In a recent Miami Herald article, Bill Nelson said he doesn’t need to do anything to motivate African American voters.
His exact quote was this:
“I don’t think I have to get them motivated. Since so much of the prison population is African American, I think what they see is, this is a disenfranchisement of over a million people in the state of Florida, and I think that is going to be motivation not only for people who feel strongly on the issue, if you’ve been rehabbed and done your time you ought to get your rights back. I think it's going to be a motivator in the African American community."
While the prison system affects a disproportionate amount of African Americans, Bill Nelson thinks THIS is what is going to motivate black voters to vote for him?
I can very easily vote for the restoration of rights amendment, and leave the Senate race BLANK.
Remember, during the 2016 presidential election, folks voted for Mickey Mouse for president.
Roy Hardemon had it right when he said he has never seen Bill Nelson in his community.
In speaking to some black elected officials and community leaders, they were just as offended as I am.
One said “WTF”, when I gave him the statement from Nelson.
Another said this is why he isn’t doing anything to help Nelson. He said Nelson could have pointed out how unfair the criminal justice system has been towards the African American community. How unequal it has been.
Tamika Lyles, a black woman who is running against Nelson in the primary, had this to say:
“The statement is culturally insensitive to assume that since African American voters will come out to vote for restoration of voting rights, they will also vote for the incumbent. ALL African Americans have not been incarcerated and ALL African Americans don't have felonies. So, what will attract those voters? The question was, "[W]hat's HE going to do to turn them out?" He basically said he doesn't have to do anything. WRONG ANSWER!”
Bill Nelson can trot out Corey Booker, Val Demings, and any other black face he wants to.
The bottom line, just like it was with Hillary Clinton in 2016. If HE isn’t getting into our communities and explaining why HE deserves our vote, he isn’t going to get it.
Saying he isn’t Rick Scott, and that he has black electeds he can parade out in the media isn’t going to get it.
I’m not sure why Democrats running for office have this aversion to courting the black vote in the same manner that they court other demographics, but clearly they do.
I’m saying this now, but I’ve said it before:
EARN our votes, don’t expect our votes!
Leslie Wimes, a Sunshine State News columnist, is founder and president of Women on the Move and the Democratic African American Women Caucus, www.daawc.com. Follow Leslie on Twitter: @womenonthemove1