In an April 16 article for the website Black America Web, CNN Tonight host Don Lemon wondered whether possible Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and declared GOP candidates Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are “black enough” to win over African-American voters but declined to ask the same question of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Lemon began by warning readers to “[l]ook out” as presidential candidates are “all targeting you, trying to out black each other” through “[t]elevision commercials, radio ads, door knocks, fliers, [and] robo- calls.”
Following an assumption that the GOP has conceded “the women vote” to Clinton, Lemon ruled that the other candidates will be “coming after voters of color.” Moving on to wondering about the blackness of GOP candidates, Lemon first brought up Paul:
Late last year in October in an interview with Politico Rand Paul said he believes a GOP candidate, probably him, can get at least a third of the black vote, if not more.
Paul said, “I don’t want to limit it to that. I don’t want to say there’s only a third open.… The reason I use the number ‘a third,’ is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential.”
According to Politico last year Paul also met with black leaders in Ferguson, opened up a GOP outreach office in a black neighborhood in Kentucky and spoke at the National Urban League convention.
He’s also been speaking a lot about fair sentencing for crimes where blacks are disproportionately affected.
He was one of the sponsors the Fair Sentencing Act, which President Barack Obama signed last year.
Is Rand Paul black enough?
Remains to be seen.
Turning to Huckabee, Lemon asserted that the former Arkansas Republican Governor “has more street cred than any of the 2016 Republican hopefuls” after he, in part, told The Hill in September 2014 that:
I know how to govern. It’s about developing relationships, building camaraderie, building trust. I don’t think you’ll find a Republican who got 49 percent of the African-American vote, as I did, in my reelection as governor. That had high Hispanic support. Those are things I think could be valuable to the party.
On Rubio, Lemon declared that the Florida Republican Senator “thinks” he’s “black enough” due to the fact the he “has been openly discussing his love affair with rappers Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.”
In a brief allusion to Jeb Bush, Lemon simply noted that he has been “evolving on issues which affect blacks and women.”
Turning finally to Clinton, Lemon treated Clinton with far less skepticism:
And finally, the only woman in the race so far, Hillary Clinton isn’t taking anything for granted when it comes to the black vote.
Blacks are prominently featured in her new announcement video.
President Obama stopped short of endorsing her, but says Clinton is his friend and would make a great President Of The United States.
Lemon then closed with another direct message to his intended audience: “Get ready y’all; the road to 2016, even without an African American in the race, will be bigger and blacker than ever.”