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Chitown Kev

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Member since: Thu Aug 20, 2015, 08:59 PM
Number of posts: 2,197

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Why isn't Bernie Sanders' economic message resonating in Michigan?

Here's an interesting read this morning.


Susan J. Demas
Why isn't Bernie Sanders' economic message resonating in Michigan?

His economic message should be a slam dunk in our Rust Belt state. Sanders inveighs until he’s hoarse against free trade agreements like NAFTA, Wall Street robber barons and the growing gap between rich and poor.

Sanders is playing to folks who have suffered through a decade-long recession and watched helplessly as thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs were shipped overseas.

If the Vermont U.S. senator was going to win a big state, you'd think Michigan would be it.

But he’s still lagging well behind Hillary Clinton in polling averages. And it's not because Sanders has conceded Michigan. He's held a series of jam-backed, boisterous rallies and has blanketed the airwaves with ads.

Part of Sanders' problem is obvious: Clinton is a stronger candidate with deeper ties to the state. Her endorsement list is just about a mile long. I'm not a big believer that endorsements matter much, but it's worth noting when one candidate so thoroughly dominates the game. This belies the intense loyalty a lot of Michigan Democrats have to the Clintons –– relationships they've nurtured over several decades.

Contrast that to Sanders, who can boast of the quasi-blessing of eccentric Warren Mayor Jim Fouts and the endorsement of former U.S. Rep. Don Riegle, best known for being a member of the Keating Five.

I'm not aware that Sanders has spent much time in Michigan over the years, and apparently, his staffers haven't either. That was underscored by the campaign's recent announcement for a rally in "Anne Arbor." If you can't get the spelling right for the most liberal city in Michigan that's teeming with college students –– i.e. your base –– it's a pretty bad look for your candidate.

Sanders will probably continue to do well with young voters on Tuesday. But the question is: How many in this historically unreliable demographic will show up? It's also worth noting that Michigan has voter restrictions that hit college students particularly hard.

Sanders also can't seem to break through with African-Americans, who could be 30 percent of the state's Democratic primary electorate. Clinton is winning 70 to 80 percent of these voters in polls.

She was first out of the gate on the Flint water crisis, and her passion is appreciated by voters (who don't give a fig about Republicans whining that she's "politicizing" the situation). It's not that Sanders is ignoring Flint. He held a somber event there and has repeatedly demanded for GOP Gov. Rick Snyder to resign.

But Clinton is a known quantity. She's trusted. She wins on the electability question, especially with Democrats nervous about the unpredictability Donald Trump would bring as the GOP nominee and the specter of Antonin Scalia's Supreme Court seat remaining unfilled until 2017.

And Sanders has misstepped with stunts like tweeting out pictures of abandoned Detroit buildings with the caption: "The people of Detroit know the real cost of Hillary Clinton's free trade policies." Now there are myriad reasons for Detroit's blight problem, which started long before Clinton was running for president (or her husband). Democratic voters are smart enough to know that. That's why there's been a strong backlash.

Sanders may turn out be his own worst enemy. Rank-and-file Democrats in Michigan love his economic message –– especially union members. But time and time again, I've heard voters complain that they feel like the senator is yelling at them and hectoring them.

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 now on to the hot topic right now. Why isn’t Sanders message resonating with black voters? It’s 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 it’s anything is a viral message machine. The very fact black voters don’t know a lot about him AND aren’t trying to learn about him is an issue in of itself. The main reason Sanders message hasn’t resonated is, in my opinion, a communication problem. The candidate and the campaign’s answers to points that black voters raise about aren’t 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 “Sanders comes from a very white state”?

This one issue is the most misunderstood by Sanders supporters. The TRUST issue isn’t that black voters think he is a liar, or won’t try to do what he says, it’s 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 hasn’t had to face down truly hardcore Tea Party Confederate loving conservative bigots. The feeling is that there aren’t many of them in Vermont, progressive white Vermont.

So even if many black voters thought Sanders’ policies are better, they haven’t been sold on how his “political revolution” is going to materialize. Obama won big in 2008 and he was obstructed mercilessly. There is a general feeling that it’s 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 weren’t 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 it’s great to point out Sanders did fight those battles, and yes everyone is thankful he did it. But constantly raising that he did isn’t really doesn’t address the core of the misgivings, “how’s he going to fight these battle in the South?” 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 “your” party, because it’s 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) Sanders’ campaign has done a poorer job selling how his policies will address the specific needs of black communities.

Let’s 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 don’t have the money to removed most of them, and the GOP run states won’t help. You want “shovel ready project?” 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 hasn’t Sanders focused on this issue? With his general talk of infrastructure spending, Black middle class voters just don’t 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 “will be going to big construction corporations” (and that doesn’t mean us). So why doesn’t the Sanders’ campaign sell directly the benefits of something like removing housing?

Let’s 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 doesn’t 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.

Let’s 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 doesn’t 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 “universal” 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 Sanders’ “wheelhouse”. 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 isn’t 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, I’m 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 haven’t built up strong relationships, speaking too much comes across as “preaching” not learning.

Sanders also needs understand that while the Black Live Matter movement is a very important issue to black voters but it’s still just A single (very important) issue. #BLM activist are an important part of his “revolution brand” but having them on board, shouldn’t 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. It’s one thing to advocate for your candidate, it’s another to try and fire up your supporters; but by misleading people into think there isn’t a messaging and communication issue with the Sanders campaign and black America directly hurts his campaign. It clearly wasn’t a “they don’t know him” or we’re “winning younger African American voters” from the data. When you don’t acknowledge you have a problem you can’t work to solve it. Furthermore when voters are expressing misgivings, and you don’t 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 doesn’t 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.

That’s 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.

Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them)

I am publishing this new Daily Kos post by my friend, dopper0189, in GD as opposed to GDP because it is really not intended to be a "rox/sux" type of post but is an effort in education about how and why black voters vote the way they do.

I will post two excerpts from this very, very long, detailed, and comprehensive piece which, perhaps, communicates things a little better than I ever did.



Why black voters vote the way they do? (and advice on how to win them)

I’ve been a member of Daily Kos for many years, and over the years I’ve generally stayed away from meta wars. That is I avoid them, until I think the fights are reaching a point where they’re damaging to this site, the party, or the progressive movement. In this case I see two sides arguing, with little attempt to find common ground. Because the argument is now over black voting patterns, I think I have a lot to add.

Before I begin let me give some of you who don’t know me some background. I’ve done GOTV (Get Out The Vote) work for over 20 years, with a focus on minority voters. I’ve done GOTV focused on black voters in; largely black areas (Detroit, Flint), in mixed areas (largely Massachusetts and phone banked in Connecticut) as well as largely white areas (New Hampshire). Over the years I’ve worked both a number of primaries and general elections. Just to be clear by GOTV, I mean I’ve done door knocking, drive to the poll, cold calls, etc. That means I’ve had to deal with convincing people face to face to vote for a candidate. I’m not saying I know everything, but I’ve had to do more than convince true believers to vote. I’ve had to work with both the indifferent and the hostile.

Now, of course issues like healthcare, the economy, war and peace, and taxes play as big a role in the black community as it does in America at large. This discussion is more a list of the special voting considerations. But I feel there is a basic HUGE misunderstanding of the black vote on places like Daily Kos. But I’ll give a few key points.


Repeat that to yourselves several times a day if you’re doing GOTV. The black poverty rate is ~27% compared to the white rate of ~11%. So yes because the black poverty rate is high, black voters tend to care a lot about poverty alievement. But that also means 73% of black voters DON’T live in poverty, the ghetto, or whatever other term is casually thrown around. If you assume most black voters live in poverty, you’ll very much insult your target audience. The plurality of black people around 42% are working class, and more black’s, ~30% are middle class than poor.

As of the 2010 Census, black households had a median income of $32,068. 15.2% of black households earn an income between earn between $50,000 and $75,000, 7.6% earn between $75,000 and $100,000, and 9.4% earn more than $100,000. In other words in 2010 (still in the heart of the recession) 32% of black households made $50,000 or more annually. As of 2010, the poverty rate among African Americans was 27.4%. In other words more blacks are middle class than poor.

Far too many discussion begin with the assumption that black voters are overwhelmingly poor. Yes there is a much larger wealth gap than there is an income gap, but most blacks aren’t poor. Further more since voting rates strongly correlates with education and income it stands to reason black voters are generally even wealthier than the statistics I listed above.


Poor black people living in segregated areas feel like they are being kept in an open jail by police heavy handed patrols. Middle/working class folks feel they have done the “right thing” stayed out of trouble, working, got educated and still are being harassed. The two issues may seem to outsiders to be the same, but they aren’t.

Think of the difference between Ferguson and Professor Henry Louis Gates. The anger generated from both was about racism, but the origins of the anger actually come from two different places. One is a battle to stop police from terrorizing an entire community, one is a battle for police to respect individuals who have earned their way into the middle class.


In general most blacks view people racism as being on a gradient. On one end you have the KKK on the other you have a Saint, but realistically most people fall somewhere in between. Racism isn’t pregnancy, where you either pregnant or you’re not. So statements like I don’t have a “racist bone in my body,” just doesn’t mean much. Everyone has or said something racist in their life (yeah that includes black people). Also we recognize that people can have been more racist in the past, but are less racist now.

White people are for more likely to try and make statements like “I’m not a racist”. Black people generally just don’t view racism as a binary condition. Granted this is a generalization, but it’s a good rule of thumb.


There is a historical feeling that many white Democrats have always just shown up at the black churches 2 weeks before the election and then aren’t seen again. There are also long standing bitter feelings that white Democrats haven’t helped black Democrats with fundraising to the level that would help them become viable statewide candidates. This is particularly a major issue with the black political establishment, and this feeling trickles down. Wrapped up in this is a feeling of a lack of respect. So telling black voters some variation of “if you knew what is good for you, you would support candidate X” usually turns black voters off. This especially true if black voters feel the person saying this hasn’t been invested long term in the black community. There is almost invariably a backlash of “who are you?” “Just showing up” and “preaching”. When you have not bothered to build relationship to the community you get ignored with the quickness.

Speaking of long term relationships, Black middle class voters especially care about the support of black establishments like the HBCU schools (The 105 historically black colleges and universities ). Places like Howard University etc, still supply something like 40% of all black doctors, they have been badly underfunded compared to comparable white schools. If this issue isn’t on your radar, you should get familiar with it.

There's so much more to this, do surf over and read the entire piece.

Again, I come in peace.

WANTED: More sideeye pics and GIFs

'Cause I have a feeling that I'll be needing them.

Just put em' R-A-T here.

I might have a sideeye pic or GIF that interests you. Trades are accepted, desired, and appreciated.

So now it's that black folks won't vote for Sanders because they are anti-Semitic? (UPADTED)


Enough is enough. If you have something to say it, say it directly"

Yes, I have seen the “artful smears” and “innuendos” around here for some time. In fact, I was directly accused of being anti-semitic.

People seem to have forgotten that Joe Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000 and that the Democratic ticket won ~90% of the African-American vote.

Do you even know who this next guy is?

His name is Steve Cohen.

He is currently the House Rep for the 9th Congressional District in Tennessee, a seat once held by Harold Ford, Sr. and Harold Ford, Jr.

In fact, Cohen defeated Harold Ford’s younger brother, Jake (who ran as an independent) to win that seat in 2006.

Cohen has repeatedly defeated African American Democratic challengers in order to maintain that seat.

The voters in the 9th Congressional (which includes Memphis) have repeatedly voted for Cohen in spite of the fact that the support of black clergy in the 9th Congressional has been lukewarm, at best.

And yes, anti-Semitism has been an issue in some of Cohen’s previous campaigns...and black voters have paid it no mind and voted for Cohen anyway.

The racial/ethnic demographics of Tennessee’s 9th Congressional speak for themselves:

36.1% White, 59.7% Black, 1.5% Asian, 3.0% Hispanic, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% other

(FTR, Rep. Cohen has endorsed Hillary Clinton.)

I say all of this to say, don’t you dare even attempt to fix your mouth to blame Bernie Sanders inability to attract black voters on anti-Semitism in the black community.

I don't come here every day, I was not aware that an entire OP was devoted to the insinuation


An OP that contained these comments:


I'm warning you...if I have to spend more time doing an exhaustive job of tracking down these OP's and comments, I will not be a happy man.

"certain core constituencies", indeed...if that ain't a dog-whistle, then I don't know what is.

Interesting comments from Sanders in Minnesota


Sanders spent the day on Saturday outside South Carolina, campaigning at huge rallies in Texas and Minnesota, Super Tuesday states the Sanders campaign hopes will give him a large number of delegates next week.

“There’s no way we are going to lose Minnesota,” Sanders said to the cheering crowd. “I can see that. You are just too smart.”

That's...very interesting.

I have a double feature for you

First up is bravenak.

Black People Don't Have To Explain Why They Vote Hillary

I was not going to bother saying anything.

But here goes:

This expectation that we black people have to explain ourselves to the satisfaction of white liberals is tiresome and demeaning. Do we ever go around and ask white people to give us an explanation that satisfies our desparate curiosity as to why they are not informed enough to vote for the people who we think are in their best interests? Do we constantly rail against the voting habits of the white population as if we are terribly concerned that their habit of voting republican is destructive to us personally? And if we did, would anybody have the slightest concern about our need to be satisfied with their answer?

This sudden concern for our incarceration, our poverty, our hurt feelings over some remark Hillary made twenty five years ago is remarkable and terribly transparent. The shallow nature of the concern from many is so noticeable that I find it hard to even read most diaries or articles written to appeal to blacks for Bernie.

The constant name dropping of halfway relevant black figures is almost heartbreaking. No matter how often we say it is offensive, we hear cries of ‘you don’t speak for all black people!!!’, from people who have no idea what is feels like to be black.

I would answer your queries, but honestly it has been answered a million times, by hundreds of thousands of black people, and if it is not understood by now, it never will be.

The paternalism of those we call allies, who rant and rage and lash out on us with a mighty fury, ‘for our own good!’, to help us desperate, uneducated, ignorant, uninformed, needing of their guidance souls, become as enlightened as they and finally, finally by GOD vote in what they know, from their pedastal of progressive purity, is in ‘OUR BEST INTERESTS!’ is demeaning and horror inducing. See, they know much better than our dense, weakminded selves what is best for blacks. They remind us day after day how much they know about what we should think, do and want, and how we should vote. How could they not?

That is the answer.

And on the backend is yours truly.

I hate to say that I told you so...

In a 12/1/15 Black Kos commentary, I concluded:

While policies, platforms and legislative votes are historically important (prerequisites, in fact) to black voters, the popular support of Roosevelts (or at least Eleanor) and the Clintons (for all of their faults and policy shade) in black communities illuminate a indispensable maxim for attaining the black vote: It is much less important for us (black people) to get to know you (the candidate) than for you to get to know us.

That statement was nothing more and nothing less than what many black Kossacks (even those that support Bernie Sanders) had been saying for months.

It appears that the last time that Bernie Sanders had much (if any) contact with black communities would be in the 1960’s.

That has nothing to do with endorsing Jesse Jackson in Vermont 1984 and 1988.

That does not have much to do with whatever votes he may have made as a Congressman supporting my community.

It is ludicrous for Bernie Sanders to expect that he would be able to get the levels of support that will apparently need after being physically ​absent from out communities for 50 years only to come back for a vote.

I don’t understand why this is so hard for Bernie Sanders supporters to understand

Black folks are going to smell that from a mile away.

Let me add a note for some of the Clinton supporters here: I would not go around spiking the football as some of you have been doing the past couple of days. You don’t want to do that to yourself because this black man, this black voter (early voting in Illinois begins on Monday) really ain’t feeling Hillary Clinton at all.

Much shade is being thrown, I assure you.

It's good to be back.

Question submitted by Chitown Kev

The text of this question will be publicly available after it has been reviewed and answered by a DU Administrator. Please be aware that sometimes messages are not answered immediately. Thank you for your patience. --The DU Administrators

No refuge over here at DU, either?

...and I thought that DK was pretty bad, LOL

May as well prepare for the avalanche of a whole lot of "thinly veiled" bullshit that should start pouring in in about ~24 hours.
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