Black voters in Hampton Roads say they need more effort from Democratic candidates

Black voters undecided on candidates
Posted at 11:22 PM, Feb 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-01 21:44:19-05

THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE IS CLOSING IN, but there is still some uncertainty among voters — NORFOLK, Va. - The race for the White House is closing in, but there is still some uncertainty among voters, especially African Americans.

“Sometimes I feel like the candidates don’t really understand the black vote. First of all, we are not a monolith,” said Roddena Kirksey. She lives in Chesapeake.

Kirksey says she understands why the black vote is important in an election. “You cannot win the Democratic nomination without the black vote,” she adds.

But she doesn’t believe the candidates are putting enough effort into winning her vote and her communities. She asks, “What are you going to do about the economic inequality in this country?"

Right now, she believes things are looking good for former Vice President Joe Biden when it comes to black votes, especially after his South Carolina primary win.

“Biden seems the most reasonable out of the group. They know what they are getting when they get Biden.”

But the feeling isn’t mutual the next city over. “A lot of younger millennials, Gen Z and all that, are leading towards Bernie,” said Jamie Turner.

Turner is the president of the NAACP chapter at Norfolk State University.

Even though Senator Bernie Sanders is a talker in her circle, she’s not fully convinced.

She adds, “We are always on the back burner for them and we only matter to them during election season. Our black life only matters when they need our vote.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s team was campaigning on campuses this week, but he wasn’t there.

“You want our vote but you physically did not come to our campus, you just sent a truck,” said Turner.

Biden is coming to Booker T. Washington High School tomorrow in Norfolk. This is in a predominantly black community. Voters we talked to say even though there are still a lot of questions, they appreciate him coming to them.

“You got to go to where the people are, he’s not afraid to go there,” Kirskey adds.

Turner hopes the other candidates will follow suit.

“You have to meet us halfway. It’s not that we don’t care, it’s more like you have to meet us where we are, meet us at Norfolk State, meet us at HBCU’s, meet us at our campuses.”