Luther Campbell knows politics. Campbell is more famously known as being a member of rap group 2 Live Crew and co-founder of an inner city sports program in Liberty City, Florida called the Liberty City Optimists. Campbell is a columnist for Miami New Times called “Luke’s Gospel”. He recently penned an article on the failed campaign of Democratic Governor hopeful Andrew Gillum. His article brings up a good question. Have Black candidates missed the mark on connecting with Black voters.
From Miami New Times.
The recount in Florida’s gubernatorial race, which is expected to end today, gave Andrew Gillum a final Hail Mary after he narrowly lost the November 6 election to Ron DeSantis. But the Tallahassee mayor would have won decisively if he had done more to connect with African-American voters.
Though voter turnout in Miami-Dade and Broward surpassed totals from the 2014 midterm election by wide margins, both counties were among the lowest of the state’s ten most populous. Miami-Dade and Broward had voter turnout rates of 56.9 and 57.4 percent, compared to the statewide rate of 62.1 percent. Donald Trump-loving counties that DeSantis won, such as Sumter, Franklin, and Collier, had 78, 76, and 73 percent voter turnout rates. Those three counties had the largest turnout rates in the state.
The numbers show DeSantis turned out the MAGA base while Gillum struggled to get blacks — the demographic upon which Democrats always heavily rely — excited about his candidacy. Even though Barack Obama gave Gillum a heavy assist, Tally’s mayor couldn’t connect with the people in the streets. He was just another black dude in a fancy suit.
Gillum didn’t talk about issues that would have galvanized African-Americans and sent them marching to the polls. It might sound progressive to promise a $15-per-hour minimum wage and free health care. However, black people in the hood aren’t interested in making peanuts and taking handouts. They wanted to know what Gillum would do to break the cycle of violence and poverty. They wanted to hear him talk about legalizing marijuana and expunging pot convictions so African-Americans could get a piece of the weed business.
Gillum turned over control of his campaign to establishment Democrats, who are completely clueless about connecting with Florida’s black voters. The party had P. Diddy making robocalls and New York radio show hosts Charlamagne tha God and Angela Yee hosting get-out-the-vote drives. The Democrats should have enlisted Trina, Trick Daddy, Plies, Rick Ross, and other Florida rappers instead.
Gillum and the Democrats don’t want to learn from Trump, who knows how to amp up his white rural base of supporters. Before he came along, they stayed home on Election Day. They don’t trust establishment Republicans the same way they don’t trust Democrats. Black voters have the same doubts about the Democratic Party.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.