I was waiting for a flight at the Denver International Airport recently when I overheard two women talking about Hillary Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner for the White House in 2016.
“I never feel like I’m getting a straight answer from her,” one woman said skeptically. “For once, I’d just like to hear the truth.”
It’s a legitimate complaint that I’m hearing with more regularity these days – and a potentially serious character flaw about Clinton that troubles me as well.
A recent poll from Quinnipiac University asked voters to describe Clinton in one word. The most common word chosen was “liar,” followed by “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.”
With each passing day, I’m hearing African-American professionals questioning Clinton’s trustworthiness – people who once supported Clinton unconditionally.
A new poll asked more than 1,000 voters each in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania: “Would you say that Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy or not?” A full 64 percent of Floridians, 60 percent of Ohioans and 63 percent of Pennsylvanians said “No.”
And I’m also hearing more Black folks wondering out loud if Vice President Joe Biden would make a better presidential candidate and divide Black voters if he enters the race for the White House. Indeed, Biden fares better against top GOP candidates in hypothetical general election match-ups than Clinton, according to a new national survey.
Many Black voters like Biden; he has been a staunch advocate for civil rights; he fills in nicely for President Barack Obama at NAACP conventions and National Urban League summits; and he has spoken out against racial discrimination and injustice in the workplace.
If Biden decides to run for president, he could certainly siphon off votes from Clinton and put her in a precarious position. Clinton was considered by many as a shoe-in for the White House in 2008 until President Barack Obama emerged and her campaign does not want to be derailed again.
Could Biden actually win the Democratic nomination? In politics, I guess, anything is possible, especially if Clinton’s poll numbers continue to plummet.
“Joe Biden has a lot of support in South Carolina, always has,” U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, the most influential African American Democrat in the state, told POLITICO.
“If he were on the ballot and the voting were taking place this coming Tuesday, I’d think that Hillary Clinton would still survive. But the election will not be this coming Tuesday, and if he were to get into the race at this point, it all depends,” Clyburn said. “People are really concerned about those emails.”
Perception is everything in the bid for the White House and the Clinton campaign is pushing back against a troubling trend: The email controversy is spinning out of control. It’s now officially a scandal. Clinton tried to put the mess to rest this week by offering her first apology for using a private email server while Secretary of State, calling it a “mistake” in an interview that aired Tuesday.
“Even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts. One for personal, one for work-related emails,” Clinton told ABC News a day after she vowed not to apologize. ”That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.”
But will Americans accept her apology and move forward? The problem with Clinton’s messaging is the inconsistencies: Clinton has previously claimed that no classified material went through her email account – but then she deleted emails from that account.
Many Americans feel, correctly, that Clinton hasn’t adequately explained why she was using a private email server from home as Secretary of State to manage sensitive government information in the first place.
The FBI is investigating the Clinton scandal even as new polls surface. Only four in 10 Democrats said that “honest” was the best word to describe Clinton.
Sixteen months before Black Americans line up to vote for the next president, there is still time for Clinton to patch her self-inflicted wounds and regain the trust of folks who are frustrated and undecided.
But if Biden decides to throw his hat into the ring, Clinton could lose some significant Black support and her rocky road to the White House could be filled with even more roadblocks.
What do you think?
Would Black Voters Support Joe Biden Over Hillary Clinton? was originally published on blackamericaweb.com