DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES TO PARTICIPATE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM FORUM
The Democratic frontrunners at the fourth Democratic debate in Ohio earlier this month. Photo Credit: Reuters.
Nine Democrats seeking their party’s presidential nomination in 2020 will participate in a criminal justice forum in South Carolina this weekend.
The event was originally going to feature the 10 leading candidates, including Senator Kamala Harris, who dropped out to protest an award given to President Donald Trump at the event on Friday.
Reuters reports that the forum at the historically black Benedict College in Columbia will be an important showcase for Democrats ahead of South Carolina’s primary on February 29, the party’s fourth state nominating contest, and the last to come before Super Tuesday.
The forum will also be an opportunity for candidates to deliver their message to primarily black voters, a crucial constituency they need to tap into if they want to win their party’s nomination. Six in 10 Democratic voters in the state are black.
Sponsored by the 20/20 Bipartisan Justice Center, the forum is aimed at reforming the criminal justice system after Trump signed last year bipartisan legislation that instituted a number of changes, including easing harsh minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, one of the frontrunners in the primary race, enjoys a comfortable lead in South Carolina over main competitors Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, due to his close association with former president Barack Obama, the first-ever black president and a popular figure in the Democratic Party and with black voters all over the country.