Deep cracks emerge in Biden’s firewall

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CHARLESTON, S.C. — His message is uninspiring. His ground game is flawed. After Iowa and New Hampshire, they’re no longer convinced he can beat Donald Trump.

Interviews with two dozen South Carolina lawmakers, consultants and voters here suggests there are deep cracks in Joe Biden’s firewall state, where his campaign expects to turn his misfortunes around with a robust victory that highlights his broad-based support — particularly among African Americans.

No one denies the state has an affinity for the former vice president to Barack Obama. Biden boasts endorsements from nearly 200 black South Carolina community figures and state legislators, a testament to his decades-long relationships with many leaders here. And he’s led in every single public poll in the state over the past year.

But his advantage has gradually eroded. In a state where African Americans cast 61 percent of the primary vote in 2016, a February Quinnipiac poll showed Biden’s support among African-Americans at 27 percent — a 22-point slip from before the Iowa caucus. While almost no one is willing to predict a Biden defeat here, many point to worrisome signs about the state of his campaign.

During a get-out-the-vote effort Wednesday in a North Charleston neighborhood just blocks away from Biden’s offices, members of the media rivaled the number of volunteers present. Some prominent black state leaders expected to be firmly in Biden’s camp have migrated to other campaigns, namely those of Tom Steyer and Bernie Sanders.

During a get-out-the-vote effort Wednesday in a North Charleston neighborhood just blocks away from Biden’s offices, members of the media rivaled the number of volunteers present. Some prominent black state leaders expected to be firmly in Biden’s camp have migrated to other campaigns, namely those of Tom Steyer and Bernie Sanders.

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