This week we talked to Kentucky House Representative, Charles Booker. In this episode, Booker sits down with Xander Shultz to find out What We Don't Know about his organization Hood To The Holler and how he's not giving up on the 'Red state' he represents as a Democratic leader.
Many watched the United States light up blue or red on the news map throughout election night. It was a given that some would be blue while others would go to the Republicans as Kentucky has for many years. Still, Booker is working to change that through his dedication in finding commonality with voters despite race and class.
"I wanted to show folks that you can talk about real true sustainable progress in places where folks are voting 98 plus percent for Donald Trump." Booker says, "These things are nonpartisan." Booker is pushing forward his progressive ideas by building trust through his directness and relatability. Booker brings people together based on everyday needs that break political loyalties such as the economy and health care. He tells WWDK that he had Trump supporters working on his campaign. "You can talk about inequality in a way that brings everybody in because it affects everybody."
Booker breaks down the other misconceptions of the Republican voters in red states. Much like black and brown communities, "Maga" supporters feel invisible and feel as if nobody cares. The second issue is that they are ‘hopeless’ in the eyes of Democrats who don't try to engage. This, in Booker's opinion, is what leaves the door open for political exploitation, such as seen with Mitch McConnell.
Issues from guns to abortion become platforms overshadowing the concerns that bring people together, and in Booker's experience, these are natural conversations within the caucuses but become divided when problems go national. Booker’s solution; to encourage voters and everyday people to get involved. Between the BLM protests and the Coronavirus, now is the best time for people to come together. Booker reflects on his requested appearances to speak and march in some of Kentucky's white populated areas after the killing of Breonna Taylor, which shows hope in bridging communication. "We owe it to her to keep fighting," says Booker.
McConnel continues to block stimulus assistance making it clear to some conservatives, also affected adversely by the virus, that change is needed. "Nobody likes Mitch McConnel." declares Booker, but he believes it's the exploitation of issues combined with the lack of outreach that keeps the cycle of what Booker refers to as using the fear of "others" a successful distraction.
He believes Andrew Yang's focus on automation and Bernie Sanders zoning in on social issues is the path needed to a progressive future.
"I think that's what will help break down these barriers of ideology because when I'm talking about Medicare for all or universal income, it's solving a real problem.”, says Booker, “We don't have a choice but to fight for change, this is about survival.”
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