Biggest Presidential Election Of All Time?
As of now, there’s still a U.S. presidential election happening this November, and some say it’s the biggest presidential election of all time. This week, Michael and Pele talk with Democratic political strategist Michael Starr Hopkins about the 2020 election. Hopkins gives his recommendation for Biden’s VP pick, and they talk about how reparations and marijuana legalization naturally go hand-in-hand.
[00:32] Michael Bennett: Today, we’ve got Michael Starr Hopkins. His name sounds like he should be on a basketball team, a quarterback, maybe even the president. Just sounds like a powerful name. His jobs are powerful. He’s been a Democratic strategist and an attorney and a founding partner of the Norther Starr Strategies. He served with the only black president on the campaign, Barack Obama. And Hillary Clinton and John Delaney. Not that I have anything against those two, but when I say Barack Obama. It just brings a smile to my face. Hello, Michael Starr Hopkins. How are you, man?
[01:08] Michael Starr Hopkins: I’m great, man.
[01:09] Michael Bennett: The name that you have sounds like you just come off the bench and put up 25.
[01:22] Michael Starr Hopkins: It’s something about those three names. It just rolls off your tongue.
[01:32] Michael Bennett: We want to get into it and talk about politics, the 2020 election. When you worked with Obama on the presidential campaign, what made him special? What made him different than most politicians that you see? And was it something about his charm? Was it something about how he spoke about the middle-class and poor people, working people? What made him special?
[01:54] Michael Starr Hopkins: I mean, I felt like he was talking to me specifically. As a young African-American man, to see someone who looks like you, who reflects your life experiences, running for the highest office, there’s something special about that. And the way he talked about hope, the way he talked about our shared commonalities/ He represented what I thought our country was about and what I thought our country was heading towards. And so, I mean, it was a very natural fit. And, you know, I think it’s why so many people gravitated towards him.
[02:28] Michael Bennett: And that’s kind of the thing in this election. You’re looking at Bernie Sanders and you’re looking at Joe Biden on the Democratic side. And I feel like Elizabeth Warren was one of the ones who — did you feel like those people had that same type of charisma when it came to the voters?
[02:45] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yeah. I mean, I thought this field was, you know, less charismatic than a lot of the other fields. I think people were really worried about who can beat Trump rather than, you know, who the actual candidate was themself, what they were about, what they stood for, kind of how they were going to reach out to new voters. And so I thought that was kind of the biggest downside to the primary process. Because people like Beto or Kamala Harris and Cory Booker didn’t really stand a chance because people were worried that they wouldn’t be able to beat Trump. And so instead of voting for the person that inspired you, people are purely voting based on what they see in the polls. That’s a dangerous thing to do.
[03:29] Michael Bennett: Ooh, that’s knowledge right there. I didn’t think about it from that perspective of actually voting for what you really believe in, you’re just so focused on the last objective.
[03:50] Michael Starr Hopkins: I think you’re seeing it right now with Joe Biden, who represents kind of the establishment of the party, someone who people are familiar with. He’s been in Washington forever. And you know, what really caused him to pop was the fact that people were worried that Bernie couldn’t beat Trump. And so I think that’s kind of why you’ve seen this coalescing around Biden so quickly.
[04:12] Pele Bennett: And as we move forward, now for the voters, people are dropping and falling onto Biden’s side. How do people best put their interests in mind to which direction they should go?
[04:26] Michael Starr Hopkins: You know, I think it depends on kind of which group you’re in. I will say for African-Americans, I think that there is a singular focus on getting Donald Trump out of office. Because we understand what a threat he is. And, you know, our personal interests are at threat. And so where other communities, I think, are willing to take more risks with candidates, I think the African-American community is saying, no matter what, we need to get Donald Trump out. We can litigate, you know, Medicare for All in 2024. All these things I think are really important, but if we lose the election in 2020, none of that matters. We won’t get the Voting Rights Act. We won’t get new civil rights legislation. We’ll have more building of the wall. All these things I think inherently are directed towards people of color.
[05:15] Michael Bennett: But that’s what makes it kind of weird because it’s like Kamala Harris and all those people that she was talking so bad about Joe Biden, and the couple days later, she was like Joe Biden. That caught me off guard the most was Kamala Harris, because when she challenged him about the bus act in her city. She’s backing him now after that?
[05:48] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yeah. I mean, politics is a contact sport. And I think in a primary, you know, you’re going to have differences, you’re gonna say things and go after an opponent. But at the end of the day, the party has to be united moving forward. Cory Booker was on The View and said, you know, Joe Biden’s by no means a perfect person, but, you know, the only person that’s perfect is God. God’s not on the ballot. So we have to focus on electing the person who can beat Trump and can put forth Democratic values. That means universal health care, means addressing climate change, means addressing our, you know, income inequality and economic inequality within this country. And I think Biden looks to be the best person to be able to do that.
[06:31] Pele Bennett: Because you are a leader in your own space, how do you as a leader, get people to vote?
[06:47] Michael Starr Hopkins: Well, you know, I think it’s a couple of things. You know, I think candidates have to go where voters are. I don’t think you can just show up at a church the day before an election and say, come out and vote for me. I don’t think you can, you know, talk at people. I think you have to talk to them. And if I was advising the Biden campaign, I think one of the things I would do is go to the African-American community and talk about the crime bill and how it was, you know, had a devastating effect on the African-American community. I think one thing that especially African-Americans understand is if we’re going to disqualify candidates because of comments they have made, you know, 10, 20 years ago, uncomfortable things they’ve done related to race, there won’t be any candidates left anymore. Everybody would be disqualified. We can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, though. At the end of the day, Biden may not be perfect, but 10 times better than what will happen if Trump gets a second term. And so I think we have to talk to college students. I think we have to talk to, you know, middle American kind of working-class people and remind them that voting against their self-interests isn’t gonna help them. So we’ll see.
[08:06] Michael Bennett: We had a chat with Beto and he was saying that when the candidates came to El Paso, it vibrated the city. It was different because they didn’t really come to those small towns. So I do think it is that organic thing where voters do want to see the candidates in front of them. You can’t really go into the churches back in the day like they used to. The community is so spread out. But I do think African-Americans will disqualify anybody. If anything comes up about race, somebody is definitely getting canceled, especially in the culture that we’re in now.
[08:43] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yep. I listened to the Beto interview and I thought he said something that was really important. I think Americans are tired of hearing kind of political talking points, people telling them what they want to hear. I think they want frankness. And we saw that in 2016 with Trump saying things that politicians never say out loud. He says things that people say in bars to their friends, but had never before said on TV. And that motivated people. I think Betto, in the same kind of situation, is someone who speaks truth to power. I think people, especially candidates, will be rewarded for speaking truth to power, saying the things that may be uncomfortable, that may not be filtered in the way that we normally talk. But you know, calling bullshit bullshit.
[09:29] Pele Bennett: So we also, of course, everything going on in the world — the Coronavirus is really slapping us.
[09:34] Michael Bennett: I feel like we’re in the Walking Dead. I was like, you know what, I need to buy some arrows because it is turning out to be really crazy right now.
[09:56] Pele Bennett: So what I wanted to know is that — by the way, we also live in Hawaii, so that’s why we’re more like, OK, this news is slapping us in the face. As we move forward and news is just swirling around, how does that affect voters coming out and voters participating and people participating not only voting, but how do they make an impact on what they want for the future?
[10:23] Michael Starr Hopkins: Well, it’s a couple things. I think there’s definitely a nervousness about, you know, congregating in these long lines and, you know, whether people are gonna get sick from waiting to vote. But more importantly, I think we’re now — we have proof how incompetent a Trump administration is. I mean, we knew it before, but Trump was very good at creating crises and then solving them himself. Because he would escalate things to a point, a breaking point, and then come in and say, “oh, I solved it,” but only because he made it so much worse. This is a crisis of his undoing. I mean, this isn’t something he created. He has to respond to it. And he’s been someone who has hollowed out institutions. He’s gone after the media. And said you can’t believe the media. Well, a lot of his supporters are the people who are gonna get sick. If you look at Fox’s demographics, it’s 65 and older white people who live in retirement homes, who live in areas where there are health deserts, where there’s not hospitals, and them not believing that this is a real thing, them believing this is a hoax —
[11:28] Michael Bennett: Well, if you were the president, what would you have done? How would you handle a situation like that? Because it’s so complicated. Should people be panicking on their way to the polls?
[11:50] Michael Starr Hopkins: I don’t think people should be panicking. But, you know, it’s one of the things —
[11:56] Michael Bennett: But there’s no hand sanitizer! People are kind of panicking.
[12:10] Michael Starr Hopkins: The panicking is coming from a failure of leadership. If you trust that the people who are in charge of this, who are dealing with this, are prepared for it, are taking it seriously and are strategizing on how to respond, then I think there would be less panic. You know, if I was in leadership, I think one of the things I would be doing right now is talking to our allies. You look at South Korea, you look at Italy, you know, they started getting, you know, people infected before everyone else. So I would want to know what their best practices were. You know, we right now don’t have enough tests so we know who is actually infected. Part of that is on purpose because Trump doesn’t want people getting tested, because if they get tested, then the number of people who are infected will go up, which he sees as a bad thing. You know, he did that press conference with the people who were on the cruise ship right offshore, and he said he didn’t want them to come onshore. These are Americans. He didn’t want them to come onshore because it would double the number of people infected. And he didn’t want that on his record.
[13:14] Michael Bennett: It sounds like a movie, man! Who is writing the script right now? Is it Christopher Nolan or Spike Lee?
[13:30] Pele Bennett: It’s horrific. I feel that people are panicking and terrified due to us living on an island. Hawaii just recently got their proper testing.
[16:15] Michael Bennett: And another thing, too, that scares me, though, how old is Biden?
[16:18] Michael Starr Hopkins: 77, 78, something like that.
[16:21] Michael Bennett: That kind of scares me because in four years, they’re older too.
[16:31] Michael Starr Hopkins: I think that’s absolutely true. Whoever wins office will be the oldest president to ever assume office. And so I think it’s gonna be really important who they pick for vice president, because, you know, God forbid there is a chance that, you know, whether it be Trump, whether it be Biden, they don’t make it through the whole term. And so whoever is going to be the vice president has to be ready on day one to take over. And so, you know, I think that’s going to carry a big weight for Biden.
[16:58] Michael Bennett: I think you’re right, because sometimes I see him, I’m like, is he OK? He repeats stuff. So hopefully they do pick somebody like Stacey Abrams or Beto or somebody like that.
[17:10] Michael Starr Hopkins: I got a prediction for you. If I was them, I would pick Val Demings from Florida. She was a member of the impeachment team from the House. She’s an African-American woman. She was the former sheriff of Orlando.
[17:33] Michael Bennett: Oh, yeah, I saw her.
[17:35] Michael Starr Hopkins: I mean, she’s a really impressive person. She helps him kind of with the crime bill. She puts Florida in play. She guarantees there’ll be really good turnout with African-Americans, especially African-American women. And, you know, she’s a serious person. Not that, you know, other people aren’t, but she’s the kind of person that could really help him when it comes to, you know, the electoral math.
[17:57] Michael Bennett: A black woman? Oh, man.
[18:01] Michael Starr Hopkins: Oh, he’s got to pick a black woman.
[18:08] Michael Bennett: They will be mad about that.
[18:08] Pele Bennett: We’re talking about the black agenda. So what are your thoughts on that and what does that mean?
[18:17] Michael Starr Hopkins: So when we talk about the black agenda, you know, we got to talk about a holistic approach. Because it can’t just be criminal justice reform. We gotta talk about the wage gap between African-Americans and white Americans, why it’s so big. We have to talk about, you know, housing gap, because African-Americans are not passing down wealth. And so, you know, when you look at the statistics, I think African-Americans have generational wealth somewhere around like $15,000 compared to white Americans who are passing down, you know, ten times that amount every year. And so, you know, we’ve got to really talk about not just putting a Band-Aid on things, but how do we deal with the past while also dealing with the future? How jobs are changing, how automation is changing, how we need to make sure our people are going to school. And how you know, in a lot of our inner cities, we have people who have been living in war zones for their entire life. And so these are people who have PTSD, just like our troops do. If you’re going outside every day and you’re heading to school worrying about whether you’re going to get shot, you know, if you’re on your walk home worrying about whether you’re going to get robbed, that has an effect on you emotionally. And so we need to be dealing with all those things, not just, you know, talking about it and kind of this passive way that sounds good on the campaign trail.
[19:38] Pele Bennett: Right. It needs to be action behind those thoughts.
[19:44] Michael Starr Hopkins: Absolutely. So we’ll see who manages to do that. Right now, I would argue that Biden and Trump, you know, have talked about a plan, but we haven’t really seen anything specifically about how to address a lot of those inequalities. And so I think whichever candidate can really put forth something that’s tangible and that could pass. I think they’re going to get a lot of support.
[20:06] Michael Bennett: On your records — not a criminal record —
[20:09] Michael Starr Hopkins: I was going to say. I was a public defender.
[20:13] Michael Bennett: But your record is that you like to be in the cities with the voters and help people. What do you like to travel to, just in general? Like what do you like to do for fun? Do you like traveling? Eat? What do you like to do outside of politics in your spare time?
[20:26] Michael Starr Hopkins: Oh, man, not that I have very much spare time, but I love going out to restaurants, eating good food, traveling a lot. I went down to Atlantis in the Bahamas for the new year. You know, just trying to find time to center myself. Self-care so important because I started my own firm in the fall. And so, you know, when you’re your own boss, you’re kind of the person who’s responsible for everything. So if it doesn’t work well, you don’t eat. And so trying to just make sure every day I’m grinding, moving things forward and trying to lift people up as I go. That’s kind of where all my time goes.
[21:09] Michael Bennett: As far as food, do you cook? Do you have a significant other?
[21:18] Michael Starr Hopkins: I love to cook. Like I love to cook. Cook some salmon, cook some steak and just all kinds of random stuff. But it’s finding the time to cook. You know, you get home after being up at 6 a.m. doing TV and stuff all day, get home, you know, 8 p.m. You don’t feel like cooking. So it’s easy to order a salad or order a sandwich or whatever. But on the weekends, I try to make a point, cook a couple of things, put it in the fridge and snack on it during the week.
[21:48] Michael Bennett: People don’t really know how much time like people like you and politicians all put in for sacrificing for other people. How do you handle the pressure?
[22:07] Michael Starr Hopkins: I mean, it’s tough committing to building something bigger than yourself. So you have to find people around you who kind of understand why you’re making that commitment and hope that you have a really good support system. I’m lucky, I have an amazing support system who helps me get through it on the good days and bad days and, you know, just really lift me up.
[22:29] Pele Bennett: That’s important to have whatever the support system looks like, whether it’s family, friends, you know, I think it’s so important to have that circle, whatever that looks like. The work that you’re doing, I just want to say thank you for what you’re doing in general.
[22:46] Michael Bennett: No, thank you, guys. I mean, I got to say, I got really criticized when I talked about, you know, kneeling and how important it was for people to have their voice heard. And I just I appreciate everything you guys have done to bring attention to that, and to not be scared of the people who are going to criticize you, or who are going to, you know, try to get in your pockets and, you know, take away your livelihood. At some point you’ve got to sacrifice and do the things that may not be popular. And that’s something you guys have done. And I only hope I can do a fraction of that.
[23:20] Michael Bennett: Oh, you’re doing way more than us. You cut your piece of the pie big, man.
[26:22] Michael Bennett: Do you think all the states are going to legalize marijuana eventually or no? Because I feel like it’s almost unfair for some states to legalize marijuana and people to be in jail still. Do you think they’re ever going to change that law?
[26:35] Michael Starr Hopkins: Oh, absolutely. I think whoever the next president is, I think we will finally get to a point where it’s legalized nationally. I was in Colorado in 2016 for the Hillary campaign. And when you go into a dispensary there, it’s like walking into an Apple store. Like it is insanely nice. They have all kinds of different stuff, whether it be, you know, joints — not that I partake.
[27:03] Pele Bennett: It’s ok.
[27:05] Michael Bennett: He’s just saying, my listeners, he’s saying —
[27:08] Michael Starr Hopkins: You know, I just happen to walk by. But I think one of the big problems that we’re going to have to deal with is we have now created a system where we locked up generations of African-American people for selling weed or possessing weed. And now we’ve legalized it, and we’ve banned the very people who we criminalized from participating in the legal marketplace. I was a public defender in Manhattan before I got into politics. And, you know, 80, 90 percent of my cases were simple possession stuff. And none of it was people in midtown Manhattan, where I lived. It was all, you know, above 90th street. It was all, you know, people who lived in public housing because they’re easy targets. They don’t have somebody championing their rights and fighting for them. So they’re easy prey.
[27:54] Pele Bennett: It is interesting you say that because it is true. We lived in Seattle for so long, and the majority of the companies were white-owned. You know, and I know that is so much a part of the conversation. And I’m like, how do we move forward? How does that change, though?
[28:10] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yeah. I mean, when we talk about reparations, that was one of the big things early on in the primary that candidates were talking about. You know, I think marijuana licenses for sellers, some of those should be set aside for African-American businesses, or for people who have been locked up for marijuana crimes. We need to make sure that we’re dealing not just with the marketplace moving forward, but we need to look back and see how we ruined people’s lives. I mean, these were nonviolent offenders who never hurt anyone and who were put in a position where there weren’t job opportunities in their community. They had to feed their family no matter what. And now they can’t participate in this lucrative industry? It’s insane. It’s morally reprehensible. And it kind of falls in line with a lot of other things that this country has dealt with in terms of black people, and us being the foundation and the backbone of the country, but not getting to share in the prosperity.
[29:08] Michael Bennett: Exactly. And people don’t understand that. What do you feel about reparations? I feel like reparations — you say built on the back of African-Americans and this is a fact. The labor of America, you know, they went to war over the ownership of us. Like that’s a big deal. Do you think there should be reparations? How do you think reparations come to pass? Is there like a way that this should be done?
[29:33] Michael Starr Hopkins: So I think there’s a couple things we need to do. I think there absolutely should be some form of reparations. I’m not one of those people, and I don’t think many people are supporters of this kind of idea that they’re just going to write a check to us and that’ll be the end of it. I think what we can do is go into inner cities and rebuild school systems, put in, you know, mechanisms so that we can have more African-Americans get involved in STEM training, going to college as engineers, you know, getting some of these licenses for marijuana. You know, I think there’s a lot of things we can do so that people can build up generational wealth, which I think will deal with a lot of the systemic inequities in our system. But more important than any of that, I think we have to have a truth and reconciliation committee, because what this country has never been able to do is talk about what happened.
[30:27] Michael Starr Hopkins: When black people bring up slavery, a lot of people dismiss us and say that was the past. That wasn’t me. It was someone else. Well, at some point we have to talk about people who, yes, they may not have been slave holders, they may not have had a plantation, but they still benefit from the historical disadvantages. And so, you know, we’ve got to be able to talk about that. And I think inside the African-American community, we need to be better about telling our history. When you look at other groups, you know, especially Jewish people, for example, they are very good with making sure their kids know their history. I think we, partly because of the lack of humanity we were treated with, because of the way African-American women were raped, the way we were treated, I think there’s an uncomfortableness about talking about these issues. We gotta talk about them, because if we don’t talk about them, generations won’t remember. My grandparents were in the first integrated high school in D.C. and hearing their stories — they talked about on the first day of school, they sat in the auditorium and the principal said, “we don’t want you here, but you’re here, so don’t mess up our school.” And for them to hear that and think, why would we mess up the school? We’re here just like everybody else. You know, we’ve got to tell these stories. And so I think we need to be better about recording these stories, making sure we’re sharing and not just speaking truth to power.
[31:58] Pele Bennett: I think that’s so important. We have three daughters. And so we continuously every day, you know, make sure that is a part of the conversation. They are learning, you know, through storytelling. And I am Polynesian, I’m of Samoan descent, and so from both sides, it’s you know, our culture is really through storytelling. So our girls actually started homeschool this last year. And so I think it was really amazing way for me and Michael to really change that narrative so that we are having control of the history, you know, of the storytelling of these amazing people that they’re not, you know, taught in school. The stories empowering them and inspire action. So whether it’s doing stuff through our foundation and through other stuff that we just do as a family, you know, there has to be action behind the words.
[33:02] Michael Starr Hopkins: I think, you know, somebody like Ava, who’s been doing amazing films like 13, which, you know, I think those kind of things have been really helpful. Our school systems aren’t teaching African-American history. You know, they do this kind of tokenism thing in February where, you know, we put up pictures of Martin Luther King for a couple weeks. But what we’re doing is kind of whitewashing his legacy. King, when he died, was a very unpopular person, because he was talking about economic inequality and talking about what was going on in Vietnam. So I think we’ve got to tell the whole story. You know, when we talk about King, we got to talk about, you know, the things he was saying that were making people uncomfortable. You know, when we talk about the right to vote, we’ve got to talk about all the people who died, who were lynched. You know, we got to show the pictures. Emmett Till, you know, the reason that he had such a consequential change in our country is because Jet magazine put that picture out there. Well, you know, I think we got to do the same thing, too. We got to start shocking people. Start standing out. Which is why kneeling, I think was such an important conversation starter, because all police are not bad, but there are bad apples, and we need to address that. And we need to address the fact that over-policing contributes to the over-criminalization of the African-American community. And once you get those felonies, misdemeanors, you can’t get student loans, you can’t get home loans, you can’t live in public housing.
[34:35] Michael Bennett: Who do you think should play Obama in one of these movies? Because I got Mahershala Ali, Denzel?
[35:04] Michael Starr Hopkins: That’s a good question. Maybe like a Lenny Kravitz kind of guy.
[35:12] Michael Bennett: Nawwwww. It’s gotta be somebody who you think will be good at. It’s got to be someone who can act. If it could be any actor.
[35:50] Michael Starr Hopkins: I mean, you’re going to laugh at me for saying this. It’s probably end up being Will Smith.
[35:55] Pele Bennett: You’re right. You’re right.
[36:02] Michael Starr Hopkins: Like I could see him doing it. And he’ll probably do it really well.
[36:26] Michael Bennett: I feel like Will Smith has the same charisma as Obama. You ready for this? Who gonna play Donald Trump?
[36:42] Michael Starr Hopkins: Ooh. I don’t know. A garbage can? We can just leave him out. We don’t even talk about him.
[36:47] Michael Bennett: You know who would do it good, though? For real, for real? Leonardo DiCaprio. It has to be somebody so good at method acting.
[37:08] Michael Starr Hopkins: I could see like Russell Crowe doing it. Just like gain a bunch of weight and just being fat and sloppy and having clown makeup on, you know, kind of like our president.
[37:23] Michael Bennett: Let’s talk about Kenny. I know he did that thing with Donald Trump. But that Jesus album was good, though.
[37:44] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yeah, it was. I’m really curious to see if Kanye tries to play this off is like a nonprofit because, you know, religious institutions, they get tax breaks or whatever. Kanye’s over here going from college dropout to being Sean Hannity’s lackey. I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know what happened to Kanye. It’s hard to listen to him now.
[38:09] Michael Bennett: I think the music was more peaceful. But when I listened to that crack music, that black music, that stuff that’s gone away.
[38:20] Pele Bennett: Who do you listen to?
[38:24] Michael Starr Hopkins: A little bit of everything, to be honest. Obviously, like Hov’s Blueprint, I play that all the time. But you’re gonna laugh at this. I actually like some country music. I like some Luke Combs. Chris Stapleton. I live like bluesy country music.
[38:45] Pele Bennett: Because of, you know, what you do, maybe you need that calm. You can collect your thoughts again.
[38:53] Michael Starr Hopkins: Right, I can’t listen to trap music and work.
[39:01] Michael Bennett: Which musician has the anthem for the 2020 campaign? Like who would be the anthem writer for the next four years of America. I would say Kendrick Lamar.
[39:16] Michael Starr Hopkins: Yeah, but I can’t see Kendrick Lamar doing like a Biden intro.
[39:31] Michael Starr Hopkins: I think Jeezy, man.
[40:05] Michael Bennett: But I just wanna thank you for being on today, man. It was good to get your perspective on a lot of things and also like get to know about you. We know what the person does, but we don’t really know who they are, what kind of makes them up. I mean, country music that caught me off guard.
[40:28] Pele Bennett: Wait, so because what you just said, I want to ask a question. What is something like a hidden talent or something that you do that nobody knows about you? Or maybe just something you want people to know about you, something that you’re proud of.
[40:43] Michael Starr Hopkins: I play a little guitar. I don’t know if I’d call myself a musician, but like when I get home and have a gin and tonic or two, I’ll definitely play a little music and unwind and just kind of decompress from the day. I will say one thing before we sign off. Black people saved Joe Biden’s candidacy in South Carolina. And I think we need to make sure that we’re paying attention to the fact that we are the base of the Democratic Party. And when and if Joe Biden becomes the nominee, and if he becomes a president, we need to hold Democrats accountable. Because for far too long, we have elected all these politicians and then once they get in office, they forget about us. We proved in South Carolina that we could launch someone and make them the president. And so I tell all my black people, not only do you have an obligation to show up and vote, but you gotta stay engaged and watch what’s going on, because history repeats itself. And if we’re not paying attention, we will fall back into a dark time in our history.
[41:57] Michael Bennett: The sunken place.
[42:00] Pele Bennett: Amen to that.
[42:09] Michael Bennett: Thank you so much.
[42:14] Michael Starr Hopkins: And you know, if you happen to end up playing for the Redskins, as a Redskins fan, I won’t hold it against you.
[42:22] Michael Bennett: I ain’t play for no team that got “skin” in the name.
[42:32] Michael Starr Hopkins: We’ll never win until we change the name. It’s a horrible, racist, inappropriate name.
[42:47] Pele Bennett: Thank you so much for blessing us with your presence and your wisdom. And we’re excited to share this.
[42:54] Michael Starr Hopkins: Thank you. You guys take care and stay blessed.
[43:20] Michael Bennett: I think with the election coming up, people feel like this is the biggest election of all time. You know, that’s saying a lot, you know, considering America’s history. So I feel like it’s important that young people get out. If you look at the polls from the last election, a lot people were saying that young people didn’t want to vote because they didn’t like Hillary and they didn’t like Donald Trump. I think they’re really affected by the rhetoric of Donald Trump and they’re going to be really going out to get to the polls.
[44:06] Pele Bennett: With your platform, what do you think would be the best way to help in this area?
[44:11] Michael Bennett: I think the best way is to actually be educated on what’s happening and guiding people to — if you don’t have the information, by guiding them to people who will have the information so they can make informed decisions about who they’re going to vote with, and they don’t have to be a Democrat or Republican, they can vote with Republicans on certain things that they believe in, if it makes sense for the community, and they could vote for Democratic things in the community, not just the presidential things, but local and state.
[44:45] Pele Bennett: I think it’s really important within the conversation on how you decide in the end.
[45:00] Michael Bennett: Maybe some of our listeners to tell us why they think this is the election of all.
[45:37] Michael Bennett: Please subscribe to us or like us on anything that you’re listening to. Apple, Stitcher, Spotify, whatever you’re listening to get away from your family, whoever you don’t want to be around. And make sure you rate us or give us a comment. Even though we don’t give a fuck about your comments, give us a comment. Mouthpeace is a production of Lemonada Media, which you can find online on all social platforms @LemonadaMedia. You can follow me on social media, @MosesBread72. I love bread, and biblically, I always thought I was Moses.
[46:07] Pele Bennett: And you can follow me on Instagram at @pelepels. Mouthpeace with Michael and Pele Bennett is executive produced by us, the Bennetts. Our Lemonada Media executive producer is Eli Kramer, and our producer is Genevieve Garrity. Our assistant producer is Claire Jones and our audio is edited by Brian Castillo. Thank you to our ad sales and distribution partners at Westwood One, and to all of our sponsors for making this show possible.