A former activist for Sen. Bernie Sanders claimed he was “recruited” by Breitbart to rally Black voter support for then-candidate Donald Trump — but urged them to stay home if they didn’t plan on voting for the TV star-turned-politician.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Bruce Carter said he was brought on by the conservative news site after dumping the Democratic party over its treatment of the Vermont senator, who was running for POTUS at the time. Carter, who created Black Men for Bernie, said a Breitbart staffer approached him under the guise of interviewing him.
Before he knew it, he was signed up for a 10-week effort aimed at getting Black folks to vote for Trump, or sit out the election altogether.
“If you can’t stomach Trump, just don’t vote for the other people and don’t vote at all,” Carter, 47, recalled telling African-American voters — a message he claims the Trump campaign told him to deliver to anti-Trump voters. “… That’s what they wanted, that’s what they got.”
Dustin Stockton, the reporter who recruited Carter, said Trump was performing particularly well in areas targeted by Carter’s most recent brainchild, “Trump for Urban Communities,” noting how the now-president had garnered greater-than-expected support from African-American voters, while rival Hillary Clinton received much less support from Black voters than former POTUS Barack Obama had four years prior.
“Trump vastly outperformed the projection models in the 12 areas Bruce was targeting” in Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, Stockton told Bloomberg. ” … I never like telling people not to vote. But from a tactical and strategic position, we looked at it: If you could get them to vote for Trump, that was a plus two.” It was a “plus one” if they stayed home and didn’t vote at all, he added.
Former Trump cabinet member Steve Bannon, who was named executive chairman of Breitbart at the time, has denied trying to suppress Black voters, but stopped short of detailing his involvement with Carter. According to Bloomberg News, it was Stockton’s promise for a chance to meet with Bannon that made Carter ultimately agree to begin stumping for Trump.
The former Sanders activist quickly traded in his “Black Men for Bernie” T-shirt for one depicting the “Trump for Urban Communities” logo, after which he hit the road, visiting several battleground states. Stockton introduced him to Bannon along the way, Carter said, as he traveled cross-country to convince Black folks Trump was the way to go.
“I did everything that I said I would do,” Carter said. “And I did it in good faith.”
The former Sanders supporter has since severed ties with the Trump campaign after many of his financial supporters reneged on plans to help him with his urban restoration efforts, Bloomberg reported. Now, he’s working on a new political effort called the People’s Ticket — a coalition of single mothers, felons and hospitality workers, among others, to hold both Republicans and Democrats accountable for the promises made to urban communities.