The goal of the outreach effort, which will include direct mail, radio and digital ads and social media, is to highlight efforts of the Black caucus and Democrats in Congress to address issues that matter most to disengaged voters, then urge them to go to take action by going to the polls.
Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-N.Y.), chair of the CBC PAC, said it was “absolutely urgent” to motivate infrequent voters as Democrats look to expand their majority in the House and to try to take over the Senate. The 31 House districts on the CBC’s target list include current members, as well as challengers, and candidates who represent all races and ethnicities.
“The CBC [is] known to be the conscience of the Congress and we continue to work hard to combat racism and fight for criminal justice and police reforms, health care and a covid recovery plan that gets people back to work,” Meeks said. But some of their initiatives have ended up in “Mitch McConnell’s graveyard,” he said, referring to the Republican Senate majority leader who has refused to take action on some legislation sent over by the House.
Cornell Belcher, president of Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, who conducted polling for the campaign, said the Congressional Black Caucus is “a more credible voice” for these infrequent Black voters than the generic party apparatus. Belcher, who did polling during former president Barack Obama’s campaigns, said that 5 million voters who turned out to reelect Obama in 2012 stayed home in 2016. He said these voters needed to be made to feel that voting will make a difference in their lives.
“We talked to young African Americans going into the election, and their number one issue is justice and policing, and none of them had any idea that the CBC has been fighting their tails off to get the George Floyd Justice and Policing Act passed,” Belcher said. “So they don’t think anyone is really fighting for them and connecting with their issues. So part of our job is actually to tell the story of Democrats in Congress … and what they’re fighting for and what their vision is so that they’ll be enthusiastic about going down ballot.”
A key feature of the outreach effort is a digital ad called “The Talk,” a nod to the conversations that generations of Black parents have had to have with their children, especially their sons, about how to safely navigate a society that sees them as threatening and could harm them. “Now we have to have the talk about voting, because our issues have become life or death.”