The PJ Tatler

Dem Lawmakers Talking About Upping 'Participation in the Electoral Process' After Ferguson

The No. 3 Democrat in the House said that lawmakers are discussing how to use the community outrage in Ferguson, Mo., as a springboard for get-out-the-vote efforts.

Assistant Leader James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told MSNBC today that he’s been discussing the events in Ferguson, Mo., with Congressional Black Caucus chairwoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio).

“We are going to really look into what the Congressional Black Caucus can do at the local level, going in there with our Congressional Black Caucus Institute, and probably having some discussions with local communities, helping them to get organized, helping them to understand the relationship between the treatment they get from elected officials and their participation in the electoral process. That participation — participation seems to be very low in that area,” Clyburn said.

“The people are there. But for some strange reason, they are not participating. And we’ve got to do something about that, because we are not going to solve these problems if we stay out of the arena.”

Clyburn said he was “thinking this morning about all of this rhetoric about being tough on crime.”

“It’s one thing to be tough on crime. I’m tough on crime. But it’s something else to be death on blacks. And that’s what seems to be happening,” he said.

“When I think about the chokehold up in New York — a guy crying out for 10 or 11 times that ‘I can’t breathe,’ and with three or four other people piled on top of him, the police officer could not find the wisdom to stop choking the guy until he could not breathe anymore — to me, that’s deliberate. And we have to look at this — a lot of bad people carrying badges. Most of them are good people. And I support police officers. But we’ve got to find a way to weed these people out.”

The lawmaker added that “hopefully, this will jump-start a movement that will have people all over this country taking a hard look at their communities, the treatment they are getting from elected officials, and whether or not that is going to start them to participating at a greater level as we go forward.”