• Sun. Nov 29th, 2020

Barack Obama and LeBron James are joining forces in a late push to increase Black voter turnout.

Former President Barack Obama will continue his efforts to increase Black voter turnout ahead of the election, including an interview with the basketball star LeBron James set to be published this week.

Mr. Obama joined Mr. James for the interview as a part of the athlete’s More Than A Vote initiative, according to sources familiar with the event. More Than A Vote, the collective of athletes led by Mr. James, has focused its political efforts on issues like limiting misinformation among Black voters and increasing poll workers in Black communities.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Mr. James said he cared more about seeing Black turnout increase than President Trump’s removal.

“You can see it every time. Who didn’t vote? What counties didn’t vote? What communities didn’t vote? And a lot of that has had to do with our Black people,” Mr. James said. “So, hopefully, we can get them out and educated and let them understand how important this moment is.”

Mr. Obama’s efforts to increase turnout come as some Democrats worry that Black voters, and specifically Black men, could back Mr. Trump in greater numbers in this year’s election. National polling shows Mr. Biden with a healthy lead over Mr. Trump heading into the campaign’s final days. However, the same polling shows Mr. Biden with tepid numbers for a Democrat among Black voters, traditionally one of the party’s most loyal constituencies.

In recent stops for Mr. Biden’s campaign, Mr. Obama, the nation’s first Black president, implored Black voters to support his former vice president. Black voter turnout reached record highs in 2012, when Mr. Obama won re-election, but fell in key swing states for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

In addition to his interview with Mr. James, Mr. Obama also has spoken with Black men in Philadelphia and recorded a video message for the Shade Room, a media company whose social media and pop culture sites are popular with young Black Americans.

In Philadelphia this week, Mr. Obama spoke directly to Black men.

“What I’ve consistently tried to communicate this year, particularly when I’m talking to young brothers, who may be cynical of what can happen, is to acknowledge to them that government and voting alone is not going to change everything,” Mr. Obama said. “But we did make things better.”