Johnson: If you want to talk to someone who knows about what is going on in the black political community, you’ll want to talk to Rachel Noerdlinger. She’s a managing director of Mercury – a public strategy firm. She’s worked with Al Sharpton and was the former chief of staff for New York City’s first lady Chirlane McCray, She’s also the founder of the Black Votes Matter Political Action Committee or PAC – it’s an organization she recently started with the help of several Democratic political strategists.
Noerdlinger1: We literally just launched. What we are doing now is a lot of fundraising for black press, raising money for organizations that get the black vote out, civil rights groups, black clergy and black millennials who are voicing more of an active role.
Johnson: Noerdlinger says part of what got black voters to the polls in the last two elections was Barack Obama was on the ticket.
Noerdlinger.wav2: The question now is without a Barack Obama in the race, will black folks turn out and vote?
Johnson: The Black Votes Matter group is spending most of their money on buying Ads in places black voters will see them. The focus? Issues like raising the minimum wage, criminal justice reform, ending racial profiling, education initiatives, and paid family leave. She’s says the challenge is to remind the black voters there is a lot at stake.
Noerdlinger4: We have a Supreme Court nominee that we need to put into office. We’re at a point where we can lose affirmative action, we can lose abortion rights, we can lose so many voting rights…
Johnson: James Taylor teaches political science and African-American studies at the University of San Francisco. He says there are some barriers to getting black voters to the polls – reasons like complicated voter registration laws,general political apathy and no formal civic political education. So getting the black voters to the polls is one thing, but figuring out who they will vote for is another.
Taylor 1: The black vote is not one-dimensional. Younger people, the so called millennials, are definitely more responsive of Bernie Sanders in general but they have also supported Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders in all of the contests that she’s won.
Johnson: Mark Sawyer teaches Political Science & African – American Studies at UCLA. He says without a Barack Obama on the ballot, it’s likely some black voters will sit out the primary. Historically black voters have largely voted for Democrats. So, what might get them to the polls most is…..
Sawyer 1: I am assuming that the likelihood of Trump or Cruz candidacy will push black turnout in the general election.
Johnson: Sawyer says with seven months left…there’s still time…
Sawyer 2: Black voters their looking at their options and I think they will be mobilized and show up for the general.
Johnson: They’ll have until November 8th.
Jaki Johnson, Columbia Radio News.