Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Black Americans want something more from Democrats

Black Americans want something more from Democrats

Writer Stephen Robinson on why many black Americans are discontented with Joe Biden and his party

No transcript...

Now that the pretense of a Republican presidential primary is nearly at an end, the second general election matchup between Joe Biden and Donald Trump is beginning to take shape.

And while the race features the same candidates as in 2020, the political dynamics are different in several important ways, most prominently that we are no longer in a global pandemic.

One other difference this time around is that each of the candidates’ support base seems to have lost some enthusiasm. On the Republican side, a significant percentage of people who voted for Trump seem to be sick of his raging incompetence and foolish statements, while also harboring genuine concerns about his criminal acts to cling to power after he lost in 2020.

On the Democratic side, there is also a lot of discontentment with Biden, especially among black Americans. In a December poll sponsored by the Associated Press, only 50% of black adults said they approved of the job Biden was doing as president.

For the most part, the Republican party is not yet gaining much support from black Americans so it’s worth pondering what’s going on here. And joining me to discuss all this is Stephen Robinson. He’s a writer and podcaster who does both of those things on his website, Play Typer Guy.

The video of this discussion is available. It was recorded on February 1, 2024. The transcript of the audio is below. Because of its length, some podcast apps and email programs may truncate it. Access the episode page to get the complete text.

Related Content

Cover photo: Clarke Sanders

Flux is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

Audio Chapters

0:00 — Introduction

06:33 — Democrats' dilemma: A party that must contain the entire political spectrum

13:19 — Why polls are not always the best way of measuring public opinion

18:29 — The importance of trust in politics

25:24 — College education is not the path to political progress

31:34 — Democrats need to realize they can't bully voters on Gaza

40:00 — Because they don't spend money on advocacy media, sometimes Democrats are blamed for things they didn't do

45:35 — Matt Gaetz reveals Republican strategy to use misogyny to market to black and Hispanic men

51:35 — Do celebrity endorsements matter?

55:02 — How much does Kamala Harris help or hurt Democrats with black Americans?

01:03:29 — Why a economic message will never be enough for the left

Audio Transcript

This is an automatically generated transcript which is provided for convenience purposes only

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD: And joining me to discuss all this is Stephen Robinson. He is a writer and podcaster who does both of those things on his website, Play Typer Guy, welcome to Theory of Change, Stephen.

STEPHEN ROBINSON: Hi Matthew. How are you?

SHEFFIELD: Good. All right. Well, so this is I think this is a conversation that I don't see happening a lot in the mainstream media to some extent, wondering especially on, on cable television that, wondering what is going on with black voters and Biden.

It's, it's just kind of under the surface and I, think it reflects a dynamic to some degree that in the Democratic party you're [00:03:00] not supposed to talk about what the guys at the top are doing wrong. What's your sense?

ROBINSON: That's very much a case of that I've seen a lot. I've seen it. One of the reasons I've kind of gone independent myself, playtyperguy.com, at Substack, my shameless plug, is to sort of write about these issues without particularly related to race without being kind of, oh, no, you're going to make Trump come back to sort of have that Animal Farm reference whenever you would just talk about these issues.

And I think talking about an issue doesn't make it worse, nor does ignoring it make it go away. So, One of the issues I think is that when we talk about discontent, I. Amongst any other certain groups of people, particularly like, when there was over particularly Covid lockdowns and then suburban white women [00:04:00] concerned about their kids being taught about racism or books.

When we saw a lot of that in Virginia when Glen Youngkin won, those folks are often presented in the media to do the focus groups with them, but not just that more likely someone of that demo is going to be on a mainstream news program presenting that issue. If you look at sort of the black voter base and a lot of the folks and or where that discontent is, aside from some articles that, the folks who make it, and there often aren't a lot of people of color, particularly black people and black women who make it on the mainstream news shows are hardcore Democrats. They're people who argue for the party. And rightly so. because that's their point of view. Even myself, if you were to put me on Meet the Press, I'm going to be like, well, of course, they're going to vote for Biden. Here's why I think he's done a good job.

Here's why we catastrophic if Trump won again, were to win. [00:05:00] Yeah. And but a lot of those voices, and as we said, these elections are going to be, this election's going to be won on the margins. They, the, last few have been. They were talking about, what is it, 40,000, 40,000 votes amongst the certain states determined that Biden won in 2020.

And then it was actually more narrow than Trump's electoral college vote victory that in the states where he won. So yeah, I mean, obviously we should talk about turnout issues and we should talk about And hoping you can get into that as well, like the sense of the position of the Democratic Party is in now in, in trying to maintain a very large coalition.

Especially to the extent that they are, have been for the longest time, wanting to get folks who, and I think you can speak to that, of who were once so white suburban, college educated [00:06:00] people who were once right leaning. We still are, but once voted Republican and said, we're alienated by Trump and MAGA and are now Democrats and so, or inclined to vote for Democrats.

And so I think there's been a lot of focus on those group groups, perhaps to the detriment of really listening and doing the outreach with particularly working class non-college educated black voters, black and black men, specifically Latino men.

Democrats' dilemma: A party that must contain the entire political spectrum

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And, it's, and it is a really complicated dilemma that Democrats have because the, per the Democratic voting Coalition, the electorate is very different in its inside itself compared to the Republican coalition.

So the Republican coalition, overwhelmingly. Christian, overwhelmingly white and now much more rural than ever [00:07:00] before. So there, so a lot of the things that they, the messages that they can give to them, they all intersect perfectly with each other. And so whereas for Democrats, are basically have to contain the entire political spectrum except for, reactionary extremists.

And so it's, and this is also true with regard to black Americans, because a lot of black Americans are actually conservatives. But they're not going to vote for the Republican party given its, many decades of history of both, trying to court racist people on the sly, and then now of course openly doing it under Sure.

Computer. So it's so trying to figure out, well, what, how do you appeal to black Americans? it's very difficult in some sense. What might work for a, twenty-two year old college student in, in, in New York City is probably very [00:08:00] possibly not going to work for a 7-year-old grandmother in Atlanta, Georgia.

ROBINSON: Yeah. And well, that's part of the dilemma. Well, it's been 60 years or will, be this year since the civil Rights Act. And so this idea that there's a permanent sort of connection to the Democratic party and acknowledgement of what the party has done on race issues that black people will have forever is a dangerous, I think, assumption.

I think younger black voters are a potential get from Republicans focusing on, again, those working class rule issues. And people will say, well, no, because they Republican party is overtly racist. Yet I think I've argue, my point of view is I find that argument somewhat insulting because you say that I'm from South Carolina, I'm from the rural south, and of course all of my family members are [00:09:00] Democrats, longtime Democrats.

But if you were to say to them that, Hey, the argument I'm going to give to you, to my cousin for instance is Republicans are racist, Trump is racist, duh, come vote for me. But to your neighbor on the guy you work with, a white person who's also didn't go to college, also from the rural south, I'm going to have to, I'm going to try to like make an argument on the merits. And also I probably won't overtly state that they're racist. because Democrats don't usually do that. They try to say that like, Republicans, oh, they're for small government. They still, I mean Nancy, Pelosi I would get screamed at when I would write columns saying she shouldn't go around saying that we a strong Republican party.

Like what does that mean? When were they, yeah. Useful allies and she's romanticized Reagan in the past and those things. And then, so you say that as if saying okay, well again, for the sake of argument, hey Matthew, you voted for Republicans in the past, you're [00:10:00] or maybe a Republican, but here's how we're going to try to win you over on the issues.

because we don't think you're racist and we don't think you're willing voting for racist, but we're going to tell black voters that obviously you don't have that same choice as Matthew. because obviously you're a big dummy if you were to ever consider Like all these other issues that we think most.

Is, that's driving most of our good friends across the aisle, as Biden says. And I think that becomes the dangerous sort of, well,

SHEFFIELD: it's kind of Yeah. Patronizing basically. Absolutely. In some sense. Yeah. and there is kind of a similar messaging problem with, Hispanic Americans as well, that Democrats generally seem to think that Hispanics and Latinos only care about immigration.

That they all care about immigration and it's, and that they want more of it when the reality is that a lot of people in that demographic have nothing to do with the immigration system. Oh, yeah. they're multi-generational family [00:11:00] and don't know anyone in an, who lives in another country.

No, Yeah. And you're insulting them to imply that they do that they're not American telling them they're not Americans.

ROBINSON: In some ways it's overtly racist because you're sort of saying that they. Without looking at as a class issue, like some folks would say, oh, because American is a class system.

It's like, oh, I got here legally, and I don't, I look, as opposed to being like, oh, Trump's rhetoric is going to offend every Latino voter and, we're going to win Florida easily and we're going to win Texas easily. I mean, this was rhetoric in 2016. I'm sure you might have saw some of that, and obviously that did not happen.

DeSantis like dominated when he was Ron DeSantis when he ran for a reelection amongst Latino voters, winning previous democratic strongholds because Democrats had been, their support had been eroding. I think what was happening with certain Hispanic voters particularly Latino [00:12:00] men.

And working class has sort of. Potentially I said, would be a fear of happening with black voters. If that were to ever happen, that's going to be disastrous. But where, they don't have that long-term connection to the Democratic party of like, you've always been there for us.

We'll be there for you. And what happened in 2020 was that it in Texas, Biden was doing very poorly amongst some border towns because of concerns about lockdowns. And I remember a lot of the dialogue from a lot of white liberal pundits during, covid was like, obviously the mitigation factors we, we did, we needed to do.

That was my opinion. But the, there was often a sense of. Condescending from, of like, oh, come on, just stop whining. You're just sitting at home in your sweatpants is a wonderful thing. Whereas a lot of people were desperate [00:13:00] and scared, especially if their work was sort of entrepreneurial, which was the case for a lot of Hispanic folks in that area of like, they were desperate and concerned that lockdowns would, they couldn't do their jobs.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. They literally could not work. It was impossible to work. And yeah, no, there is.

Why polls are not always the best way of measuring public opinion

SHEFFIELD: And a lot of it is that I think the, Democratic party, and this is also true of the Republican party having been, on both sides, that, but the Democrats are more centralized in. The Acela corridor so that New York to D.C, and if you don't live there, then you're not really relevant and they don't want to hear from you.

The only extent they want to hear from you is in a public opinion survey. But I can say having been a former pollster that polls can be very bad at, helping you understand public opinion because you have to understand how to ask the question [00:14:00] in a way that has the same meaning for you and for the respondent.

And that actually can be very difficult in, a lot of different ways. So especially like when you ask people like about whether they're, their ideological position. So a lot of, black Americans, again, they have, they come from a very, fundamentalist Christian viewpoint.

They, they believe the Bible is literally true. And they may think that homosexuality is a sin. And they'll call themselves conservative when you ask them. But then what do you do with that? What can you do with that fact about them? And that's where polling has a problem and how you, why you have to get out there and actually you listen to people like this is one thing that the, Republicans have really well for themselves is besides the fact that right-Wing media is now so huge and has such vast audiences whether it's, Joe Rogan or Daily Wire or [00:15:00] any of these talk radio people.

It, it has a, huge audience to, to push the, propaganda out to them. But it also allows kind of a two-way push as well, because, these, especially the local talk radio hosts, they have, people calling in and telling them, this is what I think about Oh yeah. Trump or whatever.

And, so you can get a, it's like having a profitable focus group and they've got, hundreds of them. And then, of course website comments are, good for that as well to kind of suss out public opinion in a way that's, that is organic. because like a lot of times people will be like, well we can just do focus groups.

But you know, there's a lot of people who won't want to participate in a focus group. And even if they did, it's not a real forum. Like, you sitting around a table with a bunch of strangers being videotaped. Is that a real conversation?

ROBINSON: Oh yeah.

SHEFFIELD: I don't think it is.

ROBINSON: Well, yeah, not at all.

And [00:16:00] to what you are saying about that ecosystem I've called it an ecosphere of like the same type of dialogue that's being had for Republicans. Again, a white Christian cultural organization. Like that's its base and that's what it, and we can flatter them and say it's an identity.

Yeah, exactly. And we can flatter them and say it's about small government and freedom, etc. Etc. And so forth. But like at that core and so just watching Fox News or just being in that, well, that is going to hit a good deal of that base and or, and, reflects what they're stating. We said that, Donald Trump was a midway stuff.

The Fox News viewer made good. Because he was of that group. he wasn't simply like the, quote David Frum had where we thought Fox News worked for us and suddenly we were working for Fox News. Well, what happened was, Trump and then who came after him? People like Marjorie, the Green and others who had been out there, [00:17:00] who'd been the reliable voters for them.

There's like, okay, well we don't need, we don't need the front people anymore. We're taking over. And, but they reflect those voters in a way that if you put, you took Nancy Pelosi without identifying her. Because I think, if you put her into a black beauty parlor in South Carolina and they, and the people knew she was Nancy Pelosi and they came with the cars and they'd be respectful for her and like her because they like her policy politics generally.

But if you just put her there without them knowing who this was, I. How natural would the rapport be? How natural would the connection be? How their dialogue and, how, would that go versus dropping Trump in sort of a very rural bar somewhere in Ohio? Like the stuff he would complain about, the stuff that he would naturally sort of talk about while having a beer with a guy is [00:18:00] true.

He would fit right in. Yeah, fit right in. I mean, I think Democrats have for years, so like almost twenty-five years now. So they complained about the Al Gore George W. Bush the argument of like, who'd you rather have a beer with? And it was like, that's ridiculous. I mean, Hamilton even made fun of it.

It's like, the musical Hamilton made fun of that idea. And it's like, well, it's not just about the pop. I mean, obviously politics is a popularity contest because that's how people get elected, but it's like, I. It's also about trust.

The importance of trust in politics

ROBINSON: Who do I trust? If I trust you? That's everything. if I want to have this beer with you, if I trust you, if I think you're kind of like trying to sell me something, I don't trust you.

And I think what has happened with that deterioration amongst rural white folks who had been voting democratic, who had voted for Bill Clinton in the past, even Barack, Obama, and then it just collapsed in 2016. And then, even as we're seeing with certain groups of, black voters and, Latino voters.

What happens if you don't build [00:19:00] a trust? Democrats think, oh, I could just come in and pitch you on the issues. Why don't they get it? Why don't they get that? I care more about these issues than Republicans. Republicans don't care. Like we're going to come in and actually, when a tornado blows through Kentucky, we're going to come in and fix it.

We're going to help you. And Republicans aren't. Why don't they care? It's like, because they don't trust you. Ultimately, everything comes down to. Who do we trust? And essentially having lost that trust has been the longest problem. But part of it is because as you said, it's at a cello corridor. You're like so far removed from the people you need.

I once wrote about Democrats need more Lauren and boars and everyone, the immediate response was, what do you mean, nor idiots? More people doing well. no, Not the terrible stuff about her. Not her terrible politics. Just that if you look, the idea that this was a woman of a GED had worked as a waitress and worked small business owner then went to congress, young [00:20:00] name.

The idea of more minorities who represent who are from that, as opposed to, I think Democrats can very much get caught into the model minority trap. So it's just like, here's our. Leaders who, and it's like, oh, well, she went to Harvard and Yale, and she yeah. In a graduate, it's a very, but

SHEFFIELD: Barack Obama is a great example of what you're talking about.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And no, actually no, that's a great point. And actually I've, been glad to see the rise of some of these younger democrats, like Jasmine Crockett, when I see her going out there and tearing into Republicans and doing it in a way that is just like a regular, a regular, average black woman from the South, Would do. and she's great at it. And, the other thing also is, that have that all these confederate, Republican old boys watching her do this to them, like they have got to be, tearing up inside.

ROBINSON: Oh yeah, absolutely.

SHEFFIELD: Seeing what's [00:21:00] happening. Like that's part of why also why I love it as well to see, but you're right about that.

Yeah. there is, kind of this thought that we, can use polling to determine what people want and not actually have to talk to them and not actually be there because like, like, because there, there is I mean, there is a serious issue that they really are kind of isolated and Do their own thing and, they think that everybody agrees with them. Like, I think there was this, well, like for instance, they've, abandoned it. And this is more Latino related. like there, there was this propagation of the term Latin X. In a lot of democratic policy circles for a while, and nobody bothered to ask Latinos, do you want that term? Do you want to use it? And it turns out they did not want to use it. And so, so now it's actually been banned by various democratic organizations because they're like, well, when we use language [00:22:00] like that, no one knows what the fuck we're talking about. So no, we should stop that. We should stop that.

ROBINSON: It's just a different, it's just a different language. I mean, republicans have been brilliant on language when they talk about things like parental rights and they talk about things of that which go back to the idea of conservatives blacks and Latinos when they were talking about those issues.

The idea was that, oh, well obviously those groups are going to come out and force for us to get rid of Ron DeSantis because they obviously. He's racist with those, those books and arguments and whereas instead the stuff about the type of the idea of sexualizing stories and stuff like that, which all that being BS, but no one was taking the time to actually thread that needle because as you said, there were a lot of conservative minorities of states who are like, oh, I don't want my kid reading about.

And I think what happens is Democrats are then shocked or then stunned because they haven't had the dialogue with actual reading class people. [00:23:00] I found that you were saying a party that was sort of living by polls forever to the point where, and it made me very frustrated because I remember in 2020 during the primaries where by a lot of Biden's value proposition was based on polls.

Look at these polls of me against Donald Trump. Clearly I'm the best. Listen to these polls. And then, the past few months polls were like going poorly. For Biden, and there was a complete dismissal of polling data. And I was like, well, there's, we can obviously look, dig down, make sure polls aren't BS.

The but to reject the science right out for like a gut instinct is very scary and often is what losing campaigns do. It's what Romney's campaign did in 2012 being like, oh, there's no way. Un the polls. Yeah, unskew them. And so with that, I remember a former colleague of mine, so a white male, the, poll came out of Biden [00:24:00] not doing very well amongst black voters comparatively to 2020.

And his response was, if I may say the term bullshit, like that's all he said, and I was like, okay, well why do you believe that? Why do you think it's wrong? Said no. Science was just like, no, there's no way. that's the case. And it's like, and the Crosstab is about work, working-class black voters.

And I was like, and I drilled in and it was like, well you've, do you, have you spoken to or interacted with or interviewed as I have any of these people? because I don't presume to speak for black people who aren't from specifically my demographic. I talked to them, I interview with them, I and so forth to form this opinion of where things are.

Yeah. And that just wasn't happening. It was this sense of, obviously they realized Trump is a literal, grand dragon of the Klan and that democracy is at stake and clearly this poll is bs. There's no [00:25:00] way that a black person is either going to vote for Trump or not vote. And that's dangerous because Trump did improve moderately his performance among black voters and Latino voters, particularly men in 2020. So, I was very concerned when I got that sort of response. It was very frustrating to me.

College education is not the path to political progress

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And, some of the, I think some of it is just that again, they, people who are, let's say highly have a professional job and or may have a college degree or higher there, there's, there is a real danger in politics to project your rationale and your thinking onto other people.

and, I think you see that in particular with regard to college. Most Americans have never gone to college don't have a college degree, and that's always been the case. And yet so much of the rhetoric about. Opportunity or [00:26:00] career advancement or, retraining or, dealing with unemployment situations is, well, you should just go back to school and get another degree.

And that doesn't work for most people. That's not going to work for most people. Most people can't take four, four years out of their life or whatever other, 2, 2, 4 years, whatever. They can't go and put that into college. Because they have to feed their family and feed themselves. And like, unless you're going to work to make college free, you should shut up about that.

it's, just not relevant to, to a lot of people. And I'm not saying, that, I'm not saying I'm hostile to it or anything like that, but it's not going to work for people. And yeah, you have to have multiple solutions. To people because it isn't one size fits all.

ROBINSON: Absolutely. And I, I, also support, college being sort of an extension of high school that where, we fund that all the way [00:27:00] through, I think there's a benefit or even vocational training or whatever.

But what would also kind of amuse me about that argument is that many of the people saying college should be free, go to college, would then say, we need to have my student loans canceled or forgiven because I am like a hundred thousand dollars in debt and I make 50 thou, $50,000 a year.

And so like someone who's like a plumber or works at a, factory or whatever, who makes more than that and doesn't have that near of debt, it's like, wait a minute. So your solution, even if I didn't wind up in the debt, I wouldn't, your job doesn't pay what mine does. Those are the jobs I'm losing.

And I think that becomes a sense of, well. You've got to address the people who are like, all this technology has been wiping out types of jobs that are very valuable. And I think going back to what you said about not listening or not, I remember, and this was a big issue in 2020 regarding Medicare for All and those sort things, or dealing with [00:28:00] insurance companies and so forth.

And it was shocking that, people who I really respect are sweet on the issue. Like Liz Warren or even Bernie Sanders were kind of unaware that a major demographic for the democratic party, black women also, disproportionately worked in the medical insurance industry, like sort of that, the administration aspect that they would go out and talk about how, well, this is the worst thing that, that's the worst part of it.

And Medicare for remove all of that, so essentially they're talking about gutting a lot of jobs for their base. Now I think that's probably going to be necessary, but it was sort of like they hadn't thought about it. So, if you haven't thought about it, then you have no way. Everyone's like, oh wait a minute, she's talking about gutting my jobs.

It goes back to trust, right? Because if I come in, if I've prepared for the meeting, and again, I've been worked in court, if I've prepared for the meeting with you and I know, okay, well [00:29:00] here's where we need to go. Obviously understand how you'd be impacted. Here's like either exit or here's a trade.

Like somehow, but I'm at least prepared as opposed to my coming in. That's like the worst boss in the world, right? Like, okay, Matthew, here's our exciting new program. You're going to do this. And then, this department that handles the Theory of Change podcast will be sent to India. And you'd be like, well, that's my job.

Like, how do you not know what I do? Like I hate you. And so I think sometimes there's that sort of sense of people not even listening or being aware of this. The very serious concerns that happened. Again, as I said earlier with Covid, where there was that idea that like all, Democrats are talking as if.

Not just their voters, but all voters were like able to, as I was fortunate to just kind of ride out the pandemic. Working from home, you're still getting a paycheck, but the frustration is that you can't go outside and have a drink with your friends or do that. And so instead they were everyone complaining about the [00:30:00] lockdowns is spoiled because they want to go to brunch.

There was a lot of liberals posting that or talking that way and it's like, no, There are people, it's great that you decided to start making your own bread at home and you took a cocktail course from YouTube or whatever, but that person, that human being who was, bringing the bread to your table at your favorite brunch stop or the person who was making drinks for you last year They are, scared. They don't know whether you know how things are going to go for them or. Yeah, what, or if there's going to be an industry for them. So I think that becomes, or what's next? Yeah. Yeah. So I think it's a sense of really not knowing, and I think that's one of the advantages that Republicans often have because they are often in the circle.

It's, I find it very frustrating and Pelosi has done this, a lot of talking, well that's not, we are going to focus on the kitchen table issues. Which is [00:31:00] often seems like a very patronizing way of saying, this is what is really important. And it's like, well, no, I think, yes, at kitchen tables, in certain parts of the country, these were important issues to them.

The issue of, trans, people in sports, what's being taught in the schools and so forth. And there's, I believe there's a right that we are on the right side of those issues, but we need to address it, not roll our eyes and be like, oh, and actually explain. Yeah. Yeah. So explain it. Yes. Yeah, that would be good.

Democrats need to realize they can't bully voters on Gaza

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, no, you're right about that. And also stop telling people what they should be concerned about. Like that's their business, what they want to be interested in. If you want them to be interested in something else, then you need to explain why they should be interested in it and not try to shame them into it because it never, it doesn't work.

Life doesn't work that way. If you're, you want someone to be your friend, you're not going to shame them into being your friend. You want to date someone. You, can't [00:32:00] shame them into dating you. That's not, that isn't how any of this stuff works in any other context. But, but Pelosi I do think is kind of an emblematic figure in this discussion.

And I'm glad you've mentioned her a few times, but I mean, like most recently, of course, she has been, just completely denigrating people who are concerned about the situation in Gaza and, all the people being killed there, and the war crimes being committed by Israel. And basically saying that the only people concerned about that are being paid by Vladimir Putin.

And you claim to be concerned about these other issues, and so you just need to, sit back and do what we tell you on Israel and. People are like, what? that's not an argument.


That's not

SHEFFIELD: anyone. It's, it is offensive. And, and, recently there in, in the news there were several a bunch of, black religious leaders that had written a, petition to Biden to say, please stop this.

You stop funding all this [00:33:00] awfulness that Israel is doing. Please stop it. And, like this is causing some real, tension. But the sort of Estella Democrats, they don't really see it. I don't, it doesn't seem to affect them.

ROBINSON: No. It's a very serious issue. I mean, part of the problem is that, and I think you frame it well with the Estella issue because the presumption so often is that the only people making noise about it are these obnoxious college kids outside by window.

And they don't, they're not connected to the real world. They're kind of, and granted you actually do need college kids, so it's not great to alienate them either. But it's that presumption, right? Sort of the idea of the, aimless hippies from hair musical Yeah. As opposed to the civil rights, the more organized and disciplined civil rights movement and so forth.

But that's not what's happening. And so when the, I written about the Pelosi situation and I said [00:34:00] it was fascinating that she, gave that interview and made those offensive comments the same day that I'd read in the Sunday Times about the black pastors. And I was like. Joe Biden has been doing the circuit, going to these black churches to sort of drum up support.

And it's like, black people, especially in, the South, especially in these church, they like Joe Biden. Do you know who they like a lot more? Dr. Martin, Luther King. Do you know who the FBI, investigated? because Pelosi was talking about FBI investigations into people and to state that without the history, it's like, well, calling for ceasefire is what Putin wants.

So to connecting it because sure, he might want that. That's different from people of good faith who a long-term, pro-Peace Pro, any sort of resolution. And that was, the challenge for King and I and the, yeah, he was accused to be a Russian [00:35:00] student. Communist. Yeah. and I'd included these things from the FBI report saying like, what he said was con, communist talking points. It's what the com you know, it's what the Soviet Union wants to get out of Vietnam and to, and that threat. So that connection was very real. And to state that is such a disconnect of like, and it's different from, in a way, from as offensive as say, a Republican like Nikki, Haley saying that it's never been a racist country or whatever.

It actually hits harder when it's someone like Pelosi who for a photo op will kind of link arms with other, black democratic politicians and do like, the imaging. The imagery of the civil rights movement. Like a lot of the, we shall overcome stuff and all of the, imagery of it, while also, again, when it's politically in my sort of king column that I'd written.

For King's birthday was sort of okay. What I want people to remember [00:36:00] right now is he was not about, he was fully about peace. Because when you just think that calling for peace against, racist Southerners who are bombing your home, because he wasn't in some Ivy league, Ivy, Tower being sort of clueless about, calling for ceasefires or calling for peace or not responding in violence.

These people were targeting his home. He was still sticking to his, principles. And, I think that speaks to something, and this had been an issue again, at a former place I'd worked and it, one of the reasons I'd gone independent was that there was a big uproar of just even talking about the issue.

So shortly afterward, Margulies had made, the actor had made some really offensive comments about black people. Protesting against some of what Israel was doing in response to the attack and the sort of [00:37:00] the idea that like, we've been here for you. Why aren't you here for us? And I'd commented about how that was sort of paternalistic, also not actually reflective of what's the civil rights movement?

Actual principles, yeah. And principles and so forth. And the response was like, how do you know? Essentially the response of you're an anti-Semite essentially try to shut down the argument. And I sort of said. Okay, fine. And one of the reasons I've gone independent and do independent journalism people know where to find me for that is that, okay, well I have to actually talk about these issues.

One issue, Is that at the same time this is occurring and people are kind of like surprised that any, there's 10, black voters might not turn out or they're dismissing it or they were saying a lot of really offensive stuff about, well, any Muslims who stay home, well Trump's going to do, almost like trauma, like being [00:38:00] relishing in what Trump, a second Trump term might do to any Muslim or, Palestinian American or anyone who would not show up for Biden, well, you're going to deserve what Trump's going to do to you, which is a horrible thing to state.

And I said, well, this is not constructive, this is not helpful. And. Again, if you were to pay attention to these people, if you go to these black barbershops, talk to these young black men who, for them, their lives haven't materially improved since the Trump era to through the Biden era. And I know we've talked about the economy improving, but it hasn't for some of these folks.

But a lot of these people do see it as if, despite the rhetoric of that Democrats will make about what they will do for black voters. If black Americans and how we stand for them, they, it, they'll make it clear to the extent the ends they will go to [00:39:00] for, if it's Israel, if it's Ukraine and it is not being.

Dis, and I've seen it dismissed of like, oh, well it's obviously more complicated than that. They should understand that, and this is, and make these, it's like, okay, well you need to sort of try to explain it, try to empathize why these folks with why these folks feel this way. But I wasn't, you weren't getting that.

It was just sort of like to even think that they should be frustrated and not get that Trump is the existential threat. they don't have the right

SHEFFIELD: to feel frustrated. Yeah, Yeah, and, some of the, I mean, there is, I mean, to be fair of people who are, frustrated with the frustration a lot of it is the case that, when people go and do these interviews and there's a, actually the New York Times has actually done some really good work lately on talking to dissatisfied black voters.

So I have to give them some kudos in that regard. But.[00:40:00]

Because they don't spend money on advocacy media, sometimes Democrats are blamed for things they didn't do

SHEFFIELD: Like part, I mean some of the issue that people have with the Democratic party is a challenge of misinformation. Like they actually don't know that, various things that they would like were blocked by the Republicans. And or in the case, well, or in the case of the child tax credit blocked by Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema.

So like some of the things that people, that you see people in these, interviews are, expressing frustration to Democrats. They're not the fault of Democrats, but it is the fault of Democrats for not having told them,

ROBINSON: oh yeah, this obviously and Donald Trump is scum and the Republican parties have sort of, obviously its base is very different, but.

Republican voters certainly held Republican responsible for failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But one thing that was very clear that Trump did, I mean, he laid into [00:41:00] McCain, John McCain, who had cast that vote. Like it was clear. It was clear that he had, he said that he has betrayed Republicans, he's betrayed America, he's betrayed the cause.

And Biden has always tiptoed around cinema and Manchin. It was always the, fear that they would switch parties will lose control. We couldn't get judges. And, a lot of those arguments could be legitimate. But at the same time, I think when you go in hat in hand to black voters and they're like, well, what happened to our voting rights?

Because during this, these past four years, this is what I. What Republican-run states have been doing of trying to, suppress our vote. What have you done about it? It's like, oh, I couldn't do anything while having control because Cinema and mansion, but he does. But then, but like, here's this cool bipartisan infrastructure deal [00:42:00] I did with them or here's, I, will never say a bad word about them.

And that can be a sort of mixed message. I understand why he had to sort of play it that way, but it can really have that sense of, Democrats aren't at weird situation. Some tremendously awful stuff has happened to key, to marginalized groups. So these anti-trans bills, these anti-gay bills, these, voter suppression bills obviously the horrible abortion bans that were passed on Biden's watch. Now we know that it's not as simple as it's, but at the same time it is as simple as on his watch. Even though it's about it did happen, it's, it, happened. And to run on the kind of, it seems sometimes de their Democrats are still trying to run on the more defensive sense of this is [00:43:00] what De Republic's going to do if you don't elect me, but I'm going to hold the breach.

because that had been the abortion argument for years, right? And, but now that it happens, it has to be like, how are you demonstrably going to stop them from doing what they've already done? Which a slightly different argument. I think that can be very tough. I think, in a way Democrats can struggle with that.

The struggle with like going, sort of the bare-knuckles brawl with Republicans on this and sort of, attacking them. I think again, it was something I'd seen a former colleague had written that had been about, there was a young woman in Florida who is trans and had just, I voted for, Biden in 2020 and like my, I've lost freedoms in the past.

Four years. And it was more of just a primal scream. She wasn't necessarily, she was not going, wasn't necessarily saying that she wasn't going to vote for Biden or was, it's more of just like, I, I did what I [00:44:00] was kind of in a way supposed to do, and now it's still like, what can happen?

And it was again, the response of you dumb idiot. Like, obviously you don't understand how politics work or that, Biden has no control over that. What do you, what's wrong with you? Why are you whining about it? And it's just like, that's just a really, to me, grotesque way of looking at this situation, especially whenever I see the idea that these people in these Republican run states who are living in tyranny should just pack up and move to.

A Democratic-run date that's, incredibly more expensive. And it's like, well, that's not the option.

SHEFFIELD: So how do you're going to get them a job? You're going to get them a house, you're going to get them a professional network that you're going to do all that for, 20 million people. Right. I'd love to see that.

Yeah, no, it is, and it's, a, it's an issue. And so, and some of these things, Biden can't say, but if, Democrats had more media [00:45:00] and if there was an actual liberal media, they could say these things and delivered that message to people that maybe that Biden can't say just out of, reality.

But yeah, they, but they don't. And like the right has invested now billions of dollars in right wing media, and now we're at this point where I. You know, especially they're targeting on YouTube. And YouTube has just become a right-wing cesspool from a political standpoint. And it's largely because the left hasn't even tried to do anything significant.

Matt Gaetz reveals Republican strategy to use misogyny to market to black and Hispanic men

SHEFFIELD: And like, and they're, and now they're pushing out, especially, it doing a big push in the realm of trying, to target. So like Matt Gates for instance, said recently that for every Karen that we alienate as Republicans, there's going to be a Julio and a Jamal who are going to sign up for this.

And, that's bravado and it's ridiculous. But they [00:46:00] actually are going for this. Oh yeah. Like they actually are doing it. You see, like there's been this pro proliferation of, right-wing figures that are black that they're black men, that they're really pushing out there and spending shit loads of money getting in them, in the faces of every black man that they can you know, and it's got to be having some effect.

Otherwise, I don't think they'd keep doing it. Yeah.

ROBINSON: Oh, well, totally Matthew and I, mean, Matt was more correct in that argument than I think Chuck Schumer was in Twenty-sixteen when he was kind of dismissing concerns about erosion of support for Democrats and amongst working-class white voters. He was kind of for, he, I think he literally said, for every.

Voter like that, that we lose, we're going to pick up two more suburban soccer bombs. Which didn't happen, obviously. No. But it also was sort of, well what is that strategy? Because [00:47:00] your, strategy to become Rockefeller Republicans and yet still hold on to per, working, working class black voters and working class Hispanic voters like that seems, yeah.

How's that going to work for you? Like, how is that, going to work for you? And, but with Trump, like MAGA specifically, so the MAGA movement, just very young, far younger than, the Democratic Party. Think of the Democratic Party as very sort of respect of your elders, respect of the leadership.

Wait, your turn type added, the MAGA is very and people call it a cult, but it's also sort of will devour anyone who either steps out of line or it's not producing right? Like, if you've, you lost this election, we're going to get rid of you. You failed to deliver for us, we're going to, it can be ruthless that way.

But it's also a sort of toxic masculinity. So I think when people talk about, dismissing what Gates had said there about like, getting, Julio, Jamaal [00:48:00] and, I, I made fun of him about this as well, but I said, well, he is recognizing that he's being very open about us. That, that it's a home, it's a homophobic, transphobic, a sojournistic toxic male movement above all, that's the theme that seems to be the, if you look, if you list, if you spend like, and God love you if you do this, but if you spent a week in right-wing media of different, any for, that's the theme more than anything. More than like, is there stuff about black people suck or that's always sort of racially charged or is it specifically homo, toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny is the, sort of the defining the unifying message.

The unifying message. And then that's going to grab those folks. Because then it's sort of, especially with the classism, because then it's just sort of, I remember again, sort of that [00:49:00] Ivy league tower liberalism, the idea of like, oh, well, I. Obviously black people get that when, say someone on Fox or a Republican goes on Fox and talks about violent crime and talks about thugs.

He's just saying the N-word. And it was just sort of, well, no, that's literally not the N-word because I just said thug. And I'm not saying the N-word, but also you are presuming that black people specifically in cities aren't concerned about violent crime and don't themselves talk about the thug that broke into my car or my house or whatever, or That, that red, so presuming often that this is the stuff that is, everyone knows is overtly racist, will have the same response. Yeah. And well, it's not like the sort of the coded language and that sort of, and so the idea that, Julio Jamal. Aren't potential gets for MAGA is to me very dangerous because that to [00:50:00] me reflects a lack of awareness of what the, sort of, yes.

You said unifying message of the MAGA movement. Like a lot of like, like Trump running against Haley. I mean, his. The “Nimrada” stuff, for instance, is sort of racist and he's talked about going back where you came from. So like that. But overall, it's very misogynistic. It's male dominance. It's that type of, that's how he goes after people.

In fact, in 2016, I would say people presume that hi, they acted as his whole campaign was, one of drooling racism and certainly that was there. But one would also argue it was essentially toxic masculinity, which is very appealing and dangerous and is a link to most fascist movements. I mean, that is just sort of, it's Unifying principle.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And it's, also useful for them with younger men as well, because [00:51:00] As religiosity has declined and as fundamentalism has declined. You're not, a young black man is not going to be interested in, oh, we have to save America for Jesus, because he'll be just as likely to say, fuck that.

I don't believe in Jesus. It's all imaginary. So that has no purchase for him. But if you tell him, black women are uppity and they're getting out of control and they need to know their place. Some, guys are going to want to hear that because they think that already. And, this is an entree for them for the right wing with them.

Do celebrity endorsements matter?

SHEFFIELD: And, and I think you also see that with some of the outreach that Trump did with basically selling presidential pardons before he left office. He made it a point to go out and find people specifically who were involved in the hip hop, world, and try to get them pardons.

And then it, paid a dividend even with, with Snoop Dogg recently who just came out and said that he's [00:52:00] got no problem with Trump. And likely, of course, related to the fact that Trump pardoned his first record executive friend from back, in the day with death row records.

Like that's so, like there is, they're doing something with this and to just write it off. It's, very, it is very dangerous, as you said, I

ROBINSON: think. Yeah. And there is, if you're a black person against the world, and I saw these voters, there is a sort of a condescending racism that comes from the white left that is sort of very similar, if not arguably worse in certain ways than what comes from the right.

Everyone presumes that the right, they're all Klan members coming after you and so forth. And, I think what happens is for a lot of people of a certain income level or certain background for them is six, one half is the other. So they're going to be like, well, what other, what are the other ways that Trump is going to help me?[00:53:00]

And is it, is it going to fit? Get me a job, gimme economy, or, whatever. Or he, is he going to actually even just listen to me? And I think that seems to, that seems to be important. I remember and I had written about this, it's like, Biden probably shouldn't list upon his list of achievements for the black community, what he's done for black people in the past four years to be a black Supreme Court justice and a black Vice president.

It sort of is, those are great things. But for, and that Jamal, it's just what? Like, okay, I'm glad that very successful white me at all. Yes. Especially it's like, and it sucks that Ketanji Brown Jackson, who's wonderful, was nominated during this time, but it's like, yeah, the Supreme, nothing about the Supreme Court is good.

And it's not like she tipped the balance or whatever. When Trump's gloating about Supreme Court picks, it's because I tipped the balance of the court and here's where we are kicking butt with the [00:54:00] courts. But here it's just like, yeah. So I nominated a black lady to the Supreme Court.

I kept that promise. And then that same Supreme Court, I mean, she didn't vote for it obviously, but it's over that overturned Roe, v. Wade is not, it, winds up being that form of, I would say shallow identity politics, right? Because again, Jamal Julio, they don't care. Like they don't care that certain.

High status people who wouldn't live in their neighborhoods anyway. Right. Even if they are the same race or, and that's sort of, and I think Republicans have been leveraging on that sense of the going after the elites and that sort of thing in a way, because it's yeah, why do this person doesn't even live in your neighborhood, won't stop in your neighborhood?

And he's saying that like, look, I've, here's how I gave this person who was already well off a raise is not going to hit, doesn't hit in the same way. because they can't then translate it to a different specific way. Their lives have been improved. [00:55:00] Yeah.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. No, that's true.

How much does Kamala Harris help or hurt Democrats with black Americans?

SHEFFIELD: And well, I guess the, elephant in the room on this discussion though is Kamala Harris I think, it's. I think at this point, people seem to have realized that yeah, people don't really

ROBINSON: like her. And

SHEFFIELD: and that's true across races and geographies and whatever you want to say. I mean, it was,

ROBINSON: I would, interject. I say I think I, I do think black voters think highly of her.

I don't, that sometimes does not always show up in the approval polls. I think I, I think it's usually like Nikki, Haley likes to try to fear monger about a president Kamala. And I think when you do it that way, in a way that can really. Get sort of black voters more defensive of, supportive of Harris in a sense of like, okay, don't, trash her.

That type of thing. Well, because she's using

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. because I mean that actually is a racist [00:56:00] attack, basically. Yeah. Because she's using anti-blackness as a way of propping herself up as a

ROBINSON: non-white person. Yeah. But I think I would agree with you. Otherwise he's not sort of, and I've again gotten into lots of trouble for this as well, but I was like, yeah, I mean I, it was a sort of, I was writing about this in 2020, which was that, okay, well Biden's going to be Biden's mortal.

Here's what eight years is going to look like. And that's the commitment you're making to eight years. Yet there was all these people talking about, oh, well Biden will retire, not run for again. Or they was like, well, none of that will happen. That does not happen. That will never happen. I. Are we going to commit to Biden for eight years?

And then people made that choice, like, okay, we're committing to him for eight years. And then, four years later, people were saying, so do you think he's not going to run again? Do you think you're going to, no, that's not the, that's not going to happen. And I think there is some concern we don't know to the extent [00:57:00] that in key swing states, and I think that's what Haley would want it to be that it's winds up being this proxy fight between VP.

Everyone's like, Trump's either going to go to jail or die, or Biden's going to die. And so it's really about Harris versus, but I think to the extent that a lot of Indy who might not like Harris or might be skittish about her in say, Wisconsin Michigan, the benefit of the Dobbs decision is that they will vote for.

The policy, the people who are going to come out and Grant Stoneman is like, okay, well I want to make sure that there's no nor National abortion ban. I want to protect these things. I want to protect, this is a DA Republican party that can't govern. God forbid they get the White House. This is what I'm going to vote for.

And so that I think helps us with moderates and independents in those areas. I mean, I think there are, I think the drawback, the [00:58:00] risk would be in those states if there are right-leaning, voters who say had voted for Romney, I. Gave Trump a chance in 2016. Just couldn't bear it in 2020 because they thought he was so terrible.

But would gladly come back and vote for a Republican and support Republican policies if they kind of thought, okay, well maybe he'll then go to jail or die. And then Nikki Haley will be president. What's good though is that Nikki Haley's continued presence in the primary and infuriating Trump guarantees that won't happen.

He will, in no circumstance, will he choose her. And I do think he's not going to choose any Republican who would present as materially less MAGA to voters. You've seen how his own MAGA surrogates have crashed and burned in in 2020, in 2022 and key states from [00:59:00] Kerry Lake.

He candidates. Yeah. Yeah. And I think that if you were to pick, say. Obviously not even Carrie Lake, but I think Kristi Noem would not be a candidate who would do well as a VP for those already kind of done with MAGA Center-Right. Voters. So I do think that for good or for Ill, it's Trump Biden and only Trump Biden, there's no proxy there.

Trump Biden, and I hate to say thank thanks for Dobbs, but in a way, Dobbs that ruling. Did I think, without that ruling, do Democrats carry this hold the Senate? Do they in 2022 I'm not, I, actually am not sure. So I do think that has motivated voters and given a singular purpose specifically to independent voters that can benefit us.

And then in 2028, I think I, I find it highly [01:00:00] unlikely that Harris would. When a actual contested primary, but what's your thought there?

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, it doesn't seem likely to me. I mean, she, I mean, she dropped out in 2020 before even a single vote had been cast. because she knew she was going to lose California.

her own home state. And I think she is actually a really great example of kind of this, this is a Sella mentality and, demographic problem that the Democratic Party has. Whereas if you were to compare her to, let's say, Raphael Warnock or Val Demings, or, like.

there, there are plenty of black politicians who are much better connected to regular Americans and of any race. and it's certainly in regards to the black like she just, she was always just doing her own. And, and it's not something wrong with her.

I'm not saying that as a [01:01:00] criticism because she is who she is. But the reality is that people, they want somebody who is appealing and, who they trust, as you said. And, somebody who can explain themselves in a, way that is meaningful

ROBINSON: and Yeah. And she doesn't have that.

And, I don't give her will. Jasmine Crockett sounds like someone who's taught, like, I, I have no reason to believe. And I'm sure you're the same way that there was a staff that got together and said. Wrote her remarks like, oh yeah, this lion's going to kill and we focus, focus tested this. Yeah. She go out just from the heart.

Yeah. And whereas most people, that's how they view that Harris is just from lines and so forth, and not particularly being authentic. And I know that it's supposed to be sexist to say that a candidate should be authentic, but I don’t know, these are still popularity contests

SHEFFIELD: and there's plenty of women who are.

ROBINSON: Yeah, exactly. Interesting Matthew because the writer and me again [01:02:00] in this plays and so forth, I do think there's with Nikki Haley's attacks against Harris I find fascinating because to me it's like, they are very similar in the sense of. I felt that there was no, they didn't themselves have a rationale for their campaign.

I mean, other than wanting to win, which is, more people want to win, but you need more than that. because then when, whenever she, whenever Haley opens her mouth, sometimes it well, what is it? Who is this for? Who are you trying to appeal to? What is your strategy? What is your plan?

And there was often some concerns, the same concerns I had with Harris. And, I think Haley is still there because there's obviously then there are donors and people who are desperate for Trump to not be the nominee in a way that wasn't there. So the money quickly dried up for Harris. So I, but without that dynamic, I do think, ha, I mean, Haley wasn't necessarily polling any better than Harris was.

And certainly. Was is on track to lose her [01:03:00] home state. And it's a, you'd be a shocking state of affairs that Trump will get nominated again. It's it says a lot about the party that no one will say. Right?

SHEFFIELD: Oh yeah, no, absolutely. And I guess maybe let's wrap with a, I want to talk about that. So there is, there, there is some dialogue about kind of this interplay that we've been talking about, this whole conversation here on the left.


Why a economic message will never be enough for the left

SHEFFIELD: there's this idea, I, and this is especially true more with white leftist socialist types but not only them, like this idea that, you can just completely throw away


SHEFFIELD: Matters of, of race or of, sexism or, various identities that people can have of religion, whatever.

But you can just toss those away. And what you need to have is only focus on, the economic message and the class warfare [01:04:00] idea. And if you just did that, it would work. And I'm, it is, it didn't work. It never worked for Bernie Sanders. So like But people are still saying this and it's just, it's like you have to say, you have to have more than one message.

Because Oh,

ROBINSON: absolutely. This is a big country. And I apologize for probably And these issue,

SHEFFIELD: oh, sorry. No, and, the issues that they're linked as well, like, the people who want to oppress. Transgender people are also the ones who want to, EE step, take away the civil rights of black people who are also wanting to take away the civil rights of non-Christians.

Like, it's the same people who are doing all this stuff. And if you can't understand these things are all linked together, then you know you're not going to, you can't build anything

ROBINSON: if you, yeah, As I, I apologize. It's probably too complicated answer to get into. I'll just say quickly. I think that one of the issues is that sometimes in politics, personal was so mixed up with message.

So there's issues of like, here are campaign [01:05:00] problems that Sanders had, I believed, does that dispute what his kind of larger campaign purpose might have been? Who knows? But as you say, it didn't work twice, right? But it also at the same time, you're like, oh, right, you, why did you do this? Why did you take this strategy?

In kind of committing to that message, I do think that the, yeah, you are right. Like the argument is like, and Democrats have a problem with this as well, of fairness, so pushing fairness. So the idea of the problem with a lot of these anti-trans laws is not some sort of Ivy Tire thing. It's like you are pushing trans people out of the public sphere.

They can't work, they can't live. And that is an economic issue. Like most of these issues are, there are ways to make it sort of, here's like the key, [01:06:00] because ultimately the scrimmage, I mean, that's where King was going before he died was idea of it. Things of like, I think he is even quoted as saying. What good is it to be able to enter the restaurant, to be able to ride wherever you want on the bus if you can't afford the bus fare, if you can't get into the re if you can't eat at the restaurant, right.

So like there's, yeah, you want to get the, you want to get the rights, but you don't want to create it to a system of where the system is still a sort of, a, pre, a one where it's all about wealth. So it's like, oh, we fixed it so that me, I, myself as a well-off black person, I can live comfortably and, thanks for helping me, poor black person, but actually now you're, your life is not, I'm going to stay

SHEFFIELD: in the talented 10th and you can stay down there in

ROBINSON: the nineties.

Yeah. And so I do think that becomes, that is a challenge, but I think threading that needle has been very difficult [01:07:00] for Democrats. And so, and actually connect, like what is, what does. Racism mean. So I think that's been a problem. The idea of like, okay, well don't vote for Trump, working class black person, Trump's a racist.

Well what does that mean? And I think also for the Acela quarter person, it's like, yeah, if you're a white person, it's like you, it's like you probably don't, you've worked for your, you've probably worked for your first share of jerks, right? But not many of them were overtly racist to you as a white male.

Right. But like the idea that, okay, well I've had, if you're a working class black person, it's like, I've worked with tons, I've had tons of bosses who I thought were racist, but some were better at making sure I got a paycheck every week than some of the others. And so it's, again, it comes to six of one half does the other thing, you need to sort of translate what Trump is doing in ways that are going to cater to that.

Like making it about, oh my God, he got rid of [01:08:00] DEI, he got rid of these, CRT in ways. I mean, I do think Jamal is like, okay, what? Like, oh wait, like I don't necessarily know what those things are, and if I did, I don't study them in college, and I just This is, you're, not connecting to me on a way that motivates me to support, especially a lot of democracy is at And the risk type thing.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. No, that's, well that is definitely true. The, idea of telling people democracy is at risk. Like, what the fuck does that even mean? If you're, if you're a person, making minimum wage and you were working three jobs, what the, who cares?

ROBINSON: Well, I just, it was such a, it was such a theme of people being like, well, if he follows Robert Mueller, we're going to take to the streets.

It's like, why do you think anyone would like, how does that translate to, but yeah, so sort of the idea of our systems and our institutions. [01:09:00] That's what democracy is, as opposed to, oh, here's what a damaged Trump has done to our institutions and we won't have a democracy in these years.

The problem is, it's like, well, do you think there was a, and I think a lot of white liberals have to answer that question. Do you think America was a functioning democracy in the fifties? Like most of the time you just think it's like the movie Grease. You don't, you think it was fine? In fact, when you want to sort of project the idea of a horrible, dystopian society, you use fiction like the Handmaid's Tale as opposed to a reality we've already had.

And so you need to sort of thread the needle of like, here's how Trump's going to make it like 1955 for black people. I think that draws people out. But I think the idea that like, no, he's just going to fill the White House with cronies and, Yeah. Only have acting attorney generals. I think that just that scares the morning Joe crowd certainly, and me, but I'm not, [01:10:00] those voters are trying to win over.

Yeah. If you

SHEFFIELD: like. Yeah. If, you feel like in your own life that institutions have not helped you and they have failed you, and you just as assume based on your experience that racism is baked into the cake, no matter what, then these, messages mean nothing to you. So, but at the same time, you have to figure out a way to get people to understand like, this, these things are real.

I like, I, think you know, the. To go back to the Dobbs case that, I think a lot of women were willing to vote for Republicans because they really didn't think That Roe versus Wade was at risk for them. And, of course, Republicans were lying and telling them they weren't going to do it.

But now that it's actually happening, and a lot of people are, saying, they actually are trying to take away my rights. And they are, and they're, putting all these restrictions on me. And, they, all these ballot initiatives they pass [01:11:00] because a significant percentage of Republicans vote for them to protect abortion rights.

And, it's, I mean, it is tricky. It's, there's, it's, there's no one, one answer, no one size fits all. But you got to, you can't put people into one box and tell them only one thing. I think that's the overall takeaway, if I may say, when.

ROBINSON: Yeah, I agree. Yeah. All right.

SHEFFIELD: Well I think that should do it for us here today. I appreciate you joining the program here. So you are on various social media places at SER-AT-NINETY-SEVEN. What is that? Signifying?

ROBINSON: 1 8 9 7 was a storyline on the old Dark Shadows TV show. I am a fan of that TV show and one of my upcoming podcasts.

I'll have a guest who will speak about that show as well. So thank you for bringing it up. Allowed me to make that very subtle p plug.

SHEFFIELD: Okay. Awesome. And then of course [01:12:00] people can also get you at Playtyperguy.com as well. Thank you.

 All right, so that is the program for today. I appreciate everybody for joining us for the discussion. And of course, you can always get more episodes if you go to theoryofchange.show, you can get the video, audio and transcript of all the episodes.

I appreciate everybody for subscribing. Make sure to do that on whatever platform you're watching whether podcast or YouTube et cetera. And if you want to get the show over on Patreon, just go to Patreon.com slash Discover Flux. If you're a paid subscriber on Patreon or Substack, you are will get full access to all the episodes.

And you'll also get access to the other two podcasts that I'm hosting right now, Doom Scroll. And so this just happened. So please do check those out and visit us over at flux.community as well. So that's it for this one. I will see you next time.

Theory of Change Podcast With Matthew Sheffield
Lots of people want to change the world. But how does change happen? Join Matthew Sheffield and his guests as they explore larger trends and intersections in politics, religion, technology, and media.