*(Via LA Time) – Democrats have never been more confident that their chances of hanging onto the White House hinge on black voters, who helped tip key states toward President Obama — but they have never been less confident, it seems, about how to talk to them..
The Black Lives Matter campaign is seeing to it that the rules they relied on for courting the vote no longer apply.
The potent social media-driven movement, sparked in the aftermath of Florida teen Trayvon Martin’s 2012 shooting death and reignited in the racial unrest in response to the deaths of other unarmed African Americans at the hands of police over the last year, has 2016 contenders scrambling to adjust their strategies. The protesters involved are proving masterful at refocusing the spotlight.
Candidates who might otherwise have been complacent, given their high marks on legislative report cards from the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and endorsements from an older generation of black leaders, have had to more directly confront uncomfortable questions of racial inequality and the mistreatment of blacks by the criminal justice system.
“We want to ensure that these candidates will actually deal with the issues that black people face,” said Patrisse Cullors, a movement cofounder from Los Angeles. “The reality is that it’s still not legal to be black in this country.”
The group’s demands weighed heavily on discussions Friday at a major conference of the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale, where candidates of both parties sparred over the best approach for improving the lives of African Americans. Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton dived deep into the challenges of being black in America and the structural racism embedded in the country’s culture and economy. Jeb Bush, a Florida Republican, tried to relate his conservative growth agenda to minority empowerment.
Both heavyweights had found themselves pushed off balance by Black Lives Matter before the conference.
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