Andrew Gillum: Florida is the only state ‘that could deny Donald Trump single handedly a second term’
Just over a year ago Andrew Gillum was the darling of the national Democratic party, on the verge of becoming Florida’s first black governor. But that never came to fruition. The former Tallahassee mayor lost the gubernatorial race by .4 points in the poll to the eventual governor, Ron DeSantis. It was a crushing blow in a race that the entire country seemed to be tuned into.
But it’s something Gillum says he learned from. In a sit down interview with Yahoo News ahead of last week’s Democratic debate in Atlanta, Gillum admits there were areas he feels he could have done better. “I was attacked in a lot of ways, but one being a socialist,” he said. “And I think I didn't totally grasp the weight of that attack. Had I had it to do again, I would have taken that attack more serious and it, it would have been much more outright and forthcoming in pushing back on that.”
The defeat hasn’t stopped Gillum’s political career in the least. At the top of the year Gillum became one of CNN’s newest political commentators. In March, he also launched a massive voter registration campaign in an effort to turn Florida blue. And just last month, several reports said Gillum has been in talks with Sen. Elizabeth Warren as a potential vice presidential running mate. But Gillum laughed off these reports saying, “It's the one thing in life I definitely don't have a choice around.”
One thing Gillum does have a choice on is aiding the eventual 2020 Democratic nominee in winning his home state. He says Florida is “the only state on the map right now that could deny Donald Trump single handedly a second term.” Last month he tweeted many of his friends running have reached out and asked him how to win Florida.
“It's a state that you have to work,” he said. “We're an insanely close state and [for] a state like ours you can't just campaign to to people of color in my state as if they're a monolith. I don't care who the democratic nominee is. … My job, based off the work that we're trying to do in Florida right now, by registering and reengaging a million voters is to be able to create Florida to be the state that regardless of who our nominee is, we're able to produce a win for them.”
The race for Florida has come down to the wire in the last few elections on the national and federal level. “Barack Obama won Florida by one point, both times,” said Gillum. “Donald Trump won the state by one point. The last five nominees for governor of the state of Florida have lost the state by one point, and in my case by .4%, right?” But Gillum says it’s not enough to run on an anti-President Trump agenda. He believes that voters have already made their opinion on him.
“Elections are won on the future and not the past,” Gillum said. “I think we need a nominee and a vice presidential nominee who's going to be concentrated on painting that kind of a futuristic vision and now one about whether Donald Trump is bad or not. I've already made my decision about that, and have, frankly most voters have as well.”
Mayor Pete Buttigieg is the new bullseye of the 2020 Democratic field and it’s because he’s doing well in Iowa. Buttigieg has been surging in Iowa polls since August, up more than 15 points in most major polls over that stretch. Currently, he outpaces his second closest competitor in Sen. Elizabeth Warren by 9 points in the latest Des Moines Register/CNN poll.
But not everyone is buying the success across the board. In fact, polls show the South Bend, Indiana mayor is doing poorly resonating with black Democratic voters. In South Carolina, Buttigieg is polling at zero percent with this group, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
Yahoo News spoke to voters in Atlanta, ahead of last week’s Democratic debate and many agreed that Buttigieg’s sexuality was a big reason why black voters were not on board. “His personal life is overshadowing what he’s talking about policy wise,” said one voter. “People can’t see past his sexuality.”
Following the debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ top surrogate, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, told Yahoo News that there’s “obviously” a disconnect among Buttigieg and black voters. Adversely, Tuner said Sanders has been putting in the work in African-American communities for decades and travels to South Carolina often to show that he is committed to their issues. “Decade after decade he has proven himself, where there is injustice he is stepping up. … And he’s gone to South Carolina over 10 times because he wants the African-American community to know he wants to earn their vote.”
Other Democratic candidates also realize Buttigieg’s momentum and they’re doing everything they can to slow it down. In last week’s debate, the South Bend, Indiana mayor was called out seven times by his opponents, the most of any other candidate. During the debate, Sen. Kamala Harris laughed when she was asked about Buttigieg’s prediction that the Democratic primary is a two-person race between him and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Harris called his comments "naive."
An unlikely voice in Martin Luther King III sees promise in Buttigieg and what he can bring to the table. He doesn’t see his sexuality an issue. “I think it’s a matter of people getting to know him and I think the more that people get to know and hear and see, I think his numbers grow,” King III said. “And I think it’s only upside for him. I don’t see a down side.”
In an effort to show his seriousness to address concerns within the Black community, Buttigieg released the Frederick Douglass Plan, which he calls “A Comprehensive Investment in the Empowerment of Black America.” The plan lays out how Buttigieg would seek to take bold steps toward fulfilling long-broken promises of true equity through health care, criminal justice reform and more. It’s a start. But for many critics, Buttigieg presents more questions than answers.
ATLANTA, Ga. — There are roughly 1.6 million black men currently living in Georgia and research indicates 67,000 of them are at risk of not being counted in the 2020 census, according to the non-profit Fair Count. This could cost their communities approximately $154 million a year in funding for the next ten years. That’s why former Georgia Democratic Leader Stacey Abrams is taking on a new challenge, through Fair Count, of ensuring hard-to-count populations that include blacks, Hispanics, renters and young men are properly counted during the 2020 U.S. Census.
It’s something Abrams says President Trump and Republicans don’t want to see happen.
“I think that the Trump administration has intentionally defunded the census and created confusion,” said Abrams. “Because that administration does not respect the whole of what makes America, America. … [That’s why] my responsibility, when it comes to Fair Count, is to ensure that the Trump administration is not allowed to erase people from our state, and not allowed to diminish the importance of Black Men in our communities.”
The Black Men Count initiative under Fair Count is a priority of the organization. It was launched in May with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other black male leaders from across the state of Georgia coming together to acknowledge the challenges of having the proper figures for black male populations.
“We want to make sure that history doesn’t repeat itself and that black men aren’t under-counted,” said Holder. “Because there’s an effort out there to try to keep us from being counted.”
The census directs billions of dollars in federal funding to states and guides reapportionment and redistricting for the next decade. Proper headcount means communities get the appropriate funding they deserve for the resources they need. Based on the latest census estimates, roughly 20 percent of Georgians live in hard-to-count neighborhoods.
“We're hoping to mobilize black men at the beginning of the year, when the census is actually active and engage them to make sure that they actually turn out and are counted,” said Ed Reed, a Fair Count community organizer who’s responsible for staffing Black Men Count. “I think as much as we can do to educate people the direct impacts in their neighborhoods, in their classroom, in their families, in their homes, I think that will go a long way.”
In the 2010 Census, the black population had the highest undercount rate of any racial and ethnic group. Additionally, black men typically experience higher undercount rates because the family structure varies from family to family. But this doesn’t mean each person cannot be accounted for says Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of the Gathering Spot.
“Representation matters. Young people simply don't see their voice in this process,” said Smith. “And so this is an opportunity to have a much larger conversation about telling folks that they do matter, and that ultimately that when we can get them counted, the resources ... will have an impact in their lives.”
DES MOINES, Iowa — In an era in which religion and politics have frequently been used to create division and dissension, the pastor of a historic church is instead trying to utilize them for higher purposes.
“Religion and politics should be partners for humanity,” says Rev. Jonathan Whitfield, senior pastor of the Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines.
Founded in 1898, Rev. Whitfield’s church is one of the oldest historically African-American churches in the city. And since its inception, Whitfield says, Corinthian has “brought forth a very consistent foundational spirit of inspiration of worship to God.”
That was the message that presidential candidate Kamala Harris heard — and echoed — when she attended services there last Sunday. Harris visited the church as part of a five-day, 17-stop campaign swing. She is not underestimating the importance of Iowa, which will hold the first caucus in the nation on Feb. 3, and hopes to regain the momentum she enjoyed after a strong showing in the early round of debates.
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to parishioners at Corinthian Baptist Church on August 11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) speaks to parishioners at Corinthian Baptist Church on August 11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Harris spoke from a lectern about the importance of the church in her life, and in the life of the country.
“It is the church where we go when we need upliftment,” she said to the congregation of about 200. “It is the church where we go when times like these test our faith and we need to be reminded of all of Christ’s teachings and what Jesus has taught us about the good in people.”
Former President Barack Obama and President Trump have divided America, according to popular radio host Charlamagne Tha God. Charlamagne, the lead voice of “The Breakfast Club,” a nationally syndicated morning radio show originating in New York City, says the reason you hear an increase of hate-filled stories and see more overt racism today is a direct result of the country’s current and immediate past president.
“Donald Trump has a lot to do with that over the past couple years, but I also think Barack had a lot to do with that too,” Charlamagne said in a sit-down interview with Yahoo News’ Marquise Francis. “We fail to realize when you’re on the other side. If you voted for Barack you were probably happy, so you were probably in your echo chamber and you were with your people who loved Barack too. But you didn’t see the other side of America who was extremely pissed off that it was a black man in the White House.”
The statistics support Charlamagne’s theory. Counties that hosted a 2016 Trump rally saw a 226% increase in hate crimes, according to a new Washington Post study. Charlamagne admits that the motivation behind Trump and Obama are vastly different, adding that Trump is dividing the country intentionally, while Obama did so unintentionally.
Charlamagne, author of a 2018 best-selling book on anxiety titled “Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks on Me”, continued that he has parental anxiety in raising his two daughters in the current climate. “I have a lot of fears and concerns and I don’t even know if they’re justified,” he said. “My daughter is in the fifth grade right now, and she’s one of the only minorities in her grade, so I often wonder if she’s around enough of her own people and I wonder what those kids are being taught at home.”
Radio host Charlamagne tha God of “The Breakfast Club” in New York City discusses his parental anxiety as he raises three daughters in a different environment than he grew up and how social media plays a major role. He adds that PTSD for Black Americans is real. "Seeing people get shot at is not normal...that's not culture, that's pain. We've got to heal."
He went on to tell an anecdote of a recent encounter he had with an elementary school student while dropping off his daughter at her school for cheerleading practice. The student initially called Charlamagne a criminal because of the way he looked, but after the two shook hands, the child’s attitude became more positive. Still, the initial assessment struck Charlamagne as ominous, evidence of racist stereotypes being foisted on young and impressionable minds.
The film adaptation of “If Beale Street Could Talk” won an Oscar this week, with Regina King earning the Best Supporting Actress award. The film, directed by Barry Jenkins, brought to life a novel by the acclaimed author and social critic James Baldwin, who memorialized love and injustice in 1970s New York. It’s a love story about Tish and Fonny, a young couple from Harlem, who forge an unbreakable bond in the face of an unforgiving and racially biased world. “If Beale Street Could Talk” tells the story of New York through tough times — representing many of the same issues black people continue to face today.
Baldwin has long been synonymous with black pride and New York City. Born in Harlem in 1924, he published “If Beale Street Could Talk” some 50 years later, a time when the city was reeling from social and economic turmoil. His writing helped others understand the plight of black Americans during this time period, and it also expressed some of own struggles of living as a gay and bisexual black man when it was far less accepted. “The responsibility of a writer is to excavate the experience of the people who produced him,” Baldwin once said in a 1971 conversation with fellow writer and activist Nikki Giovanni. Baldwin was New York and New York was Baldwin.
Through “Beale Street” Baldwin encouraged black people to fight for equality. He also showed people how to love, how to dream and how to believe. More than four decades later, the legacy of this tale is still relevant. “Uncle Jimmy was able to articulate some of the things people are frustrated with right now,” Trevor Baldwin, nephew of James Baldwin, said. “I think we all need someone who existed before us who we identified with. And Uncle Jimmy is famous for saying, when asked [about] being born black, poor and gay, he said he hit the jackpot.”
It was important for the filmmakers to capture the spirit of the novel by including places and locations that brought an older Harlem to life again. “In the book, Harlem is their place of hope,” Samson Jacobson, the locations manager for the film said. “It’s this big expansive universe where anything is possible and they’re the safest in that world.”
Showman’s Jazz Club was one of the bars used for a scene in the movie. Established in 1942 adjacent to the famed Apollo theater, it became a place where musicians took a break from performing on the big stage to play for people that could not get into the sold-out shows. “We keep up the tradition that makes sure we are Harlem musicians,” bar manager Mona Lopez said.
Actor Ebony Obsidian, who played Fonny’s sister Adrianne Hunt in “Beale Street,” said, “We have so much beautiful black content today because people feel represented. That’s the world that they see.” She added that Baldwin was able to properly convey the reality of the world around him. “Camaraderie and connection is a huge part of how New York works. … That’s the world that Baldwin lived in.”
I sat down with outspoken rapper Killer Mike the week of the Democratic debates to talk about his thoughts on 2020, where the country is and where it needs to go.
lives by one word: achievement. in anything and everything, achieve.