The Massachusetts representative is making an offensive play for African American support — and the result could well decide whether she’s the nominee.
The 2020 hopeful stood onstage at the Apostolic Faith Church last weekend and delivered a policy sermon of sorts, interspersing calls to shutter private prisons and forgive student loan debt with stories from scripture. The mostly African American crowd pushed her along with shouts of “yes” and “that’s right!” — and, unlike Amy Klobuchar and Tulsi Gabbard before, Warren got a standing ovation. When musicians started playing to signal Warren that her time was up, the Rev. Jesse Jackson waved them off so she could keep going for 10 more minutes.
“I am in this fight because I am not afraid. I know our fight is a righteous fight,” Warren stated.
The enthusiastic reception at Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition conference was a small but public validation of a yearslong effort by the Massachusetts senator to make invasions with African American voters. Facing a difficult battle against opponents with deep ties to the black community — namely former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker of New Jersey — Warren has moved aggressively to win over a voter that could well decide the nominee.
Her plan, defined by a half-dozen black activists and movement leaders who’ve been talked by Warren personally as well as her own campaign aides, is a mix of one-on-one outreach to black political leaders when no one’s watching and a deliberate focus on racial justice is woven throughout her policy proposals. Above all, Warren is prepared to outwork her opponents and to show to suspicious African American voters that she will fight for them in the White House.