New Poll Suggests Black Millennials Are Rejecting the Two Party Duopoly
The millenial generation of young black people raised in the language of Black Lives Matter are not buying into lesser evilism, says Black Agenda Report’s Glen Ford
DHARNA NOOR, TRNN: Welcome to the Real News Network. I’m Dharna Noor joining you from Baltimore and welcome to this edition of the Ford Report.
Since this is the Ford Report we’re joined by Glen Ford. Glen is the cofounder and executive editor of the Black Agenda Report and the author of the Big Lie: An Analysis of US Media Coverage of the Grenada Invasion. He just authored the piece on Black Agenda Report called Young Blacks Are Learning the Nature of the Duopoly Beast. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So thanks for joining us today Glen.
GLEN FORD: Thanks for having me.
NOOR: Glen your piece highlights the increased disenfranchisement of young black voters from the two party system. Also it quotes a bunch of young black folks who are indicating the evils of both a Trump and a Clinton presidency. What are the factors that have led to the political shift?
FORD: Well the factor is the black lives matter movement and the influence that it’s had on younger black minds. Those quotes come from a study that’s derived from focus groups put together by a fellow named Cornell Belcher. He’s a black political consultant and pollster for the democratic party and he did focus groups in Cleveland and in Jacksonville, Florida looking at millennials to see how they think about politics these days.
And what he found disturbed him as a democrat very much because he saw a very, very soft support for Hillary Clinton among millennials. Of course Donald Trump gets virtually no support in the black community but millennials don’t like Hillary Clinton and many of them tend to see both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as anti-black. Unprompted. That is without even being asked. [Belcher] says that these millennials would bring up Hillary Clinton’s role in mass black incarceration. Her use of the term super predators to refer to black youth. They speak in the language of the black lives matter movement.
This is a black lives matter generation that is speaking out in very recognizable terms to pollsters. Cornell Belcher is scared frankly because he says if there is not something like the near unanimous and huge black turnout then Hillary Clinton could wind up a loser like John Keri was in 2004. So he thinks this represents a kind of a crisis for the democratic party. And I hope that he’s right. It does appear that there is a new generation of young black people who are rejecting the duopoly paradigm of lesser evils. A generation many of which people think of both these parties as being evil.
That’s a very good thing. It means good news for those who want to see new politics or new black politics and a resurgence of progressive politics. It means that the black radical tradition is not dead even though it’s been two generations since we’ve seen a big black social movement.
NOOR: What sort of the relationship between these new rejecters of the two party system and the Sanders movement. I’m asking because Black Agenda and you specifically have been critical of Sanders and his supporters and his decision to run within the democratic party but folks like Alicia Garza a cofounder of black lives matter supported him and at the Green Party Convention in Houston which I attended for the Real News, there was this particular focus on a surge in participation from those who were excited about the Sanders movement. So how have these two things coalesced and has there been a relationship?
FORD: Well that’s interesting because nothing in Belcher’s data refers to third parties. Their focus is on the Trump/Hillary combat and nothing else. There doesn’t seem to have been any exploration about how these millennials feel about specifically the Green Party of the Libertarian Party. But clearly they do not think in terms of lesser evils. Which means they would be open to folks who do not speak evil. That’s a good sign for progressivism. Even though there is not data specifically coming out of that study.
NOOR: Recently I spoke with Adolph Reed about his piece Vote for the Lying Neoliberal Warmonger It’s Important. And there he puts forth the idea that others have put forth as well on the left that we should sort of swallow our hesitancies about Hillary Clinton because under Donald Trump it would be much more difficult to organize for black people, for young people, for labor organizers, for women. What’s sort of your response to this rhetoric coming out of some circles on the left.
FORD: My response and I have great respect for Adolph Reed but all he brings to the argument in that piece is his great prestige. His comments on the Green Party were just not very smart. He spoke of their class backgrounds but not their politics, not their platform. So no I don’t think professor Reed brings much anything new certainly to this debate.
NOOR: And has the political shift, the disillusionment from the Democratic Party resulted in much support for third parties, because you end your new piece with a praise of the Greens. But according to recent polls Jill Stein is only polling at 3 or 4% when the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson is polling at 9 or 10%.
FORD: Well I think it’s kind of miraculous that they are polling collectively something approaching 15% when the Pugh Research Center has found that the broadcast networks and the cable outlets dedicate only one half of 1% of their campaign coverage to even mentioning the names Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Recent CNN poll shows that 36% of registered voters have never heard of Jill Stein and 32% have never heard of Gary Johnson. That’s roughly a third of the American public that doesn’t even know of the existence of the candidates of these third parties. So for them to show at all is an indication that people are actively looking for an alternative. And if Jill Stein and Gary Johnson were allowed to appear on these televised debates, I believe that pollsters would in a week would see them collectively, that is together, polling in 30%, not 15 but 30% of the public.
NOOR: Okay, thanks so much for joining us Glen.
FORD: Thank you.
NOOR: And thank you for joining us on the Real News Network.
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