Likely seizing on reports that President Joe Biden has been losing support among Black voters, the Democratic Party’s most loyal base, independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s campaign scheduled a roundtable discussion with Black women for this weekend.
Specifically, Kennedy’s event slated for Saturday night in Atlanta was publicized to the media as one that would discuss “pressing issues facing Black America,” including “the Black maternal health crisis, media censorship, gender in sports, gun violence, and the advancement of Black-owned businesses.”
Kennedy is expected to engage in discussion with Angela Stanton King, political spokesperson and founder of non-profit Auntie Angie’s House; WNBA star Angel McCoughtry; Alexia Adams, a former basketball player; influencer Tatiana Davenport; and media personality Shay McCray; Atlanta-based journalist and best-selling author Christal Jordan is set to moderate the discussion, according to a media advisory sent to NewsOne.
The roundtable discussion seems to be among presidential candidates’ latest courting of Black voters, the coveted voting bloc that is credited for helping to decide the 2020 election in battleground states like Georgia, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Likely not coincidentally, Kennedy’s event comes weeks after polling found that Black voters are increasingly supporting third-party candidates in an effort to find alternatives to Biden and Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Twenty percent of Black voters expect to cast their ballots on Election Day for neither Biden nor Trump, according to a poll released earlier this month. The unusually high number of third-party candidates this year could spell doom for Biden’s reelection efforts.
The findings in the USA Today/Suffolk University Poll gives a slight edge to Trump in the general election.
Meanwhile, Kennedy – the top-polling third-party candidate – is reportedly enjoying support among Black voters in battleground states at an unprecedented level.
MSNBC reported that 28% of Black voters in battleground states plan to vote for Kennedy. While 50% of those same voters support Biden, 13% are expected to vote for Trump, recent polling shows.
That’s likely at least partially because Black voters in swing states – including some that helped secure Biden’s victory in 2020 – have been supporting Trump at levels previously “unseen” by a Republican candidate, a previous poll found.
Of those states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – just one shows Biden beating Trump by a slim margin.
On a more granular level, there are more Black voters from those states – 22% of them – supporting a Republican presidential candidate than ever previously recorded, the New York Times reported.
While polling is far from definitive, it can indicate trends like Black voters’ unprecedented support for a third-party candidate this year.
“This is a pretty unique historical moment when more than 60% of the population says they’re open to voting for a third-party or independent candidate,” Tony Lyons, Kennedy’s book publisher and the co-founder of a super PAC for the candidate, told NBC News.
Beyond Black voters, an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist national poll released in October found that Trump would likely emerge victorious in November when factoring in Kennedy’s independent candidacy and the 16% of support he was predicted to get. Without Kennedy’s candidacy, the poll showed Biden would beat Trump.
Notably, Kennedy last summer was accused of antisemitism when he put forth conspiracy theories including one speculating that COVID-19 might have been engineered to target everyone except Jewish and Chinese people. Building on that same unfortunate momentum, Kennedy specifically pointed to low COVID-19 death rates in Black nations like Haiti and Nigeria as purported evidence to support his unfounded theory.
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