Operation – determine whether or not President Donald Trump has a high or low chance of being re-elected kicks into gear on Monday as the Iowa Democratic caucuses will take place and voters will make their selection for the primaries for the 2020 presidential election. The problem is, Black voters in Iowa are unimpressed and feel invisible to some of the current candidates, which offers very little – if any – motivation to attend or have enthusiasm about this year’s presidential nominating caucus.
Reports have shown that candidates’ efforts to appeal to Black voters in Iowa have fallen short, which could allow for history to potentially repeat itself and hand Trump a second term.
“They’re reaching out more to the rural areas of Iowa than they are in Des Moines to me,” a Black woman in Iowa told NBC News. “And in rural Iowa, there’s no black people.”
Former President Barack Obama’s 2008 win was in part due to him maintaining momentum in rural Iowa, as well as the state’s predominately Black areas. Conversely, it is questionable if the majority of the current presidential candidates will be able to see similar success – particularly South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
Mayor Pete and Klobuchar are competing for last place with the least amount of support from Black voters in Iowa, according to a recent Washington Post poll. Klobuchar had 0 percent, and Buttigieg had 2 percent, which likely doesn’t come as a surprise due to Buttigieg’s widely-known struggle with Black voters.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, African Americans make up about 4 percent of Iowa’s population. And while this is a small percentage, community leaders suggest that these are the votes that candidates need. “Those are the kind of percentages that get you over the hump when it’s close, and it’s going to be close in a lot of places,” Izaah Knox, executive director of Urban Dreams, a community organization in Des Moines, told NBC News.
Other Black voters said the candidates’ efforts to connect with them has been disingenuous. “I’ve just been getting these generic text messages and calls that I know are just the standard they’re reading off of the paper,” an Iowa business owner said. “Come and see us — if you want our votes.”
Participation from Black voters was alarmingly low during the 2016 Democratic election primaries. Only 3 percent of Black people voted for Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sanders.
If 2016 is indicative of how things could go in 2020, history – as previously stated – could possibly repeat itself because “a lack of motivation in a primary” has a direct correlation to a “low voter turnout” in the November election, as said by a Black voter in Iowa.