As Democrats vie for African American votes, the black church is paying attention

Religion News Service | 8/20/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — It’s no secret that the Democratic Party cannot win national elections without the black vote. Less well understood by major Democratic candidates and donors is that black voters are not a monolith. Particularly in the black church, we fall along a wide spectrum of conservative and liberal social values. Our intersections related to race and gender are complex and nuanced.

When black people say that they are tired of our votes being taken for granted, we are referring in part to this lack of understanding. Gaining our vote requires gaining more than a cursory understanding of who we are as a people. Candidates will need to be able to speak to a full range of issues and concerns and, just as importantly, feel comfortable engaging directly with a range of African American people.

Years - Black - Church - PAC - Voting

Three years ago, the Black Church PAC was formed to give our historically critical voting demographic a greater voice before we go to the polls. On Friday and Saturday (Aug. 16 and 17), the PAC held its first candidate forum, with an audience of 5,000 African American Christian millennials from 42 different states at the Young Leaders Conference in Atlanta.

Seven of the top-tier candidates were invited, and five attended: Secretary Julian Castro, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sens. Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Forum - Candidates - Opportunity - Case - Voters

The forum not only gave candidates an opportunity to make their case for why black voters should entrust them with their vote; it tested the candidates’ ability to connect with young black churchgoers who lean in a socially conservative direction — a voting bloc that is not necessarily well acquainted with long-established Democratic politicians and that has not necessarily bought in to the traditional progressive talking points.

Candidates got a chance to address the full conference but also met with small groups of voters and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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