Survey groups tasked with studying the voting patterns of Black millennials found that many are unsatisfied with both options on the ballot for 2016, The New York Times reports.
And as the Democratic Party looks for the support of Black voters, who have historically voted for liberal leaning candidates in mass numbers, the skepticism of support surrounding Clinton presents an unprecedented challenge.
“We’re in the midst of a movement with a real sense of urgency, because the conversation that younger black voters are having is no longer one about settling on a candidate who is better than the alternative,” activist Brittany Packnett, 31, said in an interview with The Times.
The two organizations who pulled together to lend resources to the focus groups consist of “a joint ‘super PAC” between organized labor and the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, and a progressive group called Project New America,” according to The Times. The results were shared with the paper in a presentation put together by Cornell Belcher, a democratic pollster.
Voters at a series of focus groups centered in Ohio and Florida laid out their assessments of Clinton and Trump with honest perspective and biting critique.
“What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?,” a millennial Black woman from Ohio told The Times. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”
“He’s a racist, and she is a liar, so really what’s the difference in choosing both or choosing neither?” another young Black woman from Ohio said.
Clinton fails to connect with young Black voters for a variety of reasons; her public support of her husband’s crime bill and often times pitch perfect alignment with “boilerplate language,” creates an uncomfortable connection.
Aides for Clinton and democratic supporters are also worried about the results of a poll taken earlier in the summer indicating Clinton’s likability among young Black voters in key states.
In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, 70 percent of African-Americans under 35 said they were supporting Clinton, 8 percent voiced support for Trump, while 18 percent said they were voting for another candidate or did not know who they would support. In 2012, Obama won 92 percent of Black voters under 45 nationally, according to exit polls.
“Young people feel discouraged and apprehensive about the political process as is, and then they look at the two options in front of us,” said Christopher Prudhome, the head of a voting rights group. Speaking on Clinton he said, “Nobody has seen an agenda for African-American millennials. I don’t think they believe she cares about them.”
Critics also said that the method of voter outreach is outdated. Speaking to historically Black churches and universities is no longer the way to reach young Black millennials.
Candidates who want this group’s support will also have to realize the way to reach them is online and through activist based groups, whose leaders are becoming more and more diverse.“It’s not just heterosexual men,” Packnett said.
Trump, on the other hand, has challenges connecting because of tone-deaf language that paints Black voters and their communities as crime-ridden, economic wastelands. Coupled with support from White nationalists who have publicly spoken in favor of Trump and his policies, and Trump’s poll numbers remain low amongst Black voters.
The GOP candidate visited Great Faith Ministries International over the weekend, headed by Bishop Wayne T. Jackson in Detroit. The visit marked Trump’s first time in a Black church since he launched his campaign for presidency.
Trump, flanked by Omarosa Manigault and Ben Carson, spoke to the congregation in a 10-minute speech, but failed to address or apologize for his disparaging remarks aimed towards Blacks and minorities in recent weeks.
“I fully understand that the African-American community has suffered from discrimination and that there are many wrongs that must still be made right,” Trump said to the congregation. “For any who are hurting: Things are going to turn around. Tomorrow will be better.”
Later it was revealed that the questions and answers in a taped interview between Trump and Jackson were scripted. The interview is slated to air later this month on Jackson’s Christian TV network.
Parishioners of the church were divided in their views on Trump’s appearance at a service on Sunday. Some opened up their hearts with hospitality, while others said the visit was poorly timed and reached deep into pandering.
“We accept anybody,” said a female churchgoer. “We are kind of like an open church. Everybody is welcome to come.”
“I think he’s using the church,” a male member told The Times. “You can’t just change everything that you have been saying before and say something else and want me to believe that.”
SOURCE: The New York Times | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty