Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced her intent to enter the 2016 presidential race, but a coalition of African American loyalists are urging Clinton to toss her hat into the ring.
Former Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Seton Hall Professor Mark Alexander, who worked on the Obama campaign in 2008, have created an African American outreach initiative to encourage black Americans to support Clinton. Their efforts are part of “Ready for Hillary,” a national super-PAC designed to raise money for Clinton and mobilize voters around a potential Clinton candidacy.
The coalition’s goal, according to Program Director Quentin James, is to engage the black community in barber shops and beauty salons across the country. The group also plans to share their message about Clinton on the campuses of historically black colleges to galvanize young voters.
“Whether in her days as First Lady of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, or as a United States Senator and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has always prioritized issues of importance in the black community,” James said on a conference call with reporters.
“Our sole purpose is to convince her,” James said. “We are an outside grass roots organization pushing her to run for office.”
The black mobilization effort comes as two recent polls show Clinton as a clear frontrunner with sizable leads over potential opponents. A Washington Post poll gave Clinton a 60-point lead over Vice President Joe Biden, her nearest rival for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
“Clinton isn’t just leading in early polling; she’s dominating to an extent that only incumbents have achieved in the modern era,” the Post reported.
And in a CNN/ORC poll, Clinton leads scandal-plagued New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by 16 points, 55 percent to 39 percent of the vote among registered voters.
Polls matter and even though Clinton has not indicated whether she will run for president, Alexander said his group is prepared to spring into action if, and when, Clinton rallies the troops.
“We are individuals who are trying to make sure that Hillary Clinton knows that she has tremendous support, an army of grass roots supporters behind her and that means she will know we can be activated the moment she makes a decision to run for president,” he said.