Several Black and Latino leaders are speaking out after reports former Vice President Joe Biden is vetting Amy Klobuchar as a possible running mate.
Frequent MSNBC guest Tiffany Cross “#YouOweUs and, if true, this feels disrespectful”
— @tiffanydcross (@TiffanyDCross) May 21, 2020
CNN commentator Angela Rye wrote “Tell your sources this is a miserable, terrible, no good, ROYAL f*ck up.”
Per Newsweek, two days before Super Tuesday, NAACP Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter activists protested Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar’s rally before it began over her involvement with the murder conviction of a black teen. Klobuchar canceled the rally. The next day, unable to curry enough support nationwide, she ended her campaign for president, looked into a television camera from Dallas, and told her home state of Minnesota to support former Vice President Joe Biden.
Now Biden is formally vetting her to be his vice-presidential running mate. That doesn’t sit well with minority voters. According to groups and leaders of color, including immigration activists, the selection of Klobuchar would mean Biden is taking voters of color for granted—after black voters resurrected his campaign—to prioritize Midwestern moderate white voters.
“She would be a reckless choice” said Aimee Allison, whose group She The People held a presidential forum last year at historically black Texas Southern University that Klobuchar attended. “We need women of color to be excited about a candidate and she doesn’t capture our hopes and dreams.”
Jessica Morales Rocketto, political director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, said the Minnesota senator is incapable of providing what Biden needs. “The idea that Amy Klobuchar could speak to an anti-Trump vision, and what motivates his base like immigration, racism, or xenophobia is patently laughable.”
Klobuchar’s campaign representatives declined to respond to Newsweek’s request for comment.
Progressive groups are privately mulling releasing a letter making it clear their firm belief that Klobuchar should not be in the running for the vice-presidential role, Newsweek has learned. During the primary, she struggled with voters of color, receiving 3 percent from black voters and 6 percent from Latino voters in Nevada, and only 1 percent support from black voters in South Carolina. Polling firm Latino Decisions found, however, that choosing a Latina VP nominee like Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto would make Hispanics 72 percent more likely to vote for Biden. In their focus groups, Latino Decisions found that Hispanics want someone who represents an acknowledgment from the Democratic Party that it is diverse.
Accusations that Klobuchar sought stiff sentences as a prosecutor—except in the case of police shootings—have followed her within the black community, who feel she had the backs of white cops, but not theirs.
Nekima Levy Armstrong, a Minnesota civil rights attorney, who protested Klobuchar, told Newsweek she has “serious reservations” about her as vice president “given her role in the overrepresentation of people of color in our criminal justice system in Hennepin county in Minnesota” and “failure to hold law enforcement officials accountable for shooting and killing African-Americans during her time as prosecutor.”
In 2002, Klobuchar prosecuted the case that put Minnesota teen Myon Burrell behind bars for life in the death of an 11-year-old black girl named Tyesha Edwards. But a year-long Associated Press investigation found major inconsistencies in the case that included no gun, DNA or fingerprints. Klobuchar asked for an independent investigation into the case in March 2020 after meeting with Burrell’s family, which was supported by NAACP national president Derrick Johnson and Leslie Redmond, president of NAACP Minneapolis.
On immigration, activists feel Klobuchar was among a group of moderate Democrats that wasn’t there for them during the 2018 shutdown fight. And in 2000, a judge in a welfare fraud case during Klobuchar’s time as prosecutor, gave a 364-day sentence to an undocumented immigrant so he wouldn’t be deported. Klobuchar’s office instead lobbied for a two-day extension and the man left the country.
“Her track record tells us she’s definitely missed the mark in being a champion for immigrants,” said Cristina Jimenez, executive director of United We Dream, who informally advised Biden’s campaign on immigration last year.
And then there are the gaffes. She couldn’t name the Mexican president when Telemundo asked, suggesting to some a lack of seriousness when it comes to the United States top trading partner. Klobuchar also drew criticism for an attempt at solidarity that many perceived as pandering when she told the majority Latino, immigrant and women-influential Culinary Union in Nevada that her nickname in Spanish class was Elena.
Former members of her own campaign staff acknowledged their former boss had trouble appealing to voters of color, calling it a “weakness” and a “blind spot.”
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