His is not a name that races to voters’ tongues when they’re asked who are America’s top three black political leaders.
Barack Obama would surely roll off quickly, since he twice ran for president and twice won the White House.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson likely would be the No. 2 guess, quickly followed by another preacher man — Al Sharpton.
Republicans would likely name Tim Scott, the junior senator from South Carolina, while Democrats take a deep breath and mouth the names of two other senators, California’s Kamala Harris and New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who is Twitter royalty when it comes to millennials and longtime social media plug-ins.
On the House side, Trump adversary Rep. Maxine Waters would be recalled, too, and some women name Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District’s nonvoting delegate in Congress, if the buzzer doesn’t go off after several minutes.
And Jim Clyburn? Rep. James E. Clyburn? The South Carolinian and staunch liberal who strayed only to oppose partial-birth abortion?
Who Bill Clinton blamed for Hillary’s 29-point defeat to Mr. Obama in the 2012 South Carolina primary? (Bill was so incensed at Hill’s loss that he chewed out Mr. Clyburn in a heated phone conversation and called Mr. Clyburn a bastard.)
Mr. Clyburn explains it all in his 2014 memoir, “Blessed Experiences: Genuinely Southern, Proudly Black.” In it he writes, “How could I ever look in the faces of our children and grandchildren had I not voted for Barack Obama?”
Endorsements and vote-counting are again at the forefront of the Democrats’ agenda as they begin the jaunt toward midterm elections.
But guess what? Of all the voices and leaders and forums that could lay out a semblance of how the Democrats can retake Congress without claiming a blue wave, Mr. Clyburn grabs the brass ring.
The winning road map is simple. 1.) Dems cannot win without the black vote; 2.) Dems shouldn’t rely on anti-Trump sentiment; 3.) Dems must advertise in the black newspaper.
Now, The Washington Times is not a black newspaper. I am a member of the black press, though, and blacks do subscribe to our paper and view our website.
As for what else Mr. Clyburn sees in his crystal, get this: As the No. 3 in House Democratic leadership, behind House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, he envisions a run the House speaker’s post if the Democrats recapture the House in November.
“I have always supported her [Mrs. Pelosi],” Mr. Clyburn told Stacy M. Brown at BlackPressUSA.com, “but I have always remembered a sermon I heard my father give a number of times.
“That sermon stayed with me, and he said, ‘Keep your lamps trimmed and burning to be ready when the bridegroom comes.’ My point is, I’ve never forgotten that sermon, so I keep my lamp burning so I’m ready,” Mr. Clyburn said.
James Clyburn, 78, might be an unknown to many American voters. However, he’s no political wallflower.
He’s proven as much to Bill and Hill, and he has proven himself a man among women and men within House caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus, whose annual confab is set to begin on Sept. 12.
The black woman who used to aid President Trump may or may not be around. Nonetheless, Mr. Trump needs to find someone else to tell him what black voters are up to (tape recordings not allowed).
• Deborah Simmons can be contacted at [email protected].
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