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Thu Mar 3, 2016, 11:49 PM

FYI- How Bernie Sanders (and future candidates) can better connect with black voters

Earlier today, my friend (and DK/Black Koseditor, actually) dopper0189 published a valuable piece essay titled "Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them)"

Earlier, I posted an OP in GD related to very general information on why black voters tend to vote the way that they do.

For the purposes of this forum, I will post the section of dopper's essay that specifically pertains to dopper's observations as to why Bernie Sanders continues to have trouble with the black vote.

Take it, leave it, cuss dopper0189 out, cuss me out for posting here, I'm simply passing it along.

SO WHY ISNíT SANDERSí MESSAGE RESONATING WITH THE MAJORITY OF BLACK VOTERS?

So now on to the hot topic right now. Why isnít Sanders message resonating with black voters? Itís not a lack of knowledge of him. If a message starts to resonate, people start to research the messenger AND spread that message, that creates a positive feedback loop. 24% of Twitter users are black, and Twitter if itís anything is a viral message machine. The very fact black voters donít know a lot about him AND arenít trying to learn about him is an issue in of itself. The main reason Sanders message hasnít resonated is, in my opinion, a communication problem. The candidate and the campaignís answers to points that black voters raise about arenít being answered correctly. Even worse the campaign and surrogates are often doing more damage than good with bad communication. What do I mean by not adequately addressing the questions being asked?

A) Why do black voters show more trust in Hillary than in Sanders? Is it because ďSanders comes from a very white stateĒ?

This one issue is the most misunderstood by Sanders supporters. The TRUST issue isnít that black voters think he is a liar, or wonít try to do what he says, itís more a question of how he is going to face down the Tea Party Neanderthals? Blacks are expressing worries that he comes from a state that is both very progressive and very white. The majority of POC still live in redstates (55% of blacks live in the South and by the way ~50% of Latinos live in red states like Texas and AZ or purple ones like FL, CO etc.) so there is a fear that he hasnít had to face down truly hardcore Tea Party Confederate loving conservative bigots. The feeling is that there arenít many of them in Vermont, progressive white Vermont.

So even if many black voters thought Sandersí policies are better, they havenít been sold on how his ďpolitical revolutionĒ is going to materialize. Obama won big in 2008 and he was obstructed mercilessly. There is a general feeling that itís easy being a liberal in Vermont but arguing for those issue in the South (as well as the rest of the country) is very different where race colors every political discussion. The infamous John Lewis statement was aimed at the feeling that Sanders unlike the Clintons werenít fighting the voting/Civil Rights battles in the South. Hillary registered Latino voters in Texas, she fought for blacks registering in Arkansas, and her and Bill both worked in Georgia. Bernie Sanders largely fought these Civil Rights battles in NYC and Chicago. Now itís great to point out Sanders did fight those battles, and yes everyone is thankful he did it. But constantly raising that he did isnít really doesnít address the core of the misgivings, ďhowís he going to fight these battle in the South?Ē is the question being asked. Many Sanders supporters are answering the direct question, and missing the fears behind the question. These supporters then feel frustrated that Sanders Civil Rights record is getting discounted. Its the wrong answer to the question.

If I was Sanders I would start talking about a return to the 50 state policy. But most importantly I would add in that I would personally make sure that I (Sanders) would personally work hard to make sure POC are part of that policy. Explicitly state that I want them part of my revolution. That would in my opinion be a more effective tactic. Yes, stop assuming that people will just invite themselves to ďyourĒ party, because itís not working. Promise to get the party to find and nurture AND support more POC progressive to win in state capitals and in statewide races.

Battling over who did what in 1960 is beside the point, and it does NOTHING to actually address the trust issue.

B) Sandersí campaign has done a poorer job selling how his policies will address the specific needs of black communities.

Letís look at Sanders infrastructure plans...

Sanders talk a lot about infrastructure but he is ignoring the biggest infrastructure need in most black communities. This is the need to remove abandoned housing and buildings. One abandoned house lowers the value of the other houses in the neighborhood by 10%, 2-3 and the values drop by 25%. Black working class neighborhoods and to a frightening degree middles class neighborhoods have inordinate numbers of abandoned houses, this has helped stunt the housing recover there. These empty houses breed crime (mostly drugs and prostitution) and are a major issue in most black neighborhoods. Cities donít have the money to removed most of them, and the GOP run states wonít help. You want ďshovel ready project?Ē focus on this issue. Sanders has credibility on infrastructure issues. This issue of abandoned building predates the housing crash and continues to be a key driver of the racial wealth gap. Why hasnít Sanders focused on this issue? With his general talk of infrastructure spending, Black middle class voters just donít see his spending plans as having direct benefit to them. Yes indirectly black working class voters see it as providing jobs, but many black voters think the majority of money ďwill be going to big construction corporationsĒ (and that doesnít mean us). So why doesnít the Sandersí campaign sell directly the benefits of something like removing housing?


Letís look at Sanders college tuition plans...

Bernie talks a lot about making college education affordable, very little about strengthening HBCUs. Making a college education free doesnít address the quality of schools. Public schools are free, and many inner city schools are bad.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. Hillary has been all over this issue for a reason. When people talk about reparations, people imagine black voters wanting direct cash payments from the government. In fact most realist black voters are thinking of redressing tangible injustices like this. Jim Crow governments intentionally underfunding these schools means they have far smaller endowments (and poorer alumni networks) than comparable schools. There is a reason only 6 of these 105 schools engage in major R&D (also cutting down on the number of black entrepreneurs). If I was advising Sanders I would have him take a look at this.



Letís look at Sanders college tuition plans...


Bernie talks a lot about making college education affordable, very little about strengthening HBCUs. Making a college education free doesnít address the quality of schools. Public schools are free, and many inner city schools are bad.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. Hillary has been all over this issue for a reason. When people talk about reparations, people imagine black voters wanting direct cash payments from the government. In fact most realist black voters are thinking of redressing tangible injustices like this. Jim Crow governments intentionally underfunding these schools means they have far smaller endowments (and poorer alumni networks) than comparable schools. There is a reason only 6 of these 105 schools engage in major R&D (also cutting down on the number of black entrepreneurs). If I was advising Sanders I would have him take a look at this.


So what would be my overall advice to Sanders?

Sanders should more specific on how your plans can directly address the specific concerns of black communities. Black voters have often felt that large programs billed as ďuniversalĒ have often overlooked their own communities. Being too broad is seen as ignoring them. So tailor your message and your programs to specific issues within the black community. Talk about removing abandoned houses, helping to adequately fund HBCUs, enforce stronger regulations against banks charging higher rates to buy homes in minority neighborhoods, etc. These issues are all in Sandersí ďwheelhouseĒ. He could and should speak to them with conviction, purpose, and authenticity. Sanders should change tactics on how to do events in black neighborhoods. Sanders normally does large energetic rallies, to do well in black neighborhoods he needs to do more small listening tours. There are hundreds of Tweets and post showing Sanders holding rallies on historically majority black universities and churches where the vast majority of the audience is white. This is a bad graphic. These images feeds a feeling that even when Sanders comes to black neighborhoods he isnít coming to address black voters and their specific needs. Sanders needs to hold much small events, speaking to small groups of black voters. Making them invitation only events if necessary (you can still have the larger rallies later that day). Make sure that these as billed as listening events. Make these not the rallies, your top event of the day. Yes, Iím sure Sanders has done some of these, but he needs to do a lot more, and make them more visible. He also needs to be seen as doing more listening and less talking. When you havenít built up strong relationships, speaking too much comes across as ďpreachingĒ not learning.

Sanders also needs understand that while the Black Live Matter movement is a very important issue to black voters but itís still just A single (very important) issue. #BLM activist are an important part of his ďrevolution brandĒ but having them on board, shouldnít be confused with him doing black outreach. It should be noted some activist like Cornel West actually hurt him with a majority of black voters (especially active black Democrats) with his attacks on Obama. Obama is the THE most popular political figure with black voters, and especially with black Democratic primary voters. Sanders needs to figure out a better role for Mr. West if he wants to win over black Democratic primary voters.

Finally I want to speak directly to Sanders online supporters. There is no polite way of saying this, stop with the skewing of polling data. Itís one thing to advocate for your candidate, itís another to try and fire up your supporters; but by misleading people into think there isnít a messaging and communication issue with the Sanders campaign and black America directly hurts his campaign. It clearly wasnít a ďthey donít know himĒ or weíre ďwinning younger African American votersĒ from the data. When you donít acknowledge you have a problem you canít work to solve it. Furthermore when voters are expressing misgivings, and you donít address them there is a negative reaction. Campaigns are about advocating for your candidate to voters. When a campaign has a communication issue a good advocate works to bridge that gap, not pretend it doesnít exist.

As I have written for some time Sanders is a great candidate, with great ideas, but hampered with a bad campaign strategy to reach black voters. Fixing that gap in his campaign is the difference between competing for the nomination and coming in a strong but distant second.

Thatís my two cents on the subject.



You can surf on over to the above link and read dopper0189's entire post and his suggestions.

I'm just a messenger here.

Thank you.

FYI: I was aware that Senator Sanders does have a specific financial plan for HBCU's. I will link to Sanders' specific plan in a few minutes.

I will also add formatting (bolding, links, etc.) as needed.

20 replies, 2568 views

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply FYI- How Bernie Sanders (and future candidates) can better connect with black voters (Original post)
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 OP
bravenak Mar 2016 #1
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #3
bravenak Mar 2016 #4
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #5
bravenak Mar 2016 #7
yodermon Mar 2016 #2
Number23 Mar 2016 #6
Name removed Mar 2016 #8
NurseJackie Mar 2016 #9
LWolf Mar 2016 #10
JaneyVee Mar 2016 #11
LWolf Mar 2016 #12
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #14
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #13
NCTraveler Mar 2016 #16
NCTraveler Mar 2016 #15
mmonk Mar 2016 #17
Chitown Kev Mar 2016 #18
mmonk Mar 2016 #19
LineLineLineNew Reply .
mmonk Mar 2016 #20

Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Thu Mar 3, 2016, 11:53 PM

1. Bookmarking because it's pretty perfect

 

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Response to bravenak (Reply #1)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:00 AM

3. dopper is a better diplomat than I am, I guess....no, I know.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #3)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:05 AM

4. Better than me too.

 

I get buck

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Response to bravenak (Reply #4)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:14 AM

5. In previous jobs

they have actually wanted me to train new people on how to use various of the systems...

Me as a trainer simply never works...I pick up on things very fast, I expect other people to do the same, then I get frustrated when they don't.

I have little patience.

Some of the points that dopper made, I have made multiple times; in fact, I'm sick of making them.
Maybe dopper's more diplomatic approach will be better received (it seems as if it is, to this point).

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:23 AM

7. I am the same way.

 

The only thing I can possibly teach anybody is stuff I'm not very good at. Because if I know my shit I lose interest quickly. Start seriously talking trash. I can imagine us trying to impatiently teach a classs, lol. Problably end up in a brawl.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Thu Mar 3, 2016, 11:59 PM

2. Great post

Thanks

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 12:18 AM

6. This is great.

but by misleading people into think there isnít a messaging and communication issue with the Sanders campaign and black America directly hurts his campaign.

Unfortunately for alot of people, it is much, much, MUCH easier to just blame Sanders' lack of deep, meaningful communication and connections with minority communities on Hillary, her "dirty tricks," the man in the moon, Stonhenge, the Abominable Snowman, EVERYTHING on earth but the man himself. And just like this OP says, doing this is not only lazy and completely idiotic, it is damaging.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)


Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 09:08 AM

9. This pretty much covers it. (Not that they'll read it, or care.)

Go, Hillary! We love you!


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Response to NurseJackie (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 09:16 AM

10. I read it. I care.

I also read Bravenak's explanation many months ago.

I've listened pretty carefully, as a matter of fact.

Please stop mischaracterizing us.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 09:19 AM

11. Also, Hillary has spent decades reaching out to black communities....

 

Bernie seems fairly new to this concept.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 09:40 AM

12. I appreciate this.

First, because it is civil.

I have to say that, while I'm listening and acknowledging, I can't really relate to the trust issue. I can't find any reason to trust Clinton, any Clinton, over Sanders on any issue, including issues of racial justice. I understand that PoC have had a very long time to develop distrust of ANY white politician, and may not give political trust easily. I just don't see, with a side-by-side look at decades of work, why Clinton would be more worthy of trust.

I also, like Sanders, value the democratic process, and I'm not going to suddenly start "hating" anyone for their vote. Like Sanders, I'm going to do my best, and if I lose, go back to the work from other directions and continue on.

I'm not trying to convince Black voters of anything. I learned that early on. I think Sanders can do a better job of that than I. If he can't win enough black votes, I don't think he's going to suddenly become a different man and give up on issues of importance to PoC. That's not his style.

I appreciate the article, and am going to read through it more carefully after work. I'm particularly interested in the abandoned housing issue. I've never really thought about it like this at all.

When I've thought about abandoned housing, I've thought about it from the lens of someone who wants affordable housing, wants to see NOBODY homeless, and would like truly affordable housing for all. I'm not bothered by low monetary value of homes. I'm appalled that places would stand empty, or we would tear them down, while some of our people don't have a place to live. I see it from the same lens I do health care; nobody's care should be limited by the almighty dollar, and nobody should be homeless because they can't find affordable housing. Would it be better to tear down empty housing, or move people who need housing into them?

This, to me, is something that perhaps could be explored in GD, separate from candidates and primary races. Just because I haven't thought of it from any other perspective doesn't mean I'm not willing to. Maybe we could all broaden our understanding of the issues we're not "getting" if we weren't fighting over candidates.







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Response to LWolf (Reply #12)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:23 AM

14. I did post a section of this in GD...I'll go give that a swift kick as well

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:21 AM

13. Kicking back up

I might do this a couple of more times.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #13)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:24 AM

16. Thank you for kicking. I didn't see this until you kicked it this morning. nt.

 

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:23 AM

15. Thank you for sharing this. Well worth the read for all. nt.

 

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Response to Chitown Kev (Original post)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:31 AM

17. Nobody can get around one of the world's biggest political machine's

mischaracterization of you. As Edward R Murrow pointed out in his attack against McCarthy, the fault does not lye in the stars, but in ourselves.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:39 AM

18. ????????

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:41 AM

19. You must be too far gone.

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Response to Chitown Kev (Reply #18)

Fri Mar 4, 2016, 11:59 AM

20. .

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