By Karen Hinton | March 11, 2020

Joe Biden is likely the Democratic nominee to defeat Donald Trump thanks, in large measure, to black voters in Super Tuesday I and II. What do they get in return? How about a Democratic Senate and House to support legislation sorely needed for people of color communities?

Returns from this week’s primaries once again showed that black voters have repaired the Biden ticket, torn and ragged only a few weeks ago. Now Biden can end the partisan arguments by appealing to all Democrats, including supporters for Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg and the rest. That’s what the perfect parent does — sort out differences at the dinner table. Biden isn’t perfect but this is one of his strengths.

In turn, Sanders, Warren, Bloomberg and the other presidential candidates should spread their wealth into voter turnout efforts in not only the unforgettable swing states but also in the states where their supporters have Democratic Senate races that can be kept or won: Alabama, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, Colorado, Arizona, Maine … and Mississippi. Maybe Kentucky?

I am among a small group of political watchers who think Mississippi has a shot at a Senate victory.

Let’s not forget that Mississippi delivered all of its 36 delegates to Biden. Black voters turned out en masse and handed the delegates to Biden. Could someone help them defeat one of the most conservative U.S. Senators in office, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, known for arguably racist rhetoric in her campaign against a black Democrat. Mike Espy is her Democratic opponent, who in 1986 became the first black Democrat to represent Mississippi in the U.S. House since Reconstruction. He could become the first black U.S. Senator from Mississippi since Reconstruction.

How about Kentucky? Photo IDs for ballots in all federal and state elections? There is no voter fraud in Kentucky. There’s only Mitch McConnell and a highly-skilled Marine fighter pilot, Amy McGrath, a Democratic woman who wants to take McConnell out of his pilot seat in the U.S. Senate.

Bloomberg recently announced a measly $2 million for voter registration in only eight states. Mississippi and Kentucky weren’t included, and all of Bloomberg’s paid staff in the Magnolia State are or will be unemployed soon. Is more help on its way not just for voter registration but get-out-the-vote as well? Does Senate Minority Leader Schumer or DSCC Chair Senator Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada have a hand out for more turn out of black voters, as well as a growing number of whites — blue-collar workers, suburban women and the young — who want to oust Trump, keep the House and take the Senate? I think they do, right?

I’m sure Biden appreciates the Mississippi delegates. He also will appreciate Democratic majorities in both the House and Senate to pass needed legislation as President. His attention will turn soon to the entire nation. Obviously what Biden says and does during the next nine months will be center stage but potentially deadly, if his message delivery explodes one too many times. To take the White House from Trump, Biden must stick to the basics of not only delivering a powerful message appropriately but also and, perhaps more importantly, turning out record-setting numbers of people of color and the ripped republic of blue-collar workers, suburban women and young people who want to vote Democrat.

For each group of voters, a get-out-the-vote strategy must differ in tactics. All these voters don’t use Twitter or Instagram. They all don’t use Facebook. They all don’t watch the news or the debates. Many are not moved by expensive campaign ads. Others don’t want to hear a robo call. Some don’t have a car and a voting precinct close to home. Some are elderly and need help getting in a car or a van or a bus. A knock on the door and a packed lunch could help some voters, too.

The GOTV plans must be designed with particular voters in mind. Every Democratic or Democratic-leaning state, every county in the state, every voting precinct must have a collection of people to come up with and finalize the turnout plan for each precinct, not just the entire state. State and county chairs for the presidential campaign normally create an overall plan. The communications gurus with their young tech staff handle the social media and phone calls. The thought-control geniuses produce the expensive ads, which didn’t work that well for Bloomberg. None of these people sweat or freeze on Election Day, depending on the weather in various states.

Precinct captains and volunteers are the ones who suffer from the heat or the cold or the rain or the snow. Most of these people on the Election Day streets of Democrats are people of color. Should the coronavirus crisis continue into the fall, voting in all states should take place via snail mail, laptops and phones, including landlines. Still, a knock on the door or a “don’t forget to vote” speaker is always a good reminder, either way.

Around 90 percent of blacks have voted for the Democratic candidate since the 1960s. To keep that vote, we need to show respect to the sacrifices and pain this race of people have suffered since slavery and the public “hangings” that Hyde-Smith told her Mississippi voters she wouldn’t mind viewing. The most important number in any election is always the turnout number for all Democratic voters. Biden’s campaign and the Senate and House races should not dump their money only on the social media and ad schemes. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize the way black voters did during the civil rights movement. It was hand-to-hand combat then. Organizing meetings. Recruiting volunteers. Knocking on doors. Driving vans and buses filled with voters to the precincts. The old-school way.

My 21-year-old daughter loves Bernie Sanders but she’s ready for Joe Biden. Mom, the old lady, convinced her during a late night conversation. The older people who vote should recruit the young people who often don’t vote.

Time, attention and money need to be raised and given to the voter turnout efforts in states with a chance of defeating President Donald Trump, the worse elected official since the rise of Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett and Alabama Governor George Wallace. For the first time, let’s get the media to write about the Democratic turnout in Mississippi and Alabama, not about old Jim Crow laws or the history books on lynchings or “hangings” as Hyde-Smith described them.

I’m heading to the Mississippi Delta to volunteer and work for the precinct captains on turnout in high-black population counties. I grew up in Mississippi so I can stand the heat. Can Biden, Bloomberg, and the Democratic Party leadership? I think so, right?

Karen Hinton, former press secretary to NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo when he served as HUD Secretary, and former U.S. Congressman Mike Espy of Mississippi.