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Democrats, please learn from Birmingham

Since the election of President Donald Trump, Democrats have been obsessed with the disaffected Trump voter. I hate t...

Posted: Dec 17, 2017 10:58 AM
Updated: Dec 17, 2017 10:58 AM

Since the election of President Donald Trump, Democrats have been obsessed with the disaffected Trump voter. I hate to break it to Democrats, but these voters just aren't that into you. Want proof? Look no further than Tuesday's shocker in Alabama.

Seventy-seven percent of white working-class voters -- white voters without a college degree who we can assume voted for Trump -- cast a ballot for Republican Roy Moore. In stark contrast, virtually every black Alabamian -- roughly 96%-- voted for Sen.-elect Doug Jones. Black votes literally paved the way to victory for the long shot Democratic candidate. And statewide candidates in Ohio, Missouri, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland should take note.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are two notable Democrats with presidential aspirations who have been preoccupied with winning back the trust of disaffected Trump voters. So, after Tuesday, are we going to coddle voters who enthusiastically supported Moore, or are we going to prioritize our party's most loyal voting bloc?

If Democrats expect to be competitive in 2018 and 2020, the answer is simple: Engage black voters.

For a playbook on what effective black voter engagement looks like, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin's campaign offers a strong example.

Woodfin's task was no easy one. He was up against an older, more established black elected official, William Bell, who was universally known. And even though someone black was going to win anyway -- because of the choices -- it's worth paying attention to who came out to vote for Woodfin.

Over 35% of Birmingham's registered voters cast their ballots in the October mayoral runoff election. And while over 11,000 voters had never voted in a municipal election, 1,500 of those voters were between the age of 18 and 24.

Woodfin and his consultants from Pine Street Strategies, a D.C. lobbying firm, were able to cultivate grass-roots excitement because they spoke to African-Americans like "persuasion voters" -- or voters who you have to persuade to turn out to vote -- instead of assuming black voters will show up, as campaigns often do.

Moreover, the Woodfin campaign engaged local black media around their policy platform and discussed issues with families across the city, and they responded accordingly at the polls. Voters in African-American strongholds like Ensley and Collegeville could tell you exactly what a Woodfin vote meant for their family and community.

This is how you engage black voters in 2018, and it's a stark departure from the traditional Democratic playbook of fish fries, photo ops, and last-minute ads.

Real engagement also includes hiring diverse senior-level campaign consultants who do more than just African-American outreach. Our perspective has to be reflected in both black outreach and overall campaign strategy and messaging. For instance, I find it hard to believe that the now-infamous Jones Confederate campaign ad would have seen the light of day if there were more African-Americans included in the development of that ad. In a different race against a different candidate, that ad could have cost him the election.

Lastly, engagement with black voters must start when the campaign starts -- not during the last 30-day sprint to the finish line. Failing to prioritize African-Americans will ultimately leave valuable votes on the table, preventing Democrats from gaining back ground in state legislature and congressional seats that they have lost in the last decade.

But engaging black voters also does not stop when you win. For Jones, this means fighting to ensure cities like Birmingham, Selma and Montgomery, as well as Alabama's Black Belt counties are not afterthoughts during appropriations season. It means engaging our radio and press outlets the same way you do mainstream outlets instead of simply buying ads during an election. It means coming to our churches -- and clapping on beat -- even when there is not an election.

Disaffected Trump voters showed us who they were during the presidential election and they reminded us of who they were on Tuesday in Alabama. It is time for Democrats to believe them and move on.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320174

Reported Deaths: 7390
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22294271
Hinds20755424
Harrison18450317
Rankin13923282
Jackson13733249
Madison10273225
Lee10063176
Jones8473167
Forrest7837153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636288
Lafayette6314121
Washington5427138
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606148
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4162136
Union415877
Neshoba4065180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387687
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3373111
Alcorn327474
Scott320374
Yazoo314571
Adams308486
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma299084
Simpson298689
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272374
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252451
Newton249064
Tishomingo232369
Winston230282
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210659
Holmes190574
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167940
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Clear
78° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 80°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 72°
High pressure still tries to hang on to our area on Thursday, however a weak warm front will change the dominance of high pressure. This weak cold front will give us a chance for some isolated showers and thunderstorms at times.
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