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Ep. 45: Bloomberg vs. Democracy (w/ Tim Black & Justin Jackson)

Feb. 18, 2020

Ep. 45: Bloomberg vs. Democracy (w/ Tim Black & Justin Jackson)

Briahna on why we cannot allow Michael Bloomberg to buy the Democratic primary, Tim Black on the role of independent media in the growing left movement, and Justin Jackson on posting as praxis.

Tim on YouTube: www.youtube.com/user/TimsTakeLive

And Twitter: twitter.com/RealTimBlack

Justin on Twitter: twitter.com/J_ManPrime21

Transcript

Briahna Joy Gray: For years, the Democratic Party has defined itself as distinct from Republicans, mainly on the basis that it's the corporate party that likes minorities, whereas Republicans are climate-denying bigots. Turns out, the entrance of Bloomberg into the race has exposed that those rules are somewhat flexible.

Just look at his record. His stop-and-frisk policy was ruled an unconstitutional violation of rights by a New York Federal Court.

He blamed poor, disproportionately black and brown people for the financial crisis.

He pushed for Social Security cuts, and he bankrolled Republicans who opposed climate action.

Heck, he was a Republican until recently, supporting George W. Bush in an address at the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Michael Bloomberg: The president deserves our support. We are here to support him, and I am here to support him.

Briahna Joy Gray: Look, I get it. The number one priority of most Democratic voters is beating Trump, but it doesn't help us much if we replace him with someone who shares so many of his worst qualities. For example, Bloomberg and Trump are actually aligned on the issue of stop-and-frisk.

Michael Bloomberg: They just keep saying, "Oh, it's a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group." That may be, but it's not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.

Briahna Joy Gray: Does that sound familiar? I wouldn't judge you for thinking he's one turnstile jumper away from taking out a full-page ad in the New York Times calling for extrajudicial punishment a la Donald Trump. And it's not just his record on racial issues. Bloomberg has had 64 sexual harassment and discrimination cases filed against him, and is known to be almost as sexist and cruel as our current president. A return to civility? Sure, if you think that going from, "grab them by the you-know-what," to allegedly, "nice tits," is an improvement.

But more important than civility takes is this: all of Bloomberg's flaws, Trump will exploit them, and Trump will win. He's just better at it. Have you seen Bloomberg's anemic attempts at pushing back against Trump? I'm not talking about his glossy ads; I'm talking about this.

Michael Bloomberg: Now, if I were from Texas, I might say he's... Donald Trump is scared as a cat at the dog pound.

Briahna Joy Gray: Meanwhile, just as he did in 2016, Trump will run to the left of Bloomberg. He'll trumpet his work on criminal justice, the release of Alice Johnson, his support of HBCUs, and the low black unemployment rate. Remember when Trump brought all of Bill Clinton's accusers to the debate following the Access Hollywood tape?

Donald Trump: If you look at Bill Clinton, far worse. Mine are words, and his was action.

Briahna Joy Gray: We know that Trump isn't above doing the same thing to Bloomberg, who has ties to quite a few unsavory people himself, including Trump.

Michael Bloomberg: I’m…a friend of Donald Trump's, he's a New York icon.

Chris Wallace: You, you've actually been quoted saying you're a big fan, but let me ask you, so you take...

Briahna Joy Gray: This is the most important point. These vulnerabilities mean that Bloomberg simply isn't electable. Unfortunately, many Democrats seem not to care. The trouble is we have two corporate parties. Loose campaign finance rules mean that politicians on both sides of the aisle are competing to raise millions of dollars for TV ads that are scarily effective at dictating popular opinion.

The Democratic Party used to be the party of labor. Today, it's not entirely clear who workers are supposed to turn to. In 2016, some of them turned to Trump. Others stayed home, frustrated about the choice between two candidates whose resumes are largely defined by their relationship with Wall Street.

Today we risk repeating that mistake as Michael Bloomberg, the final level mega boss of corporate candidates, is gaining steam across the country. He has spent nearly three times on ads as the entire non-billionaire Democratic field combined, and it's working. Without having to attend a single debate, without laying claim to any policy ideas, without responding to the questions of a single voter, he has managed to rise to the top of the polls.

This is an important point. Normally, when you see a lot of ads, you presume it's because someone is popular, electable even. But Bloomberg isn't able to buy these ads because of donations, which would indicate support from everyday Americans. It's because he has $60 billion in wealth. Bloomberg is the 14th richest man in the world. He makes more money than fellow billionaire candidate Tom Steyer's total worth every year from interest alone.

This year, he's not using that money to buy another mansion in an offshore tax haven or go on some high octane vacation a la The Most Dangerous Game. He's using it to buy our democracy. You think I'm being melodramatic? Under the DNC debate rules, a candidate had to reach a certain fundraising and polling threshold to enter the debate. These rules are what led to candidates like Cory Booker, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand and Andrew Yang, missing some debates and ultimately dropping out. But when Bloomberg entered the race, the DNC, who just happened to receive a $300,000 gift from Bloomberg, well they changed the rules.

Because he's using his own money, Bloomberg is even less accountable to voters than politicians who rely on donations from corporate lobbyists. He can literally do whatever he wants, which is great if you think he's a benevolent savior. But here's the thing, he's the worst.

In February, a month where we should be hyper-conscious about the legacy of anti-black discrimination, one of the most racist politicians I have ever had the pleasure to not vote for, is gaining fast in African American support. And a disappointing number of establishment Democrats have been shockingly silent about what a Michael Bloomberg presidency would mean for the black Americans whose personal liberties he so wantonly disrespects, and for American democracy as a whole.

We quite simply cannot let this happen. So, please, volunteer, make calls, canvas and donate like our democracy is at stake, because it is.

This is Hear the Bern, a podcast about the people, ideas and politics that are driving the Bernie 2020 campaign and the movement to secure a dignified life for everyone living in this country. My name is Briahna Joy Gray and I'm coming to you from campaign headquarters here in Washington, DC.

This week, I spoke to two black independent media voices who have been on the front lines of pushing back against establishment figures who are all too willing to throw marginalized groups under the bus to advance the corporate interests of the Democratic Party.

First, I spoke to Tim Black, whose YouTube show provides a left perspective and a much-needed catharsis to hundreds of thousands of listeners.

Then I spoke to an emerging voice on the left, Justin Jackson, a running back for the LA Chargers who has amassed a cult Twitter following with his preternatural ability to expose the establishment’s worst impulses. Both conversations, recorded prior to the recent circulation of Bloomberg's viral, and vile, recordings, provide useful context for understanding what black voters are looking for and how progressivism is very much our movement too.

Happy Black History month! Let's get started.

So, I'm so glad to be joined today by Tim Black who's a real player in the left media space which as we've discussed many times on this show, is so important to advancing I think some of the messaging and ideals that are shared broadly in the left movement, but aren't often as visible in the mainstream media. So, welcome, and thank you for being here today.

Tim Black: Well, thank you for having me, I appreciate it. It's good to see you and this is amazing, and go Bernie, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] Right, right. For people who might not be as familiar with you and your work, can you tell us a little bit about how your... what your journey to left media was like?

Tim Black: Okay. Well, I've been at this, well since 2012, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: I started out just covering social issues.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: Someone got shot, or if there was someone on death row-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... or we were complaining about sentencing, mass incarceration, anything that kind of hit the radar. For instance, we would talk definitely about [Coby 00:09:29]-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative], mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... um, and Erica Garner-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yes.

Tim Black: These types of issues, up through the 13ths. And then something strange happened. So, my viewers, they tell me, "You got to check out this guy named Bernie Sanders."

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Really, and I was like, "What, ah man, politicians laid out like a rug."

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: I voted for Obama, you tricked me, you know? And I was like, "No, I'm not interested." And they just stayed on me. Now these were my Millennials, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: They're like, "No Tim, you always talk about you want to change, you know, change the country, they gone s- it's gone take policy bro."

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: And I said, "Okay, I'll check him out." And I was shocked. You know, we got this Jewish guy from New York-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... you know and he's different with the you know, we're not, you know, we're not twins or anything, got different backgrounds, right? And he was talking about the issues that I was talking about.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: The same stuff, and he had been talking about it 10, 20, 30, 30-plus years at that time, right? I don't want to age him too much.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Or myself. And-

Briahna Joy Gray: Fair enough.

Tim Black: ... Just the track record-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... of being able to go back in encyclopedia and see that he was... he'd never wavered. He's always been outspoken, he was never like, "I'm just going to go with the crowd. I'm going to, I'm going to do what you tell me to do." No, he was always-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... a vanguard. And that's, and that's what got me into politics around 2015.

Briahna Joy Gray: Okay. And did then the... Did you show then switch to being, uh... to having a more political focus at that point?

Tim Black: Yeah. Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: Or was it kind of, did it sneak up on you?

Tim Black: No.

Briahna Joy Gray: Was it a concerted choice?

Tim Black: Yeah, well you know, it became... I got, I got burner... What is it? Bern-stormed. I got-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... You know, I got motivated too because I saw this opportunity. I said, "You know, we got to get Bernie elected in 2016." So, I went full in.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: It's what I believed. The beauty of independent media is you get to choose your own content-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... you get to choose your own topics, there's no overseers, no overlords.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: And contrary to some people's opinion what they think, I actually went down in viewership in the beginning-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... because my people didn't want politics. Like we would listen to a little, but what's up with Rozanne?

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] Interesting.

Tim Black: You know? What's going on with the Vics? You know, like they like-

Briahna Joy Gray: Huh.

Tim Black: ... I thought, what happened to all the other stories? But so, at first, things went the other way. People-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: People got turned off and I had to create a new audience.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: And as it, you know, as it grew, as I kept going, new people came in and they were more susceptible. And then some of the older people started coming back-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... because, you know, things heat up around 2016, they started getting a little fever themselves-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... so it was that type of slow pull kind of.

Briahna Joy Gray: So, I noticed that you hit the consistency point really hard, just that Bernie has not just been saying the right thing, he's been saying the right thing for a really long time. And I have noticed, and tell me if you, you've noticed this as well, I feel like I hear that point especially emphasized when I talk to my black friends and family.

And to me, what, what I've taken from that, or what my, what my, my hypothesis is, is that because we're a group that feels perhaps particularly betrayed by the political establishment in various ways, who feels like we're courted only periodically once every four years et cetera, that having someone who does have that kind of record of consistency engenders a trust that is not necessarily there with every old random senator from a state like Vermont.

Tim Black: It's a perfect-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... perfect analogy or analyzing of that, perfect. That's exactly what I was saying. Most of us are conditioned-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... for the what's it? The Sundays, every other Christmas or what.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] Right.

Tim Black: When it comes to an election time or Sundays at the black church, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: Right, right.

Tim Black: That's what they do, so that's the guard. The guard's already up-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... and you're already, you know, susceptive to that and the radars are beaming on that focus.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: So, when you show that Bernie, no, no he's been saying the same thing, not just election time, he's saying it to empty rooms.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: He's saying... You know, he's been talking about Indian mass incarceration before it was cool, before Black Lives Matter.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: Okay? So, once that settles in and people realize that, it's like, okay now let me take a fresh look. And that's what I think independent media has to do. Has... We have the opportunity to educate them on the history, the long, the long road that he's been on.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah. So, do you think that you're... there are other particular issues or policies that your audience is more responsive to?

Tim Black: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: Because that's where we're entering this kind of, you know, voting period. Like just pedal to the metal, it's go time and we're going to get through Iowa and start going into states that have more racial diversity, South Carolina et cetera. There's a lot of conversation now about how do candidates engender the trust of black voters? How do, how do candidates attract black voters, and you know, luckily Bernie Sanders has been neck and neck with Joe Biden among black voters when asked, "Who are you open to voting for?"

But still, I think there is this desire to really earn and lock in those votes with some, not just the kind of generalized trust but particular policy, uh-

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... having these particular policies. In your... From your perspective, are there certain issues that seem to be resonating more with your audience?

Tim Black: Absolutely. Tangibles.

Briahna Joy Gray: Tangibles.

Tim Black: Tangible policies that address economic issues.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: So, for me at the time, I had a nine to five when we started. Mass incarceration with cousins, nephews, friends, neighbors-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... but you can't just stop there. Of course, Bernie Sanders most robust was safety for all-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... f- f- uh, program plan, most comprehensive of any program out there. Pe- More people need to talk about it, I want to shout it from the rooftops.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: But economics has to be a focus point as well and I think for the... there's this thing going on where people are talking about reparations-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... but really, they just talking about doing better-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... or their kids, the children doing better and getting out of the home economically. And we know black folks hit hard with the housing crisis, so that whole shebang is where I think the policies need to be focused. Economics and upward mobility [crosstalk 00:15:17]

Briahna Joy Gray: Well I'm told all the time, Tim, that people... that black people don't care about economics.

Tim Black: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: What I'm told on the internet is that it is to talk about economics is to in some way undermine the importance or racially specific programs or racially specific needs or grievances. And are you telling me that somehow, I've got the wrong beat on that? [laughs]

Tim Black: No, I think people love to feel affirmed that yes, we have racial issues. There are some candidates who won't even say the word black. It's hard to talk to me without saying it-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... because my name is Tim Black. But you know what I'm saying, so that's like a slap in the face like and-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... we're here, we're the most loyal loading block particularly, you know for the Democratic Party and 90% of the time we vote Democrat, that a lot of people don't even hesitate. But what are we getting for that vote?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: Okay, so I go, "Yeah, yeah, talk about..." But Bernie's always, like he'll, he'll, he'll send out an email, some form of way to address an issue. He's not... I haven't seen a problem with that, but he just needs to tag it into-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... the economics. So, is there a way we could say, "Okay, well this is what's going on in our communities, this is a solution." Economics plays in, race is a factor. I think just mentioning that race is a factor goes a long way.

Briahna Joy Gray: I think that's right.

Tim Black: Easing people's minds that hey, he's not going to be like, I don't want to name too many names.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: But he's not going to be like some others-

Briahna Joy Gray: Don't get me in trouble, right.

Tim Black: ... who would just, you know, omit that there is a racial issue.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right. Do you find particularly having an, an online base-

Tim Black: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: Bernie supporters are known to be more engaged online, certainly we have a larger social media footprint than other campaigns.

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: Bernie Sanders by a long stretch has more Twitter followers, we're the first campaign to have a Twitch stream and I think still the only, with the exception of maybe Donald Trump, hmm, which is interesting company. [laughs] But you know, he understands I think in a way that some Democrats have been slow to pick up on the real power of social media and the real power of communicating with people online. You know, the Joe Rogan interview that Bernie Sanders did getting eight million views in the first couple of days-

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... you know, where do you see your influence and the influence of left media going forward?

Tim Black: Bernie is one of those people, one of the very few of that, Trump I think is the only contender in that realm. You look at the follower count of some of these other candidates like, hey I'm more popular and I'm not running for anything.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] Right.

Tim Black: Maybe in [crosstalk 00:17:39]-

Briahna Joy Gray: Or maybe you should. [laughs]

Tim Black: ... but that's about it. But y- yeah, a- and you would s- you would think that they would have more focus on.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: So, a lot of the complaints that we get, right, we're too aggressive. Well, Bernie has big ideas.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: People get excited when you talk about big ideas.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: We talk about healthcare for everybody, right? L- Oh, what the problem is these other candidates are not exciting a base. They don't have a base-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... to really speak of, just keeping it 100. They don't have a base to speak of-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] Yeah.

Tim Black: ... and Bernie. Bernie does because he, he's exciting people because his policies are exciting.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: So, they say, well we're too exuberant. We have... We, we... We're brash, we're rude. Well, we care.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: Th- Th- They can pretty much go Klobuchar or Biden or this-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] [crosstalk 00:18:23] that, yeah.

Tim Black: ... or Buttigieg, they got to be okay because they're all the same. The policies, none of them have policies that stick out.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah. I struggle with this because I want to be sensitive to the narrative. There's obviously somebody somewhere, many of the complaints are not in good faith, but there's obviously somebody somewhere who thinks, you know, someone was mean to them online, right?

Tim Black: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: And I don't want to be entirely dismissive of the fact that of course there's some supporters in every group that are going to act out, I've certainly been on the receiving end of a lot of that from, from other supporters. But at the same time, what frustrates me is the kind of pushback that says, "Why do you guys behave as though Bernie is the only way? Why do you guys behave as though it's all or nothing with his policies? Why do you say things like, our lives are on the line?" And, and, and-

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... comments that, from their... from their perspective seem to be kind of you know, exaggerated or hyperbolic.

Tim Black: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: And I want to... I want to take that complaint seriously because I hear it a lot, but at the same time when you are supporting a candidate who offers policies that are so separate and apart and far above an- an- and beyond what other people are offering, and moreover are about these existential areas, whether it's climate change, or whether or not I'm going to be able to treat a terminal illness because I'm poor-

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... you know, these are not the kind of things... You know, if there's going to be litmus tests, I don't know that the bar is... should be set so low that poor people shouldn't die because they're poor-

Tim Black: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... is an unconscionable thing to say online.

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Well it is hard for them to accept that we are fixated on one candidate, we won't just move to other candidates just willy nilly.

Briahna Joy Gray: And on a platform, right? Like it’s-

Tim Black: But that-

Briahna Joy Gray: If, if Bernie were to betray some aspect of his platform tomorrow, I think a lot of people would say, "Oh, well."

Tim Black: Right. That's what they don't understand-

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: ... but that’s not what you want. A- All, I think no matter who you are, me for instance, I want people to say, "Tim's special. He's different." I... You know, there are other great people, Krystal's great-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... Tiger's great, but I like Tim. And that's what you want, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: Sure.

Tim Black: So, that's not my fault that I'm unique, that I'm different-

Briahna Joy Gray: Sure.

Tim Black: ... that I have my own tone and way of delivering a message. Bernie is further than that. I mean there are people who love Game of Thrones, you wouldn't just say, "Go watch The Wire." That's a different audience.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: And Bernie has policies.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: So, it's not just the window dressing, and Bernie never says, "It's me or the highway."

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: He's the opposite, but the policies are so important. They mean so much. They resonate in lives. My dad, he has cancer.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. I'm sorry.

Tim Black: And his medication is $1,000 per pill.

Briahna Joy Gray: Oh.

Tim Black: My dad would only live maybe a week-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... if we don't get Medicare for All or if he loses his job. He's 72.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: He still has to work full time. There is nothing for people who don't have a job, who don't have full medical coverage.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: This is not... So, behind the passion, the noise, the loud footprint that we have as Bernie supporters, are real people with real stuff going on. Our dads and moms, our kids-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... living in the... living... who are going college who can't afford dorms right here in Baltimore who, who are living in the streets to go to school. Right now. And you're saying, Pete Buttigieg is saying, "Ah, we don't want to give kids college because, you know you know, they don't want rich kids to get in." Well rich kids are going to go to great schools, they're going to go to private universities no matter what. So, the difference is-

Briahna Joy Gray: Oh, that's my, my least favorite. [laughs]

Tim Black: Right, right, right. [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: That one makes me insane.

Tim Black: I had to lighten the mood I was getting down.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: But the point is, these are real issues, so yeah people are going to be more passionate and, and yes okay, so maybe you have to walk a different line, Bri.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Because you are press secretary.

Briahna Joy Gray: A little bit.

Tim Black: But Tim Black's going to say, yeah, we're loud and we're damn proud to be loud because this is people's lives we're talking about.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: This ain't a popularity contest. There are people's lives I want to help save, there's children I care about, neighbors, people I may meet, people I may never meet.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: People across the globe, from Palestine to Switzerland, I don't know.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: But everywhere. Like this... So, I believe that strongly about Bernie's candidacy, not him as an individual, I haven't had the pleasure to meet him.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Right? But his policy and what it means for us.

Briahna Joy Gray: I'm curious you're such a compelling voice and you are really in the trenches in a way that not everybody is. What... How did you s- first get the idea to even start an online platform?

Tim Black: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: Because you said you started in 2012 and around that time it wasn't, you know, the early days of YouTube per say-

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... but we're close enough to the beginning of this whole online journey that it was still kind of in the early days, right?

Tim Black: True, true.

Briahna Joy Gray: And I wonder how the landscape has changed and if you were surprised by how much power the influence has now become centered on the YouTube space.

Tim Black: Well, I started off in journalism.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: I worked for a newspaper here in D.C. called The Capital Spotlight.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: Circulation like 55,000, but I had my own column-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... and I got a front page a couple of times and had been on the Kathie Lee's Morning Show-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... but I had a family.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: And I couldn't survive on basically nothing. Journalism only pays well once you start doing really well. This you may know.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah, I know.

Tim Black: So, I kind of put it away and focused on the job, went into IT, but I always had this. So, when YouTube started to pop, I said, "You know, I wasn't looking to make this full time, I'm just going to..." I got off work, I come home, I make content. And I said, "I'll just talk about things that matter to me."

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: That's all, but I had a job. So, that's the beauty of independent media-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... is that you d- it's not a jo- it- Hopefully people approach it that is a job where you have to do X, Y, Z, but more freedom to say, "This is what I really care about. This is real, this is genuine, this is not to make money." And just fortunately I was able to get enough people where now I can sustain this-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... full time and without any influence. So, I'm fine if, if people don't like that I'm a Bernie supporter. I'm fine if they get turned off because-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... I don't need everybody.

Briahna Joy Gray: Well what are your offline conversations like? Like what's your... When you're dealing with family and friends who perhaps aren't engaged in politics on a daily basis-

Tim Black: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... is there a different approach? Do you have, you know... I want our listeners to have some tips and tricks of the trade as we're going into these last kind of persuasive weeks-

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... when things are getting really hot and heavy.

Tim Black: Well keep, you know, I have this button here, so no joke but-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: ... I wear my memorabilia, I let people know what's up, what I believe. My mom for instance she says every time she calls me, she says, "How's your boy Barnie doing?"

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: She knows the name Bernie, like mom you always playing, you know. Is he gone beat Trump? I hope he beat Trump. But you know, so I have friends that call me from school, "I saw you, you had Nina Turner. Man, you had Nina Turner. And who was that guy from Ben & Jerry's?"

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: You know, so, so I'm like an evangelist of progressive politics but in a way that talks about home issues. I tell people all the time, talk about something that affects people. With me, it's my dad.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: But you or someone else, it may be school loans.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: There are people retiring who still have student debt.

Briahna Joy Gray: It's the fastest growing population is seniors of people who are afflicted by student debt. And something like 60,000 seniors had their Social Security checks garnished last year for student debt payments.

Tim Black: An idea or a policy that would alleviate that paying for millions of folks, that's not something to get excited about? Oh, maybe they're not excited about Amy because Amy's not talking about it. She's talking about pilgrims. Yo.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative]. [laughs]

Tim Black: I'm not going to t- I'm over... I'm over 40 and we were talking about pilgrims when I was in high school. That's your exciting idea?

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: That's what pragmatism is? I don't think we want that type of pragmatism. We need-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: We need our seniors to be worried about how they going to spend time with their grandkids and if they're going to go to... for their vacation, or enjoy their golden years, not worry about can they... are they going to leave their kids' school debt because Joe Biden made it hard to discharge it? Hello? So, when you start tying the issue to something real, that's not just talk anymore. It's not just rhetoric, it's not just those political people, it's real stuff.

Briahna Joy Gray: So, so are the... Is Joe Bi- People who are, you know, supporting Joe Biden, is that what you're mostly encountering in with online or in your personal life when you're talking to-

Tim Black: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... to voters and trying to flip them?

Tim Black: The, you know what? Not so much. There are people that are like black folks for instance that I know who are over 40, 45, they know Joe, so they like, "Yeah, Joe Biden." That's just because they know his name. But they know Bernie's name as well.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: But they don't know about Joe Biden.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: They don't know that Joe Biden was on the... you know, that he for instance that he opposed busing or segregation.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: They don't have anything about segregation, about busing. They don't know anything about Joe Biden with the, with the student debt.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: There are so many issues with Joe Biden, I'm kind of blank.

Briahna Joy Gray: And Social Security.

Tim Black: Social s- Like oh, okay.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: And actually, like that one message is all you need. And Joe Biden, he said want... Well, know what? Just play the tape.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: They see him say that?

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: It's a wrap and I... and like I was telling my wife, like we need to let more people know about this. So-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... If I can just tell one person, get one person to get it and have them share it, I've done something, but I want to reach a million one somebodies with that message.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah, I think the potency of talking about Joe Biden's record on cutting Social Security and for those who haven't listened, we talked about it in some depth on an episode a couple episodes ago with Krystal Ball, you know, I think that when, when you look at how the mainstream media has pushed back against that, how prickly they got when we started talking about that with the attack ad coming out from Joe Biden and, you know, tell the truth Joe Biden starts trending the next day because everyone... There's this internet clash about him trying to misrepresent his record, they know that that's a vulnerable point.

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: You know, the mainstream backlash really illustrates how much it, it... they are well aware that for seniors and black people in particular who disproportionately rely on Social Security in old age for upwards of 90% of our income, I think it's something like 50% of black American seniors rely on Social Security for 90%... 90% and more of their retirement income, that that is a losing proposition if that gets out into the ether.

So, I really appreciate you drumming that drum-

Tim Black: Absolutely.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... and, and singing that point home because there's too many of our particularly more vulnerable seniors that depend on these social programs.

Tim Black: I think If you take what you just said about the disproportionality of black folks being affected by it, and then you sprinkle in race.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: And you say the reason why, the reason why?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: Well, systemic racism, institutional racism.

Briahna Joy Gray: Absolutely.

Tim Black: A lack of access, lack of ability to build wealth, over the years has disproportionately put us vulnerable, relying on the Social Security check. When they talk about how the economy is booming, that's stocks and buybacks and stocks and corporations, and only, what, 5% or 10% of Americans-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah. Very few.

Tim Black: ... even have stock in those corporations. But you, you mention that, that's a lot to say to those black voters, oh they get it.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: They understand it, right? They understand the race and economics thing when you put it both together at the same time.

Briahna Joy Gray: Absolutely. And there's a health implication there too with, with the life expectancy of black men being so low that enormous numbers of black people will never draw their Social Security checks, and if they do only do it for a short period of time. And now we have people like Joe Biden and Republicans trying to raise the retirement age, it's going to disproportionately affect us, giving that we're living in a world due to health disparities et cetera, we're also just not even surviving as long.

I mean, it's compounding harms on compound harms, and so yeah. I entirely agree with you, I think we'll be talking about... continuing to talk about that a lot more as a campaign, especially as we head into some of the Southern States.

Tim Black: Yeah, I think it's going to sell itself. There’s not much you need to do. I would just like to say that we just be more forceful. I know people saying we need to be more civil. I just think that's the wrong way to go because it's crunch time. People need to hear it.

Briahna Joy Gray: [crosstalk 00:30:44]

Tim Black: Now, I know, Nina Turner told me, she said, "Tim, soft on people, hard on issues."

Briahna Joy Gray: Right. [laughs]

Tim Black: Soft on people, hard on issues, right? But meanwhile they are trashing her at every turn. I've had to jump in to defend Susan Sarandon and Nina Turner, I got a little army, we got a wolf pack.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: We had to go in there and like calm them down, and because it's people just go relentlessly. It's like our supporters, our voices, our, our people to speak truth to power, they get bombarded all the time. So, I know I take it personally that they chastise Nina the way they do. The way that they go after Susan and blame her for all the faults of a campaign of millions of…

Briahna Joy Gray: The entire world

Tim Black: ...like everything's Susan Sarandon, this is Susan's fault.

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: Like really? One person? [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: Right, I just sprained my ankle, it was Susan. [laughing] Truly, it's truly upside-

Tim Black: It rained today, Nina and Susan did it.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... and... Right. And Senator Turner and Susan Sarandon, they both act with an incredible amount of grace in the face of that onslaught, so I look to them as examples and I do a "Hoosah." [laughs]

Tim Black: Yeah, yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: And I, and I try to follow their lead because ultimately I think that Senator Turner is right: people act out, and people who have acted out in the past have now in 2020, shown a remarkable ability to kind of come to terms with and be honest about the fact that they don't like what they were when they look back in 2016.

I mean, I'm continually blown away by Peter Daou and his wife Lila's transformation and how you know, forthright and open they've been about seeing things differently this time around. And how can you say that you are the redemptive party? How can you say you're the party that understands that we need to get to the root causes of let's say criminal justice and you need to understand that people are largely created by their environment?

And that, you want to be able to rehabilitate people when they come out of prison and prison isn't supposed to be a death sentence. And to, you know, to want to take away the barriers for people to connect with their families in prison, and, and get rid of all of the expense around making phone calls et cetera, the way that Bernie has plans to do.

How can you say that you buy into all of that and respect the humanity of all of us regardless of our carceral status, and then want to take away one of the most intrinsic rights that we have in this country? Right? And so, you can't have it both ways. You can't say you're, you know, a progressive-

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... and be against prisoners voting or be against accepting and forgiving people in your personal life.

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: People, [laughs] you know, people who, yeah, said some crappy stuff online. If I can't forgive Peter Daou [laughs]-

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... for saying some crappy stuff online, how-

Tim Black: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... am I going to say that I am going to be a criminal justice advocate? [laughs]

Tim Black: True.

Briahna Joy Gray: For people who have done, you know, real things that are bad-

Tim Black: Yeah. I [crosstalk 00:33:27]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... you know, in this world.

Tim Black: Well, you know, just to... I know, I don't think you meant it like go here or go there as far as-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... the criminal justice thing-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... as far as incarcerating, but I got to say-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... you know how I feel about this. I mean-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... uh, you don't want people to vote because what's their pushback? Oh well they might be influenced by the prison warden; might make them all vote for this. Oh, let's fix that.

Briahna Joy Gray: Let's fix the coercive nature of the prison system. [laughs]

Tim Black: Let's fix that. Let's lock that little warden up, but you be, you know, put... You know, let's get these people back their rights.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: Let's give them their rights back. That's not an excuse, horrible argument. And I saw some people go along with them like, "Okay, well." I’m going to have to speak about that, but yeah, I agree. And some thing, same reason why I don't support the death penalty.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: It's not that I enjoy that someone was murdered-

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: ... but my thing is our system has shown that it cannot be-

Briahna Joy Gray: Trusted.

Tim Black: ... unbiased.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: That we know this.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: And if we know that, you're putting people to death that don't deserve it. You're putting people... You're putting innocent people. How many times have we seen someone exonerated by a DNA test from something they were sitting on death row?

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: Okay, so in principle, I think this is what, or what you were saying, in principle, Bernie said, "I can't support this thing."

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: I don't care what people think, this is what I believe-

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Tim Black: ... and to be consistent. And that's why I love the guy.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: It's not because I think he's funny. I like him when he's with Larry David.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah. [laughs]

Tim Black: You know? But this is why I love him because I feel that he's, he's not going to change. He's not going to be like, "Oh, now I'm this new person. Look at me." I think he's going to stay the same and he's focused and, and I just love that. I love the fact that he's rigid in his belief systems. We need more people like that. All great-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: ... relationships are built on stability.

Briahna Joy Gray: You should be rigid about your ethics.

Tim Black: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, that's what I mean. That's what I... You know what I mean? Like-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah, no.

Tim Black: ... I believe that, you know, we need existential threat is, you know, and climate change and, you know, and, and be focused on that. And like, if somebody wants to say we are going to bring back coal jobs, even though you think it will win votes in the West, you're like, "No, we need to go another way because..." And I love that because it's true, it's real, and we're not selling people a dream.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right. And to still be able to have those conversations that advocate for you know, the Green New Deal while respecting the humanity of those that are going to be impacted and say, "The way we get around this is not to say, "Oh well, you lost your coal job," but to say, "We are going to provide for you with a Green New Deal jobs program. We're going to make sure that we can respect the humanity of everybody who's impacted, whether you're impacted because you are the subject of environmental racism or you're someone who is now going to have to transition into a new realm of employment because the job that you had was not sustainable.""

And that, that thread of humanism is truly what gives me the confidence to join this campaign in this capacity. You know, I was a journalist, I have no interest in, you know, shoveling sh- [laughs]

Tim Black: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... for, for anybody. And I wouldn't have joined if I felt like I was going to have to do that or if somehow my own personal values were not going to be in alignment with what's going on in this campaign. And so, I'm heartened to be here, I'm heartened to have allies like you-

Tim Black: Absolutely.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... with me in the struggle. Can you tell listeners where to find you that want to watch your show or any other projects that you have going on that we should know about?

Tim Black: Sure. Go to timblacktv.com for all that stuff, I'm on every platform that you're on. It's Real Tim Black, we do show Monday through Fridays at 10 PM, on Fridays we got a call-in show. And it's great because people call in from all over the world, not just the United States. People love Bernie in Australia-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... Japan, like people call from all over the world. Literally p- say, "We're praying for you. We're there down under in Australia but we're praying."

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Tim Black: I'm like, "Wow, okay. Cool." So, so yeah, join me there but I'm, I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing, Bri. I believe in it, I don't get paid to support Bernie, I do because I believe in the policy, I believe in the vision, and I love the organization. I love what you guys are doing. I don't sit around, you know, and say and think that this... it's... that there was no way for us to succeed. I think positively about what we need to do to succeed.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: And I think that's part of it.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: I think some people are afraid to have hope-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Tim Black: ... literally, you know what I'm saying?

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Tim Black: But if we get out in the streets, Bernie said, "It’s not just me. It's going to take all of us. We all got to..." So, yeah, so it's more than just Bernie. It's going to be what we do as a community, and that's what we're trying to build.

Briahna Joy Gray: And thank you. Thank you for that revolutionary spirit of yours.

Tim Black: Thank you so much for having me, I appreciate it.

Michael Bloomberg: Ninety-five percent of murders- murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That's true in New York, that's true in virtually every city.

You've got to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. So, you want to spend the money, put a lot of cops on the street, put those cops where the crime is, which means minority neighborhoods. One of the unintended consequences is people say, 'Oh my god, you are arresting kids for marijuana, they're all minorities.' Yes, that's true, why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why did we do it? Because that's where all the crime is.

Briahna Joy Gray: I'm thrilled to be joined by Justin Jackson today on Hear the Bern. If you don't know him from being a breakout star on Twitter on the left recently-

Justin Jackson: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... he plays football in the NFL for the LA Chargers. Thank you so much for joining me today Justin.

Justin Jackson: I appreciate you having me on Briahna.

Briahna Joy Gray: So, part of why I really, really have been wanting to talk to you is because you're part of this phenomenon of people who perhaps weren't necessarily that involved in politics, but who've been really galvanized by the-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... progressive movement that, at least in the context-

Justin Jackson: Yes.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... of this election is, you know, led by Bernie Sanders. Can you tell me-

Justin Jackson: Yes.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... a little bit about your radicalization or your politicization?

Justin Jackson: So, for me, it all kind of started in 2016, right, I was 18 years old so that was kind of when I first was able to vote and everything. So, that's kind of when I had my political awakening, but it really unfortunately happened like after the primary party over and really into general. And where I went to school, Northwestern, like we had a lot of very socially conscious, maybe not as politically conscious, but a lot of socially conscious people on the team, used to have a lot of debates.

And it really kind of set the stage for me I- what I like participating in those, those debates, I always wanted to be knowledgeable about the topics-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: ... I was talking about and when politics came up, I just didn't know that much. I felt like I was a Democrat because my parents were and like I not only agreed with the platform more so than the Republican platform, but that really was like the extent of my political knowledge. I had a hard time kind of explaining to some of my teammates, like why they should vote for a Democrat or a Republican because I just didn't know much.

So, I had to become a lot knowledgeable in that for me, like I tried to watch cable news, but they just weren't talking about anything substantive.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: They were just talking about Trump's Tweets or-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Justin Jackson: ... emails or all this. This is like random stuff that necessarily didn't make you want to vote for somebody. It wasn't like, "You should vote for them because of this," it was like, "Well this person has character flaws. Some people have that."

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: So, that's why I wanted to dive deeper into the political history behind this Democrats versus Republicans, left versus right-wing issues, but also the candidates' history and their voting records and all that type of stuff.

And so that's when I kind of became like, well I don't think I really like either of these candidates very much because I don't... I don't necessarily agree with either of their platforms.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: And that's when I started to discover Bernie and some of the... and just the progressive movement in general, and I r- right away I was like, "This is what I relate to. This is what I believe in. This is the type of policies I think that we'll need going forward to really improve this country as a whole. And for me, I come from an upper working class, middle class family-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: ... but my parents, they grew up in very working class, poor communities.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: And so, I know these are the type of policies that are going to need, need to be implemented to fix those communities that maybe in I didn't necessarily come from, but like my parents came from and a lot of people I know came from. That's really why I kind of, like you said I was galvanized by this progressive movement and I related most with that and I wanted to push those policies forward.

Briahna Joy Gray: I want to come back to ask you about what specific policies were the ones that really drew you in in the first instance. I'm curious about this, this media piece where you found consuming mainstream media to be kind of unsatisfying and not especially informative. I'm someone who comes from the independent media world, having worked from The Intercept, we had Krystal Ball from Rising-

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... on the show recently. I'm curious what sources you found to be useful and how you managed to connect to them. You know, how did you discover left media?

Justin Jackson: Yeah. Yeah, so what I think is so awesome about this day and age, right, is social media and for me, I... because I couldn't find those outlets on cable news and because I was like in college I was on the go a lot obviously with football and class. Like, and so YouTube became a huge thing for me and that's where I found like The Young Turks, that's where I found Kyle Kulinski and Secular Talk and the Rational National and Jimmy Dore and all these types of progressive platforms, where they would actually talk about real issues.

And that's what I love so much is they have 20, 30-minute-long segments about real issues, about voting records, about... It wasn't just like you're hearing surface-level talk on the... on TV or even in debates, like you... they didn't dive deep in anything. But when I was watching on these platforms, I was actually, I feel like I was becoming more knowledgeable on the stuff. Like I was actually learning stuff that I could use like to say, "Well this is why I support this person, and it's not just because they're Democrat. No, I support this person because they support Medicare for All, because they support a Green New Deal," et cetera, et cetera.

I think that hits home with voters and it hit home with me very much so because I don't like to get involved with this cult of personality type thing, I want to know what you've been fighting for-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: ... and what you will fight for and what your record is. I think being in the athletic world, like a lot of it is like you have to put on film, right, It's not just about you saying you're going to do this, it's about what have you actually put on film, right?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: That's what I'm going to believe. I'm going to believe what you've actually done, what I can actually see. When it came to the p- progressive candidates and people like Bernie, it's like well he's been saying this stuff for years and years and years, this isn't just like, oh he's flip-flopped and wherever the where the wind blows-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Justin Jackson: ... that's what he's going with. He's actually been fighting for this stuff even when no one was paying attention. And that's something that I, and I think a lot of other young people can respect. You worked for The Intercept, that's another print I would... that I would look at, um-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: ... The Nation I definitely was on online more but there were other progressive leaning print outlets that I looked at as well, that definitely helped me, uh-

Briahna Joy Gray: So-

Justin Jackson: ... just, yeah, kind of radicalize my mind like you said.

Briahna Joy Gray: I'm curious, you mentioned that you were having these political conversations at Northwestern-

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... with your teammates, do you have them in the NFL if the... with your teammates and if so, what are they like? Do you, do you find yourself people being open to the kind of things that motivated you? Do you find that people have... are having different considerations as they decide what to do in 2020? I'm really curious.

Justin Jackson: Well I think there's definitely less conversations in the NFL just because... for the simple fact that in college, you know, you're living with these people-

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: ... you're going to class with these people, you're in the locker room, like after workouts waiting for class. So, like there's just more ample opportunity for these debates. And in the NFL, it's like we go to work and we're literally, we're working the whole day and then-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Justin Jackson: ... Once you leave people go home to their families and all that type of stuff, don't really rooms together. There are a few people but not that many.

So, but there are, there are conversations that are had in the locker room, and what's really interesting is that you really do find a spectrum of people. It’s really a microcosm of the real world.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: Like you have people that vote Republican. You have people that are more like moderate or whatever you want to say, center, center-right, center-left type people, and then you have people that are more the progressive, you know, true left personalities and, and ideologies.

So, that's why I like actually having these conversations is because I can ed- you kind of get out of your echo chamber, right, you actually hear these other arguments even though they might not be correct in my view on some of the, some of the substance, I think they truly believe that, and you can also see the type of... you can kind of hear through how they're arguing what type of media they take in.

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: You know what I mean? So, and that's, and that's another thing where like, well you said that but that's been debunked a lot, like a- I think a lot of people just don't dive as deep as I do into it. So, it's like you have to find ways to kind of talk to people and not disparage them because these are my brothers, I still love them. I don't care how they voted, like we... They're my brother, you know, and they would do anything for me, I'd do anything for them.

So, you have to find a way to talk to people without disparaging them-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Justin Jackson: ... while also arguing your side and why you think this is the right way for the country to go. So, that's what I liked about college and, and the NFL was that you have that brotherhood where even if you're arguing it's l- like, like you're arguing with a sibling. Like at the end of the day you're still going to love each other even if you have disagreement on the issues. And I think that's something that this country and in the political atmosphere that we live in, it's like sometimes that's really hard for people to do-

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah.

Justin Jackson: ... is actually have a good faith argument, disagreement, without turning to personal attacks and without, you know, disparaging other people. Which is really why I love the Bernie campaign, is they never like are trying to do that, never trying to go personal things. It's just, look, this is the record of it, we have video ev- whatever, but-

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Justin Jackson: ... we're not going to attack the person we're just going to attack their belief on the issues.

Briahna Joy Gray: Yeah, I think that's such an important point. There's a lot of discourse about unity, right, and not wanting-

Justin Jackson: Yeah.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... the kind of left versus center-left divide in the Democratic-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... Party hurt our chances down the line in a general. At the same time, a lot of the people who are kind of center-left who are making that argument, often seem to be really disdainful of the idea of putting together a coalition that includes different kinds of voices, or having conversations-

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... with people who historically haven't always aligned with Democrats, people who are independent, you know.

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: People who are non-voters because they haven't seen themselves in the party before, there's almost this-

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... way that we talk about Democrats and non-Democrats as though non-Democrats are traitors. And it's like a team sport.

Justin Jackson: Right. [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs] I mean, you know-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... Not that there’s anything wrong about team sports [laughs] but-

Justin Jackson: [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... they treat, they treat politics like, you know, that other person is my enemy as opposed to the way I think of it is that politics truly is about persuasion, and it's about-

Justin Jackson: Right, exactly.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... putting together policies that genuinely appeal to people because they address their material needs without pandering or undermining the integrity of what we believe in in order to solicit those votes.

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: And I think that's a distinction that's really important that gets blurred when people talk about partisanship or who or... we should or should not-

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... be talking to.

Justin Jackson: The whole unity argument, that, I mean they love to say unity but then when, okay so if Bernie becomes the nominee then you have to unify like you've been saying with the progressives and that's who the Democratic electorate has chosen to be the nominee. So, now you have to unify behind him and then it's like, "Whoa, well we don't know if we're going to vote for..."

So, it's, you can see the hypocrisy on his face, and then at the same time with a candidate like Bernie who can like you said, develop a co- a coalition of independence, Republican voters that are dis- that are disaffected and Democrats, well that's something that... isn't that, wasn't that Hillary's whole strategy was to go and get moderate Republicans in the suburbs. Right? That was, that was the strategy. So, if Bernie can go do that, that’s what the Democratic Party has been pushing for, then that's a good thing.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Justin Jackson: And so, I don't think we should treat that like it's a bad thing. No, it's a good thing when you're getting independents, you're getting those disaffected Republican voters who maybe are voting on because of trade deals, are maybe-

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Justin Jackson: ... maybe voting because, you know, their jobs have been outsourced, whatever it is. If you can get them in your coalition and build a broad coalition, that's exactly what the Democratic Party is supposed to be about, right? It's a big tent party.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Justin Jackson: And so, I think that's something that Bernie is a candidate, he's a candidate that can do that, he has a movement that has a wide coalition among demographics, among class-

Briahna Joy Gray: Absolutely.

Justin Jackson: ... among race, among whatever, whatever you want to say, he has that coalition and that's why a lot of us believe that he is the best candidate to go against Trump.

Briahna Joy Gray: Right. Such, such a big difference between courting Republican voters by advancing a Medicare, or you know, healthcare policy that was developed by wealthy conservative elite interests-

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... versus attracting different kinds of voters because they actually need real healthcare and actually want and believe in the same things that working-class liberals believe in, right? So, you, you mentioned this, this coalition building aspect and, you know, something that Bernie was critiqued a lot for in 2016 was the relative lack of diversity in his support, although of course a lot of us people of color were supporting him back then.

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: Now he has in fact the most diverse, most working-class coalition in the race, and yet somehow this narrative is still following him in some quarters.

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: So, I want to ask you, as a young black man, what your perception is of how Bernie Sanders is perceived among your friends and peers when you talk about him, especially since polling wise we are number one and have been even back in 2016 number one with younger black voters, black voters under, under 35?

Justin Jackson: Yeah, so a few things on that. I think in 2016, something that's difficult for just minority communities in general is like for us, a lot of it is trust, right? And a lot of us didn't... because he was not covered in the news media and that's how a lot of especially older black voters take in their news is through, just older voters in general but especially older black voters, is through cable news, like because he wasn't talked about at all, I think that's a huge reason why a lot of black people just went with the familiar name, right?

And so, I think now that he has that name recognition, he can bring in a lot of those kind of older, middle-aged black voters of people of color in general, into the coalition. And then when it comes to younger people like, it's just a... I think it's a cross race. Of course, it includes b- uh, young black men and women, but also just across races young people because we see Bernie.

And, and it's not about, you know, there's other obviously younger candidates that are close to our generation that are running, but it's not about that for us. It's not about pandering like you said, to us because you're a young, you're a young hip cool person-

Briahna Joy Gray: Right.

Justin Jackson: ... and you can dance. Like that's not what it is for us. Like we have real issues, we're having issues starting families because of student loan debt, because of he- healthcare, like so a lot of people are scared to get off their parent's plan when they turn 26 because now you got to pay for your healthcare and it's the exorbitant cost. Like how are you going to pay for that when you're trying to pay off student loan debt?

And all that other type of stuff. There's barely any jobs, they s- t- they tell you to go to college and you'll be fine, and you go to college, you're under this enormous amount of debt and now there's no good jobs out there for you, you know what I mean? Like, I went to Northwestern which is a great school and there's still people that I know that are struggling finding a job, a solid job which is just wild to me.

So, I think we understand those real issues and how Bernie is actually planning to address those issues. And he's not, like you said, capitulating to any other... he's not compromising his values to get us into this coalition. No, he's pushing forward the ideas he's al- he's always pushed forward, and that's why we're coming into this coalition.

And so, I think it's a very, very strong movement, something that I love to see that people of all colors that are young are coming together for Bernie and for his movement, and it's bigger than Bernie. And like he says, it's not him, it’s all of us and it's... and that's for me like playing team sports and, and being a... you know, becoming brothers with so many people at once is really cool for me to see.

I feel like Bernie's movement is a brotherhood or sisterhood, it's just a, it’s... it's a big group of people, big movement, of people that are all pushing to save our country, really to save the world from all these existential threats that we see that are right up on the horizon and we really think Bernie is the candidate to kind of quell that and, and really push us towards a new future.

Briahna Joy Gray: Beautifully, beautifully put. I'm curious, do you have these conversations, not to put your family on blast, but with older relatives, with your dad? Like what's their take on all of this?

Justin Jackson: Yeah, no it’s actually really interesting and, and for me, I've had to like [laughs] I've had to kind of de- uh, what's the word I'm looking for? Because my parents watch cable news like...

Briahna Joy Gray: [laughs]

Justin Jackson: They're kind of brainwashed into that, or they at least have been. And really like it's hard especially for, for black people after Obama in 2008 and 2012 obviously, like having a black president is something that a lot of especially older black people thought they'd never see in their life. Like having him be the president and then actually having to critique him and his... and like the... his presidency and his policies and stuff like that, that's really difficult for black voters.

And for, for younger black people to convince your older, you know, black family that look, like we understand symbolically how Obama was a, you know, a great thing for, for us, for our people, we have to support a candidate who is pushing for policies that will help our people disproportionately. And that's re- he's really the only candidate doing that, and it doesn't matter what he looks like, it doesn't matter that he... what his age is or what... that, none of that matters. It's about the movement he has behind him and it's about the policies that he's pushing forward.

So, for me, like I've basically turned my parents into Bernie voters, and I've been trying to do that with the rest of my family. I've been trying to educate my teammates, and for a lot of them it's like a lot of us especially young black people that, you know, went to college and got educated, like we understand that the system is so stacked against us that it's very easy to be like, "You know what, F that, like we just, we want to get away from the system overall."

And I- and it's hard to be like well, this might be our only shot. This might be the only candidate that we have that is actually going to break us out of this corporate owned pushing for just wealthy interests system that we have, into a system that actually works for people like us, and for people that we know that look like us.

And so that's the conversation that I've been trying to have more and more and it, it really has been kind of taking hold in a lot of the circles that I'm in and the circles that I see, and that's really encouraging.

Briahna Joy Gray: Well you are doing the Lord's work. [laughs] Thank you for that.

Justin Jackson: [laughs] I'm trying. It’s tough. It's tough but you guys are doing Lord's work. I'm just trying to be an advocate outside.

Briahna Joy Gray: Well part of, part of what your advocacy obviously is happening on Twitter. I mean, that's how I kind of found you, how a lot of people found you-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... that you were just like spitting fire on Twitter and tangling with some of the biggest names out there who-

Justin Jackson: Yeah. [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... are critics of a more progressive policy platform.

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: I'm curious, like, has it been difficult for you? Any... Has there been any negative reaction? I don't know, how is your job, has, has the NFL, has anybody talked to you about how vocal you've been about your politics?

Justin Jackson: No. There has been no pushback I haven't gotten talked to by anybody. If anything, it's been positive. You know, I talked to my agent, I talked to some of the people, my, my agent's had people text him like it's just talking to by my teammates and stuff like that. I think it's to be admired, but really, it’s not difficult to speak your mind and especially when it's the truth, you know what I mean?

Briahna Joy Gray: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Justin Jackson: If you're actually, you're just kind of kowtowing or like, like I said earlier capitulating a certain interest, then when you're saying it, you're kind of like, "Oh," you know, you're kind of sweating a little bit. Like that's not something that I truly believe in. But it's, it is something you actually believe in then I think it's like when you're... if you don't speak out it's kind of, I mean it's really on you. You know what I mean?

I think there's a moment that we can't miss in history and I want to make sure that my voice is heard and, and that I'm, you know, being a part of this and not being like, oh looking back 10, 20 years from now like I wish I could've done more in that moment to push for something that I think will really help this country. And so that's why I've been more vocal. Obviously, the caucuses are coming up and, and just the primary's about to be in full swing soon, so that's something that I want to do. I don't want to be like, "Oh, I missed this moment where I could've made a difference."

Briahna Joy Gray: I often say, and I’m someone who came up on Twitter myself, I feel like my journalism career came from... started with me Tweeting a lot. I don't think I would have taken this job, I know I wouldn't have taken this job, if I didn't feel like I was just going to be doing the same thing I was doing before as a journalist which is just speaking-

Justin Jackson: Right, right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... the truth. I have no interest in going on TV to prevaricate for some nonsense that I don't believe in, and-

Justin Jackson: Right.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... I... so that what you said, it really resonates with me very strongly. It is easy to seem like you know your stuff and are really competent and committed-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... when in fact you, your personal beliefs are exactly aligned with the candidate you support.

Justin Jackson: Exactly.

Briahna Joy Gray: And I'm really grateful-

Justin Jackson: 100%.

Briahna Joy Gray: ... to be in that position and I'm really grateful that we have a candidate this time around for whom a lot of Americans feel the same. Thank you so much-

Justin Jackson: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Briahna Joy Gray: ... for taking this time and talking to me today. You were such a delight.

Justin Jackson: Of course.

Briahna Joy Gray: I really look forward to watching-

Justin Jackson: I appreciate it. [laughs]

Briahna Joy Gray: ... you're a young man with a long professional career ahead of you, and I also hope to see you continuing to engage in politics because you're such an important voice and such an inspiring one as well.

Justin Jackson: Thank you, thank you Briahna. I really appreciate you having... appreciate you having me on, and I hope that the campaign keeps going well and I'll do everything I can to help.

Briahna Joy Gray: That's it for this week. Hear the Bern is produced by me, Briahna Joy Gray, Ben Dalton and Christopher Moore.

Let us know what you think at [email protected], or else take to Twitter with the hashtag #HearTheBern. I love to read your feedback on Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or wherever you get these episodes, so please, please be sure to rate, review or like us whenever you get a chance. The more you do that, the more likely it is that other people who would benefit from hearing this message will get their ears on it. Till next week.