CHARLESTON, S.C. – Three days away from big primary contest in the South, the South Carolina primary will also be the first time the country gets to look at what the African American majority vote may look like.
However, not last night’s debate or not a major endorsement seems to be changing minds.
In Charleston, Pastor Tim Bupp is a Bernie Sanders supporter. “I’m looking for who can take Trump to task in debates and who and get energy.”
University of South Carolina student Justin Dreher said the country needs to be moved in a dramatically different direction.
An important endorsement didn’t seem to hold much weight for those who have already decided and those who are still undecided.
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the highest-ranking black member of Congress and the kingmaker of South Carolina’s Democratic political orbit, on Wednesday endorsed Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.
“I can think of no one better suited, better prepared, I can think of no one with the integrity, no one more committed to the fundamental principles that make this country what it is than my good friend,” said Clyburn, appearing with Biden at an event in North Charleston.
He called on the people of South Carolina to “stand with” Biden.
Jay Hammond, 82, is one of those Super Voters who is coveted by Biden. The former vice president is counting on South Carolina and its African American majority to be his firewall primary after his demoralizing finishes in the first few contests.
But Hammond, an African American, is not taking Clyburn’s advice and voting for Biden.
“I was convinced a long time before these debates and I knew who I liked and I still like them. They feel more honest more in touch with me.” He did reveal who he was voting for, but did asked it not to be made public. Hammond said he is not voting for any of the frontrunners.
So, Sanders comes to South Carolina as the frontrunner and Biden comes here looking for his firewall, but there are still a lot of “ifs.”
South Carolina’s primary is Saturday, Feb. 29.
What’s really noticeable in South Carolina from the Democratic candidates’ stumps in Iowa and New Hampshire is that they are not crisscrossing the city and holding events where people can come meet them personally. There are signs that this has benefitted candidates in other states and that the one-on- one face time helps people make their decision, but, surprisingly that isn’t happening in South Carolina.
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump’s campaign is stepping up its outreach to black Americans as it tries to claw away support from the traditionally Democratic voting bloc ahead of November’s general election.
Trump’s campaign has plans to announce that it is opening 15 “Black Voices for Trump Community Centers” in the coming weeks in major cities in battleground states. The offices will feature a line of campaign swag, videos of prominent Trump surrogates like Diamond and Silk explaining their support for the president and pamphlets outlining the president’s record. The retail spaces will be the campaign’s first field offices targeted at a specific demographic group.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story)