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Ahead of the South Carolina Primaries, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are both attempting to secure support from the African-American community.

On Tuesday, Clinton delivered a major speech in Harlem addressing issues of race, while Sen. Sanders kicked off an HBCU tour at Morehouse University with the support of Eric Garner’s daughter, Erica.

Wednesday on NewsOne Now, Roland Martin and an expert panel of guests discussed the current state of the race for the White House and the candidates’ outreach to Black voters.

NewsOne Now panelist and Republican Strategist Paris Dennard explained having presidential candidates vie for the African-American vote is “a good thing for Black Americans across the country.”

“I think they (Clinton and Sanders) should both engage actively” with Black voters, but on the other side of the presidential race, Republicans should be “equally as engaged” to secure African-American votes, he said.

“If you want to get the appeal to the demographic, you’ve got to do things and show up like other people say – not just two weeks or three months or six months before the election – you have to do it on a consistent basis and have a real strategy in plans and processes,” Dennard said.

He also believes the GOP has the right plan to attract Black votes, they just don’t seem to have “the right messenger who makes that a priority and does it.” 

Martin interjected that members of the GOP “won’t even talk to Black media.” He added, “They’re not even going to sit down with Black civil rights leaders and talk to Black folks,” so how will Republicans attract Black voters?

Martin went on to question whether there will be Black forum where presidential candidates can address issues important to the Black community. He said, “There has to be forum where Sanders and Clinton both are on stage and talking specifically about a plethora of issues dealing with Black people — education, housing, economics, criminal justice, not throw the one-off question.”

If you remember, the Black Lives Matter movement received a nod from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to host a presidential town hall focused on issues of racial justice.

This promise made by the DNC has yet to be fulfilled.

Watch Roland Martin and the NewsOne Now panel discuss presidential candidates attempting to secure African-American votes in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes. 


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Courting The Black Vote: Are Presidential Candidates Taking The Right Approach In Appealing To African-Americans?  was originally published on