Al Jazeera America Opinion Piece Says Hillary Clinton Should Stop Taking African American Voters for Granted
I’m not sure what motivated Raina Lipsitz, the author of the Al Jazeera America column below, to conclude this early in the 2016 Election Cycle that Hillary Clinton is taking the black community for granted. Nevertheless, she makes a few good arguments about Clinton’s record on policy issues that are important to African American’s and other people of color.
For example, the Clinton connection to the mass incarceration epidemic as well as the private prison industry will always raise questions for black people. I believe that’s why Hillary Clinton is outlining policies to help correct the mass incarceration problem. I guess that’s why according to Huffingtonpost.com, she recently pledged to ban the use of private prison companies if elected president, and stop accepting campaign contributions from corporations and the lobbyists who work for them.
Of course, like all voters, black people need to check the past policies of all candidates – Republican and Democrat – before casting a ballot. But, they also need to check why Raina Lipsitz is advocating for Hillary Clinton to stop taking blacks for granted. This message might resonate if it were coming from an authentic voice from the black community, perhaps someone working on issues important to African American’s or working in the community.
This article reads as talking points from Bernie Sanders. If that is the case, he or his team is out of touch if he thinks Ms. Lipsitz can write an article like this without providing any quotes from blacks who feel this way. Ms. Lipsitz is an excellent writer. If this is not a bad PR ploy as it appears, I will look forward to Ms. Lipsitz’s continued defense of the black community. Over time perhaps she could become a trusted, authentic voice.
By by Raina Lipsitz, Al Jazeera America – Conventional wisdom dictates that black voters love Hillary Clinton. But one recent poll has the Democratic presidential front-runner and former secretary of state down by 31 points among black Democrats since July.
Meanwhile, a frequent criticism of Clinton’s main rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, is that he doesn’t know how to connect with black voters. According to political strategist Luther Smith, “Sanders’ attitude is … ‘I am talking about the kind of things I think should be important to you, and if I am saying the right things on those policy issues, then you should naturally gravitate towards me’ … That is not how most people operate, but that is definitely not how black people operate.” While it is insulting to suggest that a candidate’s policy positions are irrelevant to black voters, it’s probably true that some portion of all voters prize style over substance.
But the assumption that Sanders can’t earn black votes is an example of the worst kind of smug, lazy political thinking. Clinton began a long campaign season with high polling numbers among black voters. But this has been driven at least in part by vastly higher name recognition than Sanders, which will not necessarily guarantee her the loyalty of black voters over time. Read the full opinion article here.