Booker extends the reach of the 2020 campaign to black men in the south

COLUMBIA: Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker He focused Monday on extending his campaign reach to black men, organizing a round table in South Carolina with approximately three dozen black male voters, some of whom said they had been overlooked amid a focus on electoral power of black women.

One by one, the men gathered at the headquarters of Booker's presidential campaign in South Carolina thanked him for highlighting his concerns. The New Jersey senator, one of the two black men seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said he was mainly there to listen. The men expressed concern about access to investment capital, preventing children from being trapped in the criminal justice system and helping black farmers.

`` We have the power to get you elected, '' one of the men, Allen Love, told Booker. `` There is no reason we shouldn't vote for Cory Booker for president. ''

Black support is crucial to the success of the candidates in South Carolina, which celebrates the first southern primaries next year. Black women, in particular, have long been considered the most consistent in supporting the Democratic Party, but Booker said that does not mean that the problems of black men are not important either.

Of the black women, Booker said: `` As for the data, they are the highest percentage of voters in the entire Democratic Party, '' and added: `` But friends, I also need your support. ''

Questioned after Monday's event, Booker said he would continue to focus on black voters in general and that he could gain his support, given his experience living and working in minority communities such as the former mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

`` We know that this is a lot of work to do, and we will continue what I have done in past elections, of being mayor of a majority black city, '' Booker said. `` I am very confident that we can authentically connect with African-American communities in this state. ... We have been talking about this from the beginning. ''

In the Democratic presidential debate last month, both Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris, a black woman, said the Democratic Party has sometimes fallen short of reach to black Americans, and Booker declared: `` Black voters are angry and worried. ''

One of the men at the round table on Monday thanked Booker for being `` the first to do it '' in having a conversation centered on black men, although at least one other candidate - Harris - has done so before. Harris also focused specifically on black men in South Carolina in October, going to a barber shop in Columbia to discuss black men issues. He returned last month for a round table on issues specifically related to black women.

Meanwhile, Booker won the support of nonpartisan Clark County Black Caucus on Monday, a group with 400 voting members based in Las Vegas. The group, which endorsed Bernie Sanders In 2016, he said that Booker `` has always been a voice for African Americans on the stage of the debate, on its policy platform and in the media '' and understands the root causes of inequalities.

Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist in South Carolina, said such approaches are especially key in this state, where the Democratic primary is strongly African-American.

`` It becomes an inch game, and the commitment of this key constituency could be the only thing that separates the winners from the losers in a contested primary, '' he said.

Seawright said that part of the explanation for less support from black men could be attributed to high rates of incarceration among black men, as well as to voting restrictions after incarceration.

`` When I think about what the criminal justice system has done for African-American men, and the fact that there are so many of us locked up and so many of us who have criminal record problems that prevent us from being able to vote, I think that does the difference, '' said Seawright. `` Black men are disabled when it comes to voter suppression tactics and laws. ''

Booker, who closed Monday's event by presenting his presentation documentation for the South Carolina primary, said he was grateful for the conversation and wished he could erase his agenda to stay longer.

`` This is a gift, '' he said.