Experts Warn Democrats Need To Adjust Messaging To Black Men

Experts Warn Democrats Need To Adjust Messaging To Black Men

'These brothers don’t see themselves represented or cared about in the political space,' said one expert.

Ahead of the upcoming 2024 Presidential election, political campaign experts are warning that the lack of focus on issues affecting Black men could leave them feeling left out, and thus they could remain on the sidelines while others vote. According to The Hill, experts like Mondale Robinson, the founder of the Black Male Project, are issuing a caution flag.

“There’s never been a point where Black men’s issues were put front and center for any political party in a real way,” Robinson stressed to The Hill. “These brothers don’t see themselves represented or cared about in the political space. They don’t hear people screaming about what’s important to them.”

There is data to back up Robinson’s claim that Black men feel abandoned by the political discourse. According to a report conducted by the NAACP in September 2022, 41% of Black men surveyed felt that President Joe Biden was not doing enough to address the specific needs of the Black community. 

Furthermore, Black men and voters over 50 indicated that they had not felt the benefits of a Biden presidency. Abortion, which the Democrats have made a priority in recent years, is not as high for Black voters as others, such as inflation, gun violence, violent crime, or police brutality. This suggests that the messaging from the Democratic Party is in need of a tweak.

A poll from NBC News indicated that 20% of Black voters could vote for Donald Trump in the upcoming election, but Robinson said that those numbers never materialize in reality.

“The idea that 20 percent of Black men are going to support Trump — that was borne out of Trump saying that he’s gonna get 20 percent,” Robinson explained. “They said the same thing about [former President George W. Bush]. Twenty percent of Black men supporting Republicans never bears out.” 

According to Darryn Harris, former chief of staff for Rep. Karen Bass and a current candidate for California State Senate, “What the Republicans do well is their messaging around the economy,” Harris said. “Republicans are talking about the economy and talking about upward mobility within their communities, and I think that message resonates very strongly with Black men.”  

In addition, Robinson pointed out a fundamental issue with the way polling is sometimes conducted. Robinson said that, for example, if Black men are polled and one of the popular responses is a desire for more public safety, the political translation is that those voters want more policing. Robinson says that isn’t necessarily the case.

“But if you dive deep with this demographic of Black men, they’re going to look at you like you’re crazy if you say they need more police officers, because their definition of public safety is that they need to be policed like white people,” said Robinson. “In order to police Black men like white people, you need far less police officers, so the idea is actually closer to defunding the police.”

Harris said he sees that there are a few things that Democrats can do if they want to keep their base happy. Biden, he says, should have set up what he calls “grassroots captains” in communities so the campaign could keep in contact with voters. Harris also recommended “old-school” tactics like knocking on doors and phone banking mixed with new school text messaging campaigns. 

Ultimately, Harris encapsulated the problem facing Democrats, telling The Hill, “It’s not that Democrats are losing Black men to the Republican Party.”

Harris pointed out Black men tend not to trust the Republicans, in part because they generally can’t speak to racial justice issues.

“Black men are just going to start sitting at home and just watch the polls. Democrats are not giving us what we want, [and] Republicans are racist. Both parties are not good for us.”

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