Double standards for 2020 Democratic hopefuls? You don’t say

OPINION — There is a particular line that stuck with me in the just-opened film “Queen & Slim,” about a black couple on the run after an altercation with a white police officer goes awry in the depressing and terrible way you might imagine. During their perilous road trip, in a quieter moment, he (a retail worker) asks her (an attorney) if she is good at her job. “I’m an excellent lawyer,” she replies, to which he answers with a question that’s really a statement: “Why do black people always got to be excellent? Why can’t we just be ourselves?”

Since the pre-mortems were written a bit ago, it’s time for a post-mortem on the presidential campaign of California Sen. Kamala Harris, who never seemed to quite discover who she was or at least convey authenticity and excellence to enough voters or donors to make a difference.

Buttigieg Seeks Black Voter Support as Presidential Race Shifts

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though his support has surged in early caucus and primary states Iowa and New Hampshire, 2020 Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg has low polling numbers in states with a more diverse voting base. In South Carolina, he is polling in the very low single digits, which is a step up from his former number of 0%. Though he has funds and momentum, the South Bend, Indiana, mayor might hit a wall in a party that depends on a strong African-American and Hispanic voting base.

Minority voters — African-American women in particular — were key in recent elections that turned Virginia state government blue and re-elected a Democratic governor in Louisiana after President Trump campaigned for his opponent. Can Buttigieg solve this problem and save his chances to be the nominee?

And what does it say about the 2020 race on the Democratic side, which started out with such a diverse group, now that California Sen. Kamala Harris has dropped out and the slate for the December debate has narrowed to top candidates who do not reflect that party’s racial diversity. (Mary C. Curtis)

Mary C. Curtis: Bloomberg, Impeachment

Michael Bloomberg says he knows what it takes to beat President Trump. Meanwhile, the House Judiciary Committee will hold its first impeachment hearing on December 4th. Political contributor Mary C. Curtis is covering it all.

Bloomberg, Biden, Buttigieg and the bunch apologize. Should black voters listen, forgive and vote?

OPINION — Of course, Michael Bloomberg went there — there being a black church to ask for forgiveness. As he tentatively dips his toe and his billions into the Democratic presidential race, joining a scrum that expands even as it shrinks, Bloomberg, perhaps realizing that the path to the presidency must include the enthusiastic support of black and brown voters, has rethought his enthusiastic support of “stop and frisk.”

“I got something important really wrong,” he told the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn on Sunday. “I didn’t understand back then the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities.”

As New York City mayor, Bloomberg insisted that in order to fight crime, police must have the power to stop anyone judged a potential lawbreaker, which translated to ritualizing a practice that humiliated hundreds of thousands of black and brown New Yorkers who were detained, questioned and patted down because of “furtive movements” or some other vague justification. The number of stops rose to more than 685,000 in 2011, with no citations made or charges brought nearly 90 percent of the time.

Pete Buttigieg tries to solve his South Carolina puzzle

[OPINION] ROCK HILL, S.C. — Why was South Bend, Indiana, mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg in South Carolina over the weekend, with a busy schedule that included tailgating at a historically black college homecoming and delivering remarks at an AME Zion worship service?

“To say that I want to be the president who can pick up the pieces, that we’ve got to be ready not just to defeat this president but to guide the country forward,” he confidently told me. “I have my eyes on that moment and what America’s going to need.”

It’s quite a tall order for a candidate polls show in single digits in the first-in-the-South primary, where he is still largely unknown to the African Americans who make up the majority of the state’s Democratic voters, even as his campaign coffers and Iowa poll numbers rise. In a weekend packed with public appearances, he and a diverse group of campaign workers and surrogates, including some from South Bend, were trying to catch up — and distribute those “African Americans for Pete” buttons.

Can church ever be separate from state at a Franklin Graham rally?

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After the Rev. Billy Graham became less a counselor of presidents and more a political player, particularly in the unfortunate case of Richard Nixon, he learned a lesson. The Rev. Franklin Graham, heir to his father’s legacy, has chosen a different path, arguably becoming as well known for his politics as for his role as a spiritual leader.

Considering his remarks as he brought his “Decision America” tour to his hometown this past weekend, it’s a box Graham the younger is not exactly comfortable being placed in. But for the preacher who credited the “God factor,” in part, for Donald Trump’s 2016 win, that narrative is set. Vocal support of the president pre- and post-election exists right alongside his philanthropic and mission outreach — such as recent efforts in the Bahamas — through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.

Before he took the stage, and as Christian musician Jeremy Camp warmed up the crowd, I asked Graham about where he stands and about the qualities he admires in Trump, who is making his own news as he battles an impeachment inquiry with increasingly rough and divisive language, on Twitter and at rallies, which is anything but Christian.

Democratic Debate Wrap: Any Game Changers?

CHARLOTTENC — A dozen democratic presidential candidates taking the stage in Ohio Tuesday night — in a critical debate that could reshape the race for the nomination.

Health care once again a major topic as well as the impeachment inquiry and President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria.

Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in on the debate and what it means for the race.

POLITICAL WRAP: Democratic Debate Preview; Franklin Graham in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – WCCB Charlotte Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis joins WCCB NEWS @ 6:30 to preview Tuesday night’s democratic presidential debate and talk about her interview with Franklin Graham, who visited Charlotte as part of his Decision America tour on Saturda

What Does the Dan Bishop Win Mean for 2020?

CHARLOTTE, NC — Republican Dan Bishop defeats Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th congressional district race, giving Republicans a narrow victory in the GOP-leaning district where Donald Trump won by 12 points in 2016.

Political contributor Mary C. Curtis discusses the results and what the win means for 2020.

Biden and Beto are like night and day — except when they’re potato-potahto

OPINION — It was a difference in styles and generations. In a Carolinas swing, first there was Beto O’Rourke with a town hall at a brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina — more like an informal gathering among many new friends. The next day there was Joe Biden with a large crowd at a historically black college in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

It was a day and a world apart last week, though in both cases, supporters uniformly praised a certain quality in their chosen candidate — authenticity.

Hopes for 2020 run high in these two states, and the stakes are real for both parties.