Sen Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass was delivering a speech at Clark Atlanta University in Georgia, a historically black college, when she was interrupted by a group of African American women who were irate about her opposition to charter schools. According to the Hill Newspaper, the black women were part of a group called the Powerful Parent Network. They shouted, “Our voice! Our choice!” The crowd that had come to hear the speech tried to drown out the protestors by chanting, “Warren! Warren!”
At one point, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, who had introduced Warren, took to the stage and tried to calm the protestors.
“No one is here to quiet you,” Pressley said. “You are welcome here. The senator is here to talk about the contributions fighters like you have made to history, so in this moment…there are many people that do not know this story because we have been rendered as a historical footnote in history. So I am going to appeal to you to not dishonor that history.”
“We are grateful for your activism and your voice and you are welcome here and we would love to convene after this about the issue that you are here to stoke our consciousness about,” the representative added.
Pressley is part of the so-called “squad” of radical House members, which also includes Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has broken with her fellow congresswomen by supporting Warren rather that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
The members of the Powerful Parent Network are angry because Warren wants to ban for-profit charter schools and federal funding for charter schools. Her education plan, in effect, declares war on Charter Schools, which Warren believes are corrupt and controlled by corporate interests. She prefers that federal government efforts be concentrated on buttressing public schools.
Ironically, as a local NPR affiliate noted, Warren’s speech was dedicated to the history of black women in politics. A former teacher, the Senator told the audience, “As a white woman, I will never fully understand the discrimination, the pain, the harm that black Americans have experienced. I’m not here tonight to tell you about a painful history that black Americans have experienced and know all too well.” ‘
The parents’ group that started to shout her down seemed to attempt to tell her that painful history is still alive and is being inflicted on the black community from the left. Many African Americans believe that charter schools, which are free from many of the bureaucratic dictates that the public-school system operates under, are the one hope their children have of getting a good education.
The UK Guardian suggests that Warren has a problem attracting African American voters, which she will need to win the Democratic nomination for president, not to mention the general election.
“It was an undeniably inauspicious start to Warren’s pitch to black voters, whose support she will need to win the Democratic presidential nomination. Much of the coverage of the 2020 race so far has focused on the mostly white states of Iowa and New Hampshire, which vote first and second in the Democratic primary. However, the race will then shift to more diverse states, and any candidate who wants a chance at becoming the nominee will need to win over black voters.”
Warren’s main base of support consists of highly educated, white liberals. Former Vice President Joe Biden, at least for now, enjoys the support of the vast majority of African American voters, mainly because of his association of being former President Barack Obama’s vice president. Biden has been seen as faltering, primarily because of his age and his tendency to say alarming things on the stump. Warren is currently fading thanks to the challenger of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who ironically also has problems with African American voters.
Gallup notes that President Donald Trump, as has been true for Republicans on the national level since the 1960s, enjoys just ten percent support among African American voters. Despite Trump’s outreach to African Americans and the undoubted gains blacks have had due to his economic policies, Gallup does not see that changing. However, the prospect that a candidate like Warren, a white liberal who is estranged from the African American community, is a low turnout. Black voters do not have to vote for Trump to ensure his victory. All they have to do is to stay home from the polls.