Young black voter turnout unmoved by activism

Older African Americans fueled this year’s surge, not youths, polls show

The Washington Post Sunday 15 May 2016 BY VANESSA WILLIAMS AND SCOTT CLEMENT Emily Guskin contributed to this report.

Protesters fill a Baltimore street after the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. An analysis of exit polls shows that although more blacks voted this year than in 2008, the share of young African Americans doing so is unchanged, even as the Black Lives Matter movement swelled.

The generation of African Americans pushing criminaljustice issues and institutional racism to the forefront of the presidential election had little effect at the ballot box during this primary season, according to an analysis of exit polling across 25 states.

African Americans account for a larger share of Democratic primary voters this year than they did in 2008, but that is because of older black voters, not higher participation by younger black people.

Across two dozen states where exit polls were conducted in 2008 and this year, black voters older than 45 grew from 12 percent of the electorate on average in 2008 to 16 percent this year. In those same states, black voters younger than 45 made up 11 percent of voters in 2008 vs. 10 percent this year.

President Obama, in his commencement address last weekend at Howard University, praised young black activists for bringing new energy to the ongoing movement for racial justice and equality, but he said: “You have to have a strategy. Not just awareness, but action. Not just hashtags, but votes.”

“It’s thanks in large part to the activism of young people like many of you, from ‘Black Twitter’ to Black Lives Matter, that America’s eyes have been opened — white, black, Democrat, Republican — to the real problems, for example, in our criminal-justice system,” Obama said. “But to bring about structural change, lasting change, awareness is not enough. It requires changes in law, changes in custom.”

He added: “Passion is vital, but you’ve got to have a strategy. And your plan better include voting, not just some of the time, but all the time.”

Obama’s comments echoed continuing concerns that some young black activists involved in the current wave of political action do not share the belief in the critical importance of the right to vote — one of the most important achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s.

Democratic candidates and strategists have stressed the importance this year of all young voters, who heavily favored Obama in both of his election contests — and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont in this year’s Democratic primaries. But younger Americans are the least likely to turn out in elections: The share of eligible voters ages 18 to 29 who cast ballots fell from a record high of 48 percent in 2008 to 41 percent in the 2012 presidential election, according to the U.S. Elections Project.

Fredrick Harris, a political science professor and director of the Institute for Research in African American Studies at Columbia University, said the success of the Black Lives Matter movement should not be measured only by voter turnout or candidate preference. It has succeeded at doing what no other black leaders have done, especially those who have lined up to endorse either Sanders or Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton.

The young activists have “placed criminal-justice reform on the political agenda. Both Sanders and Clinton have been falling over each other talking about the need for reform and the persistence of institutionalized racism,” Harris said. “That did not happen in 2008 and would not have happened in 2016 without BLM. A movement does not have to necessarily influence electoral outcomes in order to be successful.”

Interviews with some activists inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement revealed a nuanced view of electoral politics. None advocated a total boycott of elections, and some have been actively involved in various local contests across the country.

At the same time, many were not enthusiastic about the value of voting, particularly in this year’s presidential election cycle. Some activists have staged protests at campaign events and received ample media coverage in the process. The sharpest criticism was aimed at Clinton, but most did not endorse Sanders, either.

These activists argued that neither candidate had adequately addressed the issues affecting black communities.

“Voting is definitely one way, and I wouldn’t insult my ancestors by telling people they shouldn’t vote, but there are other ways of reimagining and restructuring the world, and that lies in organizing our communities,” said Ashley Williams, a 23-year-old activist who attends the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Williams crashed a fundraiser for Clinton in Charlotte in February, where she stood up and asked the candidate whether she would “apologize to black people for mass incarceration.” Williams also said, “I’m not a super-predator, Hillary Clinton” — a reference to Clinton’s use years ago of a racially charged term meant to describe young offenders who are beyond rehabilitation. Williams was escorted from the event, but the next day, Clinton told a Washington Post columnist, “Looking back, I shouldn’t have used those words, and I wouldn’t use them today.”

Williams, who said she joined other protesters in disrupting a Trump rally in Raleigh in December, said she did not endorse Sanders, because “I’m not sure he should be the nominee, either.”

Lindsey Burgess, 22, a student at Spelman College in Atlanta who is supporting Sanders, is concerned that many young African Americans are already disenchanted with politics because of their view that two terms of an Obama presidency have done little to dismantle institutional racism. The rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement, she said, risks turning off these would-be voters even more.

“It’s very much ideology-driven, and it is anti-establishment,” Burgess said of the movement. “They want to eradicate this whole political system, the two-party system. But that’s not feasible right now. I do think that type of language has permeated the [presidential] campaign and stopped a lot of people from getting involved.”

Joyce Ladner, who was a member of one of the leading organizations of the civil rights era, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, said the cynicism toward voting on the part of some young activists is dangerous because “so much is at stake, if not for them, for the masses of black people.”

“What to substitute for not voting? They need to put forth an alternative political, social or economic structure that delivers some relief to black people,” Ladner said. “This is where the critical issue of accountability comes in. To whom are BLM folks accountable when they remove the vote from black people?”

And, she argued, “If voting isn’t important, why are white legislators gerrymandering districts and using other tactics to prevent blacks from voting?”

Activists in the Black Lives Matter movement don’t always sit on the sidelines. In Chicago, several groups rallied voters to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who they said helped cover up the shooting death in 2014 of Laquan McDonald, the black teenager who was walking away from police officers when one of them shot him 16 times.

Activists in Cleveland similarly organized and turned out voters to oust Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty, who was criticized for his handling of the shooting death in 2014 of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old who was playing with a toy gun when a police officer shot him to death.

Jessica Pierce, national chair of the Black Youth Project 100, said that Alvarez was directly targeted because she “will use her position of power to support violence against black people.”

The organization did not choose sides in the Democratic primary and has no plans to endorse in the general election, although they will encourage young black people to vote. More important, Pierce said, is educating and organizing black communities to hold elected officials accountable between elections. She said she doesn’t take issue with Obama’s challenge to young activists.

“For Black Youth Project 100, a core purpose of leading election work is not just the votes that we will turn out in this election but what those votes represent,” Pierce said. “The votes represent power — concrete power of black youth across the country. This is power that then builds into our direct action organizing campaigns and policy work that we have been leading locally and will continue to lead after Election Day.”

Trump’s win is faint, no matter the electoral forecast


The Washington Post Sunday 15 May 2016 by Dan Balz

The electoral-map projections account for much of Republicans’ concern about Donald Trump’s run.

Every preliminary electoral-map forecast this spring paints a bleak picture for Donald Trump in his effort to win the presidency against Hillary Clinton. The consensus is that there is only a very narrow path to victory, and that will probably shape the opening phase of the general-election campaign.

(One Democratic strategist, who knows as much as anyone about the demographics and voting histories of the battleground states, recently speculated on a not-for-attribution basis about the matchup between Clinton and Trump. His bottom line: There’s a high likelihood that Clinton at least matches the 332 electoral votes President Obama won in 2012. But he could also see a path for Trump, constricted as it may be.)

Among the earlier forecasts, the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato sees a Clinton romp in the making. A year ago, his forecast showed Democrats with an advantage in states adding up to 247 electoral votes, Republicans with an edge in states adding up to 206 and six states rated as toss-ups totaling 85 votes. Today, Sabato sees no states as toss-ups. Instead, he shows Clinton with 347 electoral votes and Trump with just 191.

The Cook Political Report shows a similarly dire map for Trump: 304 electoral votes leaning or solid for Clinton, 190 leaning or solid for Trump and 44 up for grabs. The four states Cook rated as toss-ups include three carried by Obama in 2012 (Iowa, New Hampshire and Ohio) and one carried by Mitt Romney (North Carolina).

The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report offers a more conservative estimate, but one no less daunting for Trump and Republicans: 263 leaning or solid for the Democrats, 206 for the Republicans and the remaining as toss-ups. The tossups in this analysis are Colorado, Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

These forecasts are the reason so many elected Republicans are worried about Trump at the top of their ticket. If he crashes, so too might their current majorities, particularly in the Senate. No wonder House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) remains a holdout in his willingness to fully embrace Trump and why Senate leaders expressed their concerns to the presumptive nominee when they met Thursday.

To hold the Senate, Republicans must fend off a series of Democratic challenges in states that are traditional presidential battlegrounds or, worse, states that have been in the Democrats’ presidential column repeatedly.

Cook’s Senate list shows six Republican-held seats as toss-up races. Three are in presidentially blue states: Mark Kirk in Illinois, Patrick J. Toomey in Pennsylvania and Ron Johnson in Wisconsin. Three others are in traditional battlegrounds: Rob Portman in Ohio, Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire and the seat being vacated by Marco Rubio in Florida. Only one Democratic seat is currently a toss-up, that of retiring Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

If it becomes necessary, these embattled Republican incumbents will distance themselves from Trump in an instant to run their own campaigns — but will need to defy recent history to be successful. For some years now, voters increasingly have cast their votes for Senate in line with their presidential preference. This election could become a major test of whether that trend toward straight-ticket voting in recent years can be reversed.

A counter to the electoral-map projections showing Trump as a potentially sizable drag on other Republican candidates came last week, when Quinnipiac University released polls from Ohio, Florida and Pennsylvania. Clinton and Trump were neck and neck in Florida and Pennsylvania, and Trump led narrowly in Ohio.

Critics of the surveys asserted that the samples understated the likely size of the nonwhite vote and overstated the percentage of Republicans. It’s also worth noting that all of the surveys had a relatively high percentage of undecided voters.

More evidence is needed, and subsequent surveys will either ratify or contradict those numbers. But the three states in question are one path to the presidency for Trump. If he could hold all of the states that Romney won — by no means a certainty — and flip Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, he would become president.

Many Democrats express the belief that there are traditional GOP states that may be in play in November, starting with Arizona. Clinton strategists are not assuming major changes in the geography of the battlegrounds. To that end, the key will be to prevent Trump from bringing out disaffected white, working-class voters while energizing the Obama coalition.

The Washington Post’s Abby Phillip described one step that the Clinton campaign is planning to protect states that are must-wins this fall, and that is to start to organize as early and as robustly as possible in Midwestern states with white, working-class constituencies, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

All three states have voted for the Democratic nominee six times in a row, although Obama won Pennsylvania, where there was no real campaign, by just more than five points in 2012. That five-point margin was almost identical to the margins by which he won the contested states of Colorado and New Hampshire and is a source of potential concern for Clinton’s team.

The Clinton camp has been eager to get moving on its general-election operations for weeks, knowing that it takes time and resources to build the kind of organization they need to get all of their voters to the polls in November. The persistence of the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont notwithstanding, the leadership of Clinton’s campaign in Brooklyn is now moving ahead on that front.

Clinton’s other strategy will be to disqualify Trump to any possible persuadable voters, among them independent women, and to generate the biggest possible turnout among Latinos and African Americans.

Clinton’s liabilities as a candidate make it more difficult for her simply to run a positive campaign to win over these voters, although she will need to do that. In addition, she and her outside allies will probably emulate the strategy followed by Obama against Romney four years ago by unloading soon.

The barrage will come in the form of TV ads and other means of communication — through social media, surrogates and talking heads, all recounting the many controversial things Trump has said about women, about Mexicans, about Muslims and anything else that might be in the opposition research files.

Trump should expect an allout assault from the Democrats starting in early June. The goal will be to make it as difficult as possible for him to gain a foothold in the places where he will need it most. Whether Trump and the Republicans, who are all scrambling to try to unify as best as they can, will be ready to answer is a major question.

Trump has proved to be largely impervious to attack in the primaries, but he’s now facing a much different electorate. If he isn’t ready for what is coming at him, the opening phase of the generalelection cycle could prove decisive.

Game of Thrones And a House of Cards!

House Speaker Paul Ryan (WI) Photo credit: Drew Angerer for NY Time

This battle for power looks like an episode of Game of Thrones or House of Cards.  The GOP presumptive nominee and the Speaker of the House, members of the same political party, are at odds.  Like the storylines on these shows, the competition is about power and control.

Fingers are pointing everywhere about the cause of the division.  But who’s to blame?  Is it Congress, Trump or the media? Let’s take a look.

Congress?  Well, that’s easy. They’ve been divided forever. The optics are bad, because people from the bottom up are engaged.  Change happened in 2008.  Thanks Obama!

Trump? He seized on the division Congressional politics created.  I don’t for a minute believe he entered the race, thinking he could win.  He entered doing what the Donald does.  Brand the Trump name for a new hotel.  Along the way, he stumbled onto something while relishing the roar of the crowd. He found a secret well of frustration and hate festering. He didn’t believe what he was saying, but the praise his fans lavished on him made Donald the man to beat.  Like an evangelical minister, his fans or flock hanging on to his every word, the Donald became “the bully in the pulpit.”

“I’m going to “Make America Great Again!” I know how to do it.  My steaks are great you know. My university makes people rich. My wines are the best in the world. And you know that my hotels are grand and beautiful. They’re great!”  But he didn’t stop there. When terrorists attacked here and in Europe, he tapped into the fears of his flock, with a message to demonstrate his strength.

“The terrorists’ families need to be killed to teach them a lesson. And “let’s protect the border and stop the Mexicans from coming here. As President, I am going to build a wall and keep them out.” Playing on his strength as a businessman, he talked about dealing with China. “I know China. They love me. I know how to deal with them. They love and respect me. If I’m elected, I will change things. I can do it and you know I can, because I’m great.”

At every campaign stop, his audience grew. “He tells it like it is,” one Trump supporter told me. “He loves America!”

But what about his audience and the racism and xenophobia? Or the insults he’s hurled at women and our partners abroad?

Perhaps, that’s why Trump looked surprised last week after winning the Indiana primary.  On the stage after Ted Cruz dropped out, realizing he was the presumptive nominee, he looked as surprised as a Miss Universe finalist who learned she won. Now on to the general election, his focus is on Hillary. How will this go?

To attack him, you are either stupid or ignoring the Beware of Dog signs.  Ask the GOP candidates he battled for months. When attacked, he pounces like a viscous dog biting an intruder.  And then he gets opportunities to bite some more.  Which brings me to the elephant in the equation.

The Media? They love him!

Think I’m wrong?  What about the $2 billion gift of free air time they have given him? He hasn’t had to spend money on his own ads.  Talk about in-kind support!

Ross Perot the last well known corporate presidential candidate in 1992 and 96 built a self-funded grassroots movement. Spent millions of his own money for thirty minute time slots.  What would he have done if he had been given free air time?  I want to know, in fact, I’m all ears! Because of the media’s free air time, he hasn’t had to tell us where he stands.

The press doesn’t well press him on issues because they don’t want to lose him. So they don’t dig deeper for answers. They let him call into morning television shows, instead of requiring him as has long been the policy, to appear live in their studio.  Fearful that if they hold him to the rules, he will bolt for another network waiting to scoop him up. A network’s gift to Trump is rewarded by a boost in ratings. There is money made selling ad time to companies during those time slots. Hosts instead of being journalists, give him a pass. The press now, like a cable network producing a reality television program can compete with this model with Game of Thrones and House of Cards. Their star? Donald Trump.

What’s sad is, he isn’t great.  Mediocre at best.  Crazy toupee, orange skin and small hands.  But it’s hard not to watch. Because, we never know what outlandish or surprising thing he may say. The truth is, he does well on his own.  Fired from his own show, The Apprentice, for insensitive remarks about Mexicans, you would think he would lose, not gain followers.

But this past week, social media was ablaze with a post that read, “Happy Cinco de Mayo! The best taco bowls are made in Trump Tower Grill. I love Hispanics!”  Which begs me to want to ask Trump, “How Low Can You Go?”

Photo posted by Donald J. Trump on Facebook for Cinqo de Mayo

That’s a question journalists should be asking!  How are your posts, rants and tone presidential?  He riles up communities, the candidates and GOP establishment.  His rallies further divide our country.  It brings to mind, Abraham Lincoln’s 1958 quote about slavery.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.”

Lincoln was speaking about freedom for the slave, as the country was split, just like it is today.  The issues a president faces, like Lincoln did during the Civil War, are huge.  Today, it’s Women and equal pay, Hispanics and immigration, Muslims and citizenship, Blacks and so many things. Then like now, everyone is entitled to an opinion.  But America is about freedom and that comes with great responsibility.

Freedom of speech, fuels division.  Freedom of the press fuels Congressional division, so they all make more money. Who suffers? The people! Division was planted centuries ago in an ongoing debate about slavery, women’s suffrage, civil rights and the list goes on.  It requires hard debates to bridge the divide and shock the human consciousness.

We the People” are as entitled as Trump to lead these conversations. More than he, we want to tackle the ugly divisions.  But here’s the brutal truth.

The slavery debate never ended.  Just took on a different language.  Don’t believe me?  What do you think “Make America Great Again” or remember “Take America Back” means?

But before defining that, let’s look at how Blacks too are partly to blame.  Go into a Black neighborhood and ask a child, who built the US Capitol, or the White House?  Ask who significantly contributed to America’s economy through free labor?

How many would answer, slaves? I’m guessing, not many if any at all. Because the slave’s story has been replaced with sixties civil rights’ victories.  During President Obama’s presidency, commemorative fifty year anniversary ceremonies have highlighted the March on Washington and the Selma March.  Where were the 150th anniversary commemorations of the end of slavery!

For arguments sake, if there was no meaning in commemorating slavery, then why did so many Whites and Blacks rejoice that Harriett Tubman’s image will soon appear on the $20 bill?  Because she embodies the story of triumph over slavery.  She represents the strength, courage and conviction of women in America.

Image of Harriet Tubman as it might look on the $20 Bill

A former slave, she made nineteen dangerous trips from the North to the South freeing hundreds of slaves including her parents.  Blacks and Whites provided safe haven to her passengers on what was called the Underground Railroad. Those assisting her, knew if they were caught, it would mean certain death. Her triumphant story and theirs will be told as the days go forward.

But while this is a great achievement, there are stories of tragedy that also deserve to be told.  Slaves murdered, beaten, whipped and raped.  Families ripped apart as mothers, fathers and their children were separated and sold to other plantations some near, others far away.  In some cases, never to see one another again.  Can you imagine what that was like? Men treated like stallions, bred to breed, and work the fields.  Some slaves, both men and women escaped and bought their freedom. Then spent a lifetime trying to find their loved ones.  Others born free were kidnapped and sold into slavery. I’ve heard stories in my family that would make you cry.

We cannot change the past, but the history of slavery is in front of us every day.  It’s taken on a different form.  Mass incarceration and free labor in the prison system.  Police officers killing unarmed citizens who don’t obey them is like the overseer and master killing or maiming the slave.  Single parent homes with children, who have different fathers, are like the woman who was used to produce slave after slave.  Sometimes bearing a light skinned child everyone knew was the master’s child.  The stories told in rap music has replaced the Negro spirituals, both telling the story of oppression. And, men and women working for a wage so low it strips one of their dignity.

Slave history provides valuable lessons to create a roadmap forward.  We can no longer afford to sweep it under a rug.  It must be prominently displayed and discussed like the wealthy do with a valuable piece of art.  Show it to people in a room for everyone to see, study and understand.  It is valuable and there to educate and motivate us.  If we don’t, we are doomed to repeat the problems of our past.

Our Jewish sisters and brothers teach us to never forget the Holocaust.  It is part of a horrible piece of human history.  By teaching us, they ensure that it never happens again!  We must do the same with the stories of slavery. Even with the struggle for women’s rights, immigration, minimum wage, the right to vote, marriage equality and other American injustices.

That brings me to Trump’s mostly White audiences. At his campaign rallies, they appear eager to board the over-ground express train called “Make America Great Again.”  They beat up people who protest Trump.  That train looks bumpy.  I have news! America is great, because we have overcome slavery, voting injustices, the right to marry whoever you want and health care for all.

But, we haven’t ensured that poor White, Black, Latino and other communities move out of the “abyss of poverty” into the middle class.  And the middle class into the upper middle class, and so on.  The global and domestic issues confronting us aren’t racial, they are economic!  We shouldn’t be against each other! We should be working together like Harriet Tubman and the conductors of the Underground Railroad. Not like those, who fought to keep Blacks in slavery and sought out to murder anyone who was a part of the Underground Railroad!

I will shout, yell and scream as loud as I can to Trump supporters calling themselves the “silent majority.”  America was not great for your ancestors.  They lived in fear.  That’s why they created legislation to protect themselves and used the Bible to allay their concerns for slavery and segregation.  America was not great then. It is great now, because we overcame those oppressive laws and appealed to the conscious of America. After overcoming decades and centuries of backward thinking, you think we want to go back to that?  The only thing that is silent in your majority is your lack of courage to tell us, that’s what you want to go back to. I dare you!

Because you are not the majority. You are in the minority.   Today, millions of Blacks, Latinos, Whites and other communities know one another better.  We are the fabric of America!  Slavery still exists, unfortunately for poor Whites, Blacks and Latinos.  We don’t call it that.  But working for and below the minimum wage is like working for nothing. That is slavery.  Some of you embrace Trump who has made money on the backs of many like them, here and abroad!

Now you rejoice when he says build a wall. Then he posts a photo eating a taco salad for Cinco de Mayo!  That’s an insult to our Mexican brothers and sisters. It is an insult to our Mexican neighbors and their rich history.  We damaged their economy and continue to with unfair trade agreements. That’s why they risk their lives to come to America.  There is no economy for them to make money. It’s why they send money home to their families. They don’t cross the border, America crossed them!

That term “Make America Great Again” is offensive to all of us!  The more I study American history, my understanding of a better way forward is strengthened when I see how backward the past was.

The living history I received from my parents and grandparents who lived through segregation is vivid and graphic.  COLORED and WHITES ONLY signs!  My Uncle Lawry and my grandmother’s sister Aunt Emma’s house burned more than once in segregated Richmond, Virginia by the KKK.  I could go on, but this blog is long enough.  My living connection to slavery is alive as I still have conversations with my 97 year old aunt whose grandparents were slaves.

I have my story and you have yours.  Our freedom comes with a responsibility to have difficult conversations. That requires talking to not at each other.

That’s why I applaud Speaker Ryan, and challenge the media to dig deeper. Get into what Trump means when he says “Make America Great Again.  Stop giving him a free ride!  Be responsible stewards of the press.  Stop changing the rules for him.  If you are going to interview him, make him come to your studios. Let us see his face. And make sure someone isn’t handing him notes and coaching him on what to say.

Hold him to the highest standard. He is running for President of the United States and leader of the free world! If he wants to do the morning news shows, make him get up early, brush the hair, fix the toupee, lotion the hands and spray on the tan.

Midday, he can tape his campaign ads, pay you and we will watch. And please, make him tell us how he is going to “Make America Great Again!”  Challenge him to make his ads and pitch convince a wide demographic to vote for him. Will he talk about China, making America great again and building a wall in those ads, or will he delve into policy?

When you have him on, ask him tough questions on his marriages. How he treats women and how his Presidency will be good for women. Make him explain foreign policy. And please, get him to talk about how a Trump presidency will help poor Whites, Blacks and Latinos find clearer pathways to economic opportunity that leads to prosperity.

If he wants to lead this country, he must answer how he will unite us. How will he make education a priority for communities?

The future of America is inextricably linked to one another’s success. History shows, we are better working together.  Trump, where is your plan to address this?  The one offering how a Trump presidency will invest in our best commodity, human capital. Our sorted past, just like the political parties internal division keep us from progress. God made us in nations and tribes to get to know one another.  Conflict arises, when we don’t know one another. How will your presidency help us get to know one another better? Because, we need a President that helps us get there.

Speaker Ryan, Presidents Bush 41 and 43, Senator Lindsey Graham and many others, thank you for refusing to endorse the party’s presumptive nominee. At least for now.

Trump like Jon Snow keeps focusing on a wall.  That is a wall of division. Let us not forget, Trump like Snow jumped a wall. Snow the bastard son, jumped the wall and found a place of acceptance. Trump jumped from the Democratic Party to the Republican. Why? Like Snow, Trump has found acceptance at least from his flock that have him as the presumptive nominee. But he is still not has not found that acceptance from the leaders of the party.

As a Republican, if the election were today, I could not vote for Trump.  The truth is, our nation is better when we have two strong political parties that put the best candidates forward. Right now, we don’t have that.

Mr. Speaker, your decision inspired this writing. I didn’t expect it to go this long. But like a season of House of Cards, it finds me following you like watching Frank Underwood, wondering, what’s your next move?

Now, is not the time to build bridges with Trump! It is time to voice our concern and opposition to his impeding nomination. Time to raise the volume on the party, and make some noise.  Here’s to hoping it gets darker.  Because, it’s always darkest before the dawn.

Paul Ryan Say He Is ‘Not Ready’ to Endorse Donald Trump

About the author:

IMG_6592  Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR), founder of Party Politics US and Associate Producer on The Framing of OJ Simpson.  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

Larry Out!

Larry Wilmore


I didn’t care for Larry Wilmore’s jokes Saturday night at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.  His ending made me cringe.  I wish he’d ended with the something respectful that he said last night…

“When I was a kid, I lived in a country where people couldn’t accept a black quarterback. Now think about that. A black man was thought by his mere color not good enough to lead a football team — and now, to live in your time, Mr. President, when a black man can lead the entire free world.”

Then followed the leader of the free world, America’s first Black President, with “Obama out!” or “Larry out!” and dropped the mike.

President Obama drops the mike!


Instead, after boring, senseless, classless jokes, he ended with an undignified n word standing in front of a room of journalists and politicians who haven’t made it easy for the President over the past seven years.

To invoke the n word, to the first Black President was disrespectful to the office and our American ancestors. Men and women who worked the fields, built this country’s economy and marched tirelessly against racism and who were often called nigger.  And made it possible for us to have a Black President and Larry for you to host your show.

I stand proudly, head high standing on the shoulders of those men and women, my heroes. They toiled, sweat and died, so that today, Americans of all races have a better way. I love this country. Mr. Wilmore your last words to the President were disrespectful to the men and women who came before you and made it possible for you to have your job!

Atiba out!