America’s first African-American billionaire thinks the Democrats have gone “too far to the left”. He offered up a little advice to the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates – move to the middle before it is too late.
Black Entertainment Television founder Robert Johnson is a longtime Democrat and supported Hillary Clinton in 2016. He calls himself a moderate Democrat and that’s the rub. Johnson is speaking out now to advise the candidates to stop the lurch to the far left if there is any hope of defeating President Trump in the presidential election. Political partisanship, he says, has gotten “very wicked and very mean”. It’s hard to argue with that assessment.
America’s political establishment is riven with partisanship that has become “very wicked and very mean,” said entrepreneur and media mogul Robert Johnson, who added that the Democratic Party has become too liberal for his liking.
“The party in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” Johnson, the founder of cable network BET and RLJ Companies business network, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble Tuesday.
Boldly going where few black Americans go, Johnson praises President Trump for the booming American economy, the best in years by all measurements. He did what other prominent black public figures refuse to do. He acknowledged that African-American unemployment is at it’s all-time lowest level and that the tax cuts allowed the economy to take off. Johnson gives President Trump an A+ on the economy.
“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employment and the opportunities that come with employment … so African-American unemployment is at its lowest level, ” Johnson said.
“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” he said. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”
Johnson acknowledged that Trump’s style of leadership may turn off some people but it’s Trump’s style. He said Trump could be a little less of a “showman”. I don’t know about that. I think it is Trump’s showman style that attracted a lot of his supporters in the first place. Trump garnered the most attention in the 2016 Republican primary due to his way of communicating and his ability to market himself as a candidate. His success in making himself the non-politician type of candidate who relates to the average voter, the ones who felt left out for so many years, was his greatest asset. Johnson admits that business people are worried about partisan politics that don’t allow Democrats to work with President Trump.
The truth is that the Democrats are trying desperately to run on a narrative that the economy is not doing well and that everyone is struggling with two or three jobs to simply put food on the table. The numbers show a different story. Does anyone think that if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election that the level of success seen by the Trump administration would be in place now from her economic policies? Say what you will about his personal style, Trump delivers. He does what he says he is going to do.
“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” he said.
Some didn’t appreciate Johnson’s remarks in the CNBC interview. A piece at The Root online takes umbrage at Johnson’s nod to the American economy. While the quotes stop just short of calling Mr. Johnson an Uncle Tom, the desire to play the race card and deny giving any credit to Trump is obvious.
Johnson’s line about black unemployment being at its “lowest level” echoes a frequent Trump talking point when the current occupant of the Oval Office attempts to make some connection with “the blacks.”
But the commentary never seems to take into account the fact that black unemployment remains the highest in the nation among racial groups, and almost twice that of the national rate overall and the rate for white people alone, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The Root piece goes on to proclaim the kind of change that would be brought from Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and Julián Castro are preferable for African-Americans. LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter, clapped back with the charge that Johnson isn’t working class now so his remarks sound as though he’s living under a rock.
“Bob Johnson is not working class. He does not reflect the issue, nor does he even seem like he has the ability to speak to the issues of the working class,” Brown told The Fix. “For him, to make a statement that this tax break has been helpful for black people — where has he been? Under a rock? There’s all kind of reports that have come out that this tax benefit disproportionately benefited the wealthy and not the working class. In and of itself, to make that statement says to me that he’s simply out of touch.”
Another critic agreed that Johnson is out of step.
Adrianne Shropshire, executive director of the Black Pac, echoed Brown’s sentiments, telling the Post:
“[W]hile Mr. Johnson may share the interests of millionaires and billionaires, he’s out of step with black voters.”
Johnson isn’t supporting any of the candidates currently running. The party has moved too far to the left and he knows American voters are turning off to the messages being put forward. Joe Biden is the one who is supposed to be the centrist able to garner enough support to beat President Trump in the general election. Yet he continues to remind people old enough to remember what a lousy candidate he is and is being pushed to sound like all the rest of the candidates. Mr. Johnson is right. Trump deserves credit for low unemployment and an economy humming along thanks to his economic policies. It’s driving Democrat candidates nuts.