Tonight’s debate was held at Tyler Perry Studios
in Atlanta, a choice some believe
is about sending a message to a very specific group
of voters. So we sent Roy Wood Jr.
down to Atlanta to investigate. Atlanta, the capital of Georgia
and blackness. Democrats are here
to appeal to black voters, but what do black voters want? I’m here to find out. But first, Waffle House. As the Democrats prepare
for the debate at Tyler Perry’s
gated community, I assembled a panel of voters
all with one thing in common. All right,
who voted for Obama in 2012? I was too young. So, which candidate
do you think best understands the needs of the black voter? I think Elizabeth Warren. -Bernie.
-I want to go Bernie. Chris, who do you think
best understands -the needs of the black voter?
-Donald Trump. Huh? I’m sorry. Uh, explain. Some of the stuff I’ve heard, he’s already doing it,
like prison reform. He’s been hanging
around black people as long as I can remember. They loved him till he ran
for president as a Republican. Trump was the man. Raise your hand if you remember
when Donald Trump was the man. (laughter) The man as in the man
but not the man. He wouldn’t let black people
into his apartment. Roy know what I’m talking about. WOOD: I don’t know
what he’s talking about. But maybe some word association will show us what they think
of the other candidates. Joe Biden. -Gaffes.
-Touching women. All right. So, nothing positive. Okay, next candidate. WOMAN:
Okay. Serve as a leader. Thinks well on her feet. Warren is discussing
giving black people reparations. Is that a campaign promise
you believe she could fulfill? ALL:
No. Instead of calling it
reparations, what if they called it back pay? -No. -No.
-No, that sounds even worse. That-That’s worse. WOOD:
All right, next candidate. That’s the man right there. Bernie. He was with Martin Luther King. But, uh, he just had
a heart attack, so no. So, why do you love Bernie,
Jessica? Um, ’cause he gon’ walk it
like he talk it. He gon’ be out there with us. -If he can. If he can.
-JESSICA: If he can walk. I’ll put him in a wheelchair.
I’ll be right there behind him. What do we feel about… Pete Buttigieg? Oh, I’m sorry.
That’s not Pete Buttigieg. -(chuckling)
-That’s– There he is. But, look,
you can see the similarities. Very much so. He got the– Ooh, his hairline
is like the bread. (chuckling) They could be twins. -They could, you know,
be siblings. -It is. But he’s polling terribly
with black people right now. Exactly. We don’t know him. He went up to Harlem,
sat down with Al Sharpton, had some soul food at Sylvia’s. Is that pandering or outreach? -Pandering.
-Pandering. -Pandering. -What did he order?
-Right. So if you saw him crumble the
cornbread on top of the greens. -That’s real. Yeah. -Might-might
be– He might be all right. So, Kamala Harris. -She the police.
a lot of people who look like me locked up under her watch. So, Kamala’s campaign
released a video of her dancing to Cardi B. -That’s pandering.
-Pandering. So then what is Kamala
supposed to do? When you’re out and you black
and a band plays, do you not do a little dance while you walking along
with the second line? I think we’re harder on the
black candidates, to be honest. I think it’s difficult
for-for black people like her, even l– even Cory,
to-to be themselves when the spotlight is on them. Cory Booker told Joe Biden
that he dipping in the Kool-Aid and don’t know the flavor.
How did that make you feel -as a black person?
-He corny. Oh, no, we-we’ve all said
something like that. Oh, yeah. He allowed.
He just said it in a corny way. Is their a behavioral
expectation on black candidates that’s not put
on white candidates -when appealing to black voters?
-Mm. Yes. -Yes. Why do you think that is,
for black voters? Why do you think we do that? Because we see ourselves
in them. And if they’re acting a certain
way, then we’re like, “Mm, no.” Eh, white people are watching.
Don’t act like that. (mutters) -Exactly.
-We expect them to represent all the different
types of blacks. -The spectrum.
-Yes. So, we’ve talked about a lot
of stuff tonight. Having said all of that
about all of the Democratic candidates, how many of you all still think
Trump will win in 2020? Do you honestly think
that any of these Democrats -could beat Trump?
-If they all rallied for one. There are so many people
running. So we all need to agree
on who that one candidate is, and then all the other
candidates support him. Tell me who’s that candidate. -Bernie. -Elizabeth Warren.
-Elizabeth Warren. Trump 2020, baby. Just– Hold on. Just hold on a second. And there’s a lesson
for Democrats. You can’t win the black vote
by pandering, because black people
are as complex as any other voter base. If you want our trust,
make promises you can keep, walk it like you talk it and, above all,
keep the faith. Father God,
we call on you right now to pray for Chri–
Chris, close your eyes. We’re praying for you. We ask you, Father God,
to help Christopher. Lordy, we respect Chris
as a voter, Lord, but we just hope
his check engine light come on in November, Lord,
on Election Day, to just make sure that his truck
does not start. -(humming)
-These and many other blessings we ask in your name,
Jesus’ name. -Hallelujah!
-Amen. It’s a good talk. Good talking to y’all. Good talk. (cheering and applause) Roy Wood Jr., everybody.