A Donald Trump Republican presidential nomination would produce one of the largest minority voter turnouts ever – for Democrats.
So the Rev. Al Sharpton Thursday predicted Thursday. Speaking at a breakfast hosted by The Christian Science Monitor, the civil rights advocate and cable television show host said African-American and Latino voters were so appalled by Trump’s statements and actions that they would go to the poll in droves to make sure that he wouldn’t win the White House.
“I think Donald Trump, in his defiant, bias-tinged kind of persona, could bring the biggest turnout of black and Latino voters we’ve ever seen if the Democrats handle it right and go to their base,” Sharpton said. “If the Democrats handle Trump’s birther stuff, him denying at 69 years old he didn’t know who David Duke was, the KKK and all that, people would not only stand in line all night (to vote), they would come the night before and spend the night.”
Though Sharpton considers a potential Trump fall campaign “a gift” to Democrats, he said the party’s two presidential contenders still had a lot of work to do to win over voters.
He said he was concerned that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, had failed thus far to overcome serious weaknesses in their campaigns.
Clinton, whose primary victories have been powered by strong African-American support, needs to do more to attract white, male, working-class voters, he said.
“What Mrs. Clinton must do is convince working-class whites that not only does she understand their situation in terms of the results of things like trade agreements, income inequality, the recklessness of Wall Street, but that she will fight on their behalf,” he said.
Sanders, if he is to be successful, must increase his African-American support, Sharpton said.
To say ‘I marched with Dr. King’ is great, it shows great character. But that was 50 years ago. . . . Tell me what you’ve done this century.
Al Sharpton on Sen. Bernie Sanders
“Bernie Sanders has a message that resonated around issues of employment, around issues of Wall Street, around issues of income inequality, but he has not resonated with African-American voters,” he said.
Sanders narrowly won Tuesday’s Michigan Democratic primary with 34 percent of the African-American vote, a number that Sharpton called “good for a Republican.”
“It’s not good for a progressive Democrat,” he said. “Less than a third of the black vote does not show that he just did ‘all right.’ ”
Sharpton, an Obama White House ally, hasn’t endorsed a candidate, though he said he was getting close to picking one. That might come as early as April, after Clinton and Sanders speak at Sharpton’s National Action Network convention.
He brushed aside a question about the possibility of Clinton being indicted in connection with having sensitive government information on a personal email server.
Joe Biden, as in vice president. He’s fresh enough for me.
Al Sharpton, on what fresh candidate he’d like to see if needed
When asked what fresh candidate he’d like to see jump into the Democratic race if Clinton were indicted, Sharpton said, “I think there’s a very fresh face around the corner in Joe Biden. Is that fresh enough for you?”
“I would think as far as we’re down in the process, you’d had to have someone who could unite the party quickly,” he said.
Sharpton later added Secretary of State John Kerry, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and House Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn of South Carolina to his list.
“I think that a candidacy by Elizabeth Warren would be electrifying,” he said. Warren is a Massachusetts senator.