulated as other Democrats express doubt about Clinton’s strategy leading up to the 2016 campaign.

The outreach campaign is being launched to convince African-American voters to back Hillary Clinton for president.  The Grio reports that “Clinton allies over the next year will visit barbershops, beauty shops and other venues where lots of black voters congregate. They are looking to get people to either sign up online, donate money or make a commitment to backing Clinton in 2016.”

One of the people leading it is Mark Alexander, a Seton Hall professor and former top aide to President Obama.  “It really is an effort to remind Hillary Clinton of the vast support she has,” among blacks,” Alexander said on a conference call, according to the Grio.

But aides and former officials involved in Barack Obama’s political campaigns say all of this maneuvering could be a big mistake.  BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer report that “top advisers and former aides to Barack Obama say Hillary Clinton is repeating the mistakes she made in 2008, building a machine in lieu of a message and lumbering toward the Democratic nomination with the same deep vulnerabilities that cost her the nomination eight years earlier.”

In an interview with BuzzFeed, Joel Benenson, the White House’s top pollster, said: “I just don’t see any strategic value in stories positioning her as inevitable or the pre-emptive nominee, and I don’t think people who are out there talking about this help her, and I think she should make that clear. She doesn’t need this.”


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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