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Black Southern Voters Signaled Bloomberg Wipeout On Super Tuesday

Joy Reid knew three days before Super Tuesday that Biden would dominate the Black vote in the South, and even elsewhere. She tells an amazing church story to explain.
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Helping to anchor the news coverage late into Super Tuesday evening, when it became apparent Joe Biden was going to pull out sweeping victories in the South, and surprising, dominating victories elsewhere, too, Joy Reid told a fascinating story about a scene she witnessed that gave her the glimpse into this occurrence three days before it took place.

On that Sunday, March 2, at the commemoration of Bloody Sunday, which begins at Brown Chapel AME, Mike Bloomberg was there to speak. So was Joe Biden, but where they were seated spoke volumes about the difference in esteem with which the Black community held each candidate. After noting that Joe Biden was who most Black people preferred originally for this nomination, but had faltered a bit and been considering Bloomberg, once Elizabeth Warren scorched Bloomberg and sent him into the ether, and once Biden regained his footing, the Black community was solidly back behind Biden.

And then Joy Reid told this story.

REID: So now I just was down in South Carolina and in Selma, and there was a scene inside Brown Chapel AME that told me Biden's going to sweep this out. I knew he'd probably win the southern states but after that night I was like, oh, he's going to not just win, he's going to sweep. Biden is inside Brown Chapel AME, which is this revered church. You don't get on the pulpit. You don't get on the dais in a church like that.

RACHEL MADDOW: Slow down. Tell the story with as much detail as possible. I've never heard a more fascinating story.

REID: So Brown Chapel is where the march that went across the Edmund Pettus Bridge started. It's where they organized. In the Civil Rights Era, Black voters organized in churches. That's why Black churches got firebombed. That's why the 16th Street Baptist Church got firebombed. It's why when Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney got killed, they were organizing voters in a church, they were trying to investigate the fire bombing of it. That's why they were there, right? So churches are where Black voters always organize. Brown Chapel AME is revered in that sense. So Brown Chapel AME is where they do this ceremony to start off the commemoration of the march over the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It starts with a service in there. We're in that church.

The way that black churches work, you have to be invited to sit on the dais. Family sits on the dais, the pastor sits on the dais, the pastor's family, people who the pastor says can be up there. Biden was up there. Bloomberg was sitting in the audience. Bloomberg was stuck in the audience having to sit there and watch person after person stand up on that church. Reverend Sharpton was on the dais, that makes sense. Terri Sewell, Alabama Congresswoman, that's her home church. She gets up and says, basically, "This is Biden country. This is Biden's home." Biden gets to speak from the pulpit. Bloomberg does too, but he's in the audience. He's stuck there having to grimace and watch everyone laud this other person, laud this other candidate. He couldn't even leave because he would have had to cross across the pulpit to leave. It would have been completely disrespectful.

So he's sitting there grimacing. I'm mostly watching his face as he's just miserable. When he finally gets up to speak after, being laid into by the pastor about his policies against Black peoplel, stop and frisk, things like that, people turn their back on him in the church. That doesn't happen in churches. AME is a formal kind of church. When Biden gets up, nothing but love. He gets up and speaks. He turns to Reverend Sharpton and says, "You remember this and that, Rev? Pastor, you know we go back." He's got relationships. Bloomberg just had money. And when we got out on to the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Bloomberg was booed. He was heckled. People were chanting "stop and frisk." People weren't exactly eager to march next to him. This revered moment when Biden had left, he wasn't even marching. People who were already out, Pete Buttigieg marched, Amy Klobuchar marched. Elizabeth Warren marched. All these other people. But it was still Biden's home, and that means -- that told me, oh, Biden's going to win the whole South.

MADDOW: And indeed he not only has won it, he has won it resoundingly.

REID: Black voters said, you know what? That's nice. You want a revolution? The answer, no.

As usual, what the results of a big election was no surprise to the majority of Black people, who have done the research, put in the work, and have finer-tuned bullsh*t detectors than any other population group around. Like any group, they're not a monolith, and contain staggering layers of complexity, but they have learned to survive in white America better than most white Americans, so if they are telling us Joe Biden is who they think will beat Trump, it shouldn't shock anyone that Joe Biden won big on Super Tuesday.

This is part of our continuing coverage of the 2020 elections.

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