In a few hours, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will make his case for the presidency at a Morehouse College arena before exactly the crowd he needs to thrive in the South: Young black voters.
Exit polls in Iowa and New Hampshire show Sanders has an overwhelming edge over Hillary Clinton with college students, but this audience could be a harder sell.
Clinton’s campaign sees historically black colleges, like Morehouse, as a bastion of support in the Feb. 27 South Carolina primary and the votes in Georgia and other Southern states that follow on March 1.
Which is why Clinton’s campaign featured Tyra Beaman, a member of the Spelman Students for Hillary group at Spelman College, on an organizing call. She joined other African-American leaders, including state Rep. Carolyn Hugley and Michael Sterling, the head of Atlanta’s Workforce Development Agency, to highlight Clinton’s economic policy.
The crowd that gathers at Morehouse tonight will hear Sanders’ call for a “political revolution” that includes a promise of tuition-free higher education that enthralled crowds in Iowa and New Hampshire. Consider Beaman’s view a counterpoint to the message they will hear tonight.
“Students understand we need a woman in office. We understand that Secretary Clinton is the one who is dedicated to ensuring that women are empowered and that we have the opportunities to move throughout our lives without these issues of inequity,” she said. “What I’m feeling is that students get that. We’re ready for a woman to be president.”