Saturday, December 9, 2023

Was VP Kamala Harris Meeting with Rapper Quavo the Democrats Pandering to Young Black Voters? Not Necessarily.

September 27, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( It’s that time of the presidency and the rush for the White House is pretty much underway. The groundwork starts getting laid throughout the current presidency but actually appealing for another term or getting your party’s candidate into office starts to go down in the fall prior to election year.

Remember the term “appealing” or “appeal” since we’ll be revisiting it in talking about Vice President Kamala Harris and her role at the moment. It all ties into “pandering” and how the Democratic Party is courting Black voters.

VP Kamala Harris Meeting with Rapper Quavo - 2023

VP Kamala Harris “Doing the Entertainment Rounds”

Lately, Kamala Harris has been talking with entertainers about recent topics that are in line with the Democratic Party. Of note is her talking with hip-hop artist Quavo about gun violence. Quavo lost his nephew and fellow Migos member Takeoff in a November 2022 shooting. Since then, the Atlanta rapper has become an advocate for gun violence prevention and gun control.

One of his steps in doing so was to speak with Vice President Kamala Harris, a member of the Democratic Party which has long made gun control a major fighting point in Congress. Of course, gun violence is still an issue in the U.S and has been for decades, so it’s a fight that is probably going to continue for a while.

This was an instance of an audience being granted or an offer to talk being offered and a discussion being had. Yes, it made for a media moment, but this wasn’t Kamala being sent on the stroll for the Democrats. It’s different from her going on daytime and late-night talk shows around election time—so there’s an uptick of politicians on the couch on the major networks.

It’s similar to the reactions to President Biden meeting with BTS to discuss hate crimes towards Asians during COVID as Asian American and Native Hawiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month ended. It was viewed as a publicity thing—and there was a publicity element to it—the meeting was with a musical group that often uses its reach for social causes. BTS fundraises and raises awareness among their fans.

Plus, they were probably one of the least problematic celebrities to go to The White House. The visit was valid.

Kamala Harris Pandering for the Black Vote?

With that said, the picture looks as though Kamala Harris is drumming up support with Black voters by talking with a rapper of relevance to young voters. Pandering. I’ve always said that pandering is a part of politics because politicians must appeal to the voters.

Actually, “pandering” is a dirtier way of saying “appeal” since politicians are expected to know what the voters want then they must know how to reach them. The meeting between a politician and an entertainer isn’t usual at all: Nixon chilled with Elvis, Obama chilled Common and John Legend, and Trump chilled with Kid Rock and Kanye West.

Entertainers are invited often and it’s not always the case to discuss things of importance. Often, there is a photo opportunity—you’ve got a popular celeb and the leader of the free world, yes there will be photos. That just comes with the territory and on occasion, it can result in an “At least our president is hip on pop culture.”

Of course, that depends on the relevance of the entertainer. In the case of Kamala Harris meeting with Quavo, this isn’t pandering or even appealing. It can definitely be used on the campaign trail, but the intent doesn’t come off as pandering. This is an active, charting hip-hop artist—a musician in a genre where gunplay is a common element in its wordplay—talking to a politician with some pull about gun violence.

That isn’t to say Kamala has never pandered—the hot sauce in her purse mention on The Breakfast Club—comes to mind. However, politicians pander. They know their voter bases, they know how to target different parts of it, and they have teams to figure this kind of stuff out. The politician just has to sell it so they can appeal to voters.

The Democrats’ playbook for years has included being on top of pop culture. The most consistent demographic of the Party since the Southern Strategy has been Black voters. The fastest way to reach the youth of any demographic is via the content and entertainers they consume and follow.

It’s a game Republicans haven’t been good at for decades now—of course, that’s down to who the entertainers will get down with. Plus, some entertainers come off as cooler and more relevant than others.

So yes, Democrats will be running the same strategy again in 2024 because it works and they tend to get roughly the same percentage of the Black vote each time. Make people care about what you care about—appeal—by presenting it with something they care about—pander.

Staff Writer; M. Swift

This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.


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