2020 Dems Recognize Women of Color
2020 Dems Recognize Women of Color
The “She the People” presidential forum was held in Houston, Texas. Billed as “the first-ever Presidential candidate forum focused on women of color”, it gave the candidates an opportunity to engage women of color on hot button issues. Who won the evening, and who needs Social Justice remediation?
The list of participants is important, but so is the list of those candidates not in attendance. Most notably, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, and Pete Buttigieg. Considering their top tier status in the media their absence is surprising. Gillibrand has been very vocal about women’s issues in the military, and abortion access as healthcare. Pete Buttigeig seems to be everywhere in the news cycle.
The candidates attending is no surprise. They are reliable as the 3 AM table of drunks at Denny’s. When an event can highlight their awesome level of “Wokeness”, they’ll show up. In no particular order: Booker, Harris, Beto, Warren, Sanders, Castro, Klobuchar, and Gabbard.
“She the People”, founded by Aimee Allison in 2018. Its purpose,
“to change political considerations of presidential campaigns. We want to change the dynamic that women of color had been taken for granted for decades. Savvy campaigns understand the role of women of color . . . those are the ones that are positioned to be successful. They are campaigning directly to the most loyal Democrats.”
Black female voters feel taken for granted by Democrats. They are right. For decades the Democrats have come calling with promises of change, only to leave their supporters high and dry. They campaign hard in the black communities, but legislate to the unions and big Democrat supporters. The surprise is that it’s taken this long for smart women to act. Donna Edwards writes in the Washington Post,
The numbers clearly show that the real juice for Democrats rests with women of color. No candidate can ignore black women in the primary season and still hope to engage them after winning the party nomination — that won’t fly. Black women are the most reliable base of the Democratic Party. To win this base in the primary, and then fully mobilize it in a general election, the candidates will need to listen to the women. In 2020, some may write off identity politics, but for many women/women of color/black women, identity is politics.”
She the People PAC is an offshoot of PowerPAC, a social justice organization with the goal of,
… conducting research and analysis on the political landscape, and identifying critical social justice issues to bring more voters – particularly voters of color – into the political process. From there, PowerPAC directs financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and other campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics.”
A PAC within a PAC, and hyper-focused on “social justice issues.” Identity politics on a Master level, focusing on making new Democrats. Because only Democrats can have social justice awareness! Oh, and Trump is a racist. So therefore everyone not a Democrat is a racist too. Thankfully we have Beto tempering the “expectation” of getting the Black Female vote,
their support is “not something that I’m owed, not something that I expect” but “something that I fully hope to earn by the work that I do on the campaign trail.”
He virtue signaled about Black women in politics that he has learned from — including Houston U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee. Beto made sure that his support for the bill studying reparations was known to the audience.
How did the participants fare? Elizabeth Warren was noted as the best prepared, and engaging. From the New York Times,
Senators Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders all spoke, as did Representative Tulsi Gabbard, former Representative Beto O’Rourke, and the former housing secretary Julián Castro. But the star of the afternoon was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who received a standing ovation and was singled out by multiple attendees afterward. They cited the specificity and thoroughness of Ms. Warren’s answers”
Some attendees the feel that,
Ms. Warren “hit it out of the park, to be honest,” said Alia Salem, the founder of Facing Abuse in Community Environments and former executive director of the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “She spoke with a lot of specificity, she had plans for everything, and I didn’t see anybody respond to the other candidates the way they responded to her.”
The other candidates fell into the groups of “gave standard answers.” Or in the case of Bernie Sanders, bad answers.
The best way to tell people you understand their perspective is the sharing of “this is my experience.” When caught unprepared for a question, Bernie did the most old white guy thing ever. He spoke of his relationship with a Black person. That it was Martin Luther Kind did nothing to prevent the rain of savagery from the vocal crowd. Neither did his reminder of supporting a presidential run by Jessie Jackson. He didn’t win any votes in this demographic with his trite responses. He did receive heckles and groans.
After getting called out for dodging specific questions about minorities, Bernie reminds the audience he "marched with MLK".
He wags his finger at them.
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) April 24, 2019
Harris received applause for her response to incarcerations for minor drug offenses. This is particularly humorous considering that her time as a prosecutor was spent putting away people for minor drug offenses. I suppose reforming the Justice system late is better than never.
Booker did garner a positive response when he talked about climate change and the disproportionate impacts on people of color. Using major hurricanes in New Orleans and Houston is a heavily take on whom was affected. But it fit the narrative of the evening and he was rewarded with applause.
The unexpected stand out amongst the second tier was San Antonio Mayor, Julian Castro. He connected with a comment about his mother and grandmother who raised him.
“I grew up seeing both the struggles and the promise of two strong women of color, and I have dedicated my time in public service to making sure that people just like my mother and grandmother can do better in this country.”
It’s a sweet sentiment Julian, but having just returned from San Antonio… I don’t know that you need to be in charge of a country. Your city has a ways to go with it’s population of homeless people and “up and coming” buildings in the downtown.
This group of women was engaged, and vocal. It was energetic, and they held nothing back. Including uncalled for snarky remarks. Tulsi Gabbard received some heat from the audience,
“There are a lot of bad people in the world,” Gabbard began at one point. Then came the reply from a heckler: “You’re one of them!”
If future Democratic events are this interactive, CNN should break out of their ratings slump.
Bernie had a bad night. Fortunately for him, Joe Biden will announce his candidacy tomorrow, and bump off the negative press. Biden was supposed to announce today, but there was a “technical issue” with his video. I think the issue was “Don’t overshadow the largest reliable block of voters we have.”
I’m sad that Joe missed this event. It will be interesting to see the post-apology tour Joe interact with a large group of presumed supporters. Or are they?
LaTosha Brown, the co-founder of Black Voters Matter, said she was initially eager for Biden to enter the race but now sees “strong alternatives” to him.
“I’m over white men running the country,” Brown said. “I don’t know if him getting in changes the field. He has name recognition, but his strength is also his weakness. Who is his announcing going to surprise?”
She added: “To ignite the kind of base that needs to be ignited to beat Trump, I’m not sure he moves them.”
I agree with Ms. Brown. I don’t think Joe moves them. Unless he needs to better position them for a neck rub.
The 2020 cycle is engaging and amusing. The candidates a motley cast of different characters. I look forward to watching them take off the gloves and duke it out. I have no horse in that party, so the entertainment value is exceptional. Unlike the 2016 cycle, there is no preordained candidate. The guy who was robbed of his ticket in 2016 is the bumbling backdrop in 2019. The rest of the candidates will use their youth (Beto), race, or gender to connect and draw support. The 2020 Democratic primary is shaping up to be a very accurate portrayal of the party over the last few decades. Old white guys paired off against young guns who use their identity as a reason to get ahead.
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