Symone Sanders pans ‘Bidenomics’ message

Symone Sanders pans ‘Bidenomics’ message

Yet another big-name Democratic political operative is delivering some frank advice to President Joe Biden and his top aides: Time to get out from behind the podium, start interacting with voters and give up on the “Bidenomics” message.

This time the real talk is coming from Symone Sanders-Townsend, who four years ago was part of a shoestring, money-crunched Biden campaign that was just hoping to survive tough early primary contests and hold out until more diverse voters got a chance to weigh in.

Sanders-Townsend went to to serve as a top adviser to Vice President Kamala Harris and is now hosting “The Weekend,” a brand new MSNBC show airing Saturday and Sunday mornings with Alicia Menendez and Michael Steele. We caught up with her at NBC’s Washington studios after a recent rehearsal.

“They talked a lot about acronyms in the beginning and not enough about the plain things,” she said of the Biden camp. “They are not going to get ‘Bidenomics.’ Let it go. How about you just make sure they know what you’re going to do and what you did?”

Here’s more of what she had to say about the Biden camp’s perceived bravado, what the campaign needs to have Biden doing differently and possible Black voter apathy in 2024:

On the Biden camp’s self-assured approach

“Back in 2019 when he announced he was running for president … they said he was old, they said he was out of touch. A lot of the same things that people are saying now, they said he couldn’t win. … I think that there is a little, ‘Oh, these people trying to tell us how to do it. And we ran our race and our strategy worked,’ which, touché, because they’re right. It did.

“That being said … it is important to have the voices of people who are not insulated in the bubble. People who talk to real people, people who are out there across the country, who are hearing from folks in the barbershops, beauty shops, the Bible studies.”

On the stage management of Biden’s campaign

“You haven’t seen him do what he can do [best]. He’s been on prompter, he’s been standing on stages looking very presidential with the flags behind him. He gives his speech and he gets out. When was the last time you saw Joe Biden do a rope line? When’s the last time you saw Joe Biden in a town hall taking questions from the American people?

“Joe Biden needs to campaign like Joe Biden knows how to campaign. When people see him in a more intimate setting, they stop thinking about how, oh, he’s old, and they start listening to what he has to say.”

On Black voter apathy

“Donald Trump is not getting 10 percent of the black vote. But that doesn’t mean that the Biden campaign shouldn’t be concerned. I think some people are that work over there. … [That’s why] they’ve made record investments in African American and Latino media.

“Black men, Latino men, Black women, base voters in the Democratic Party should also be treated as persuadable voters. … It means organizing events, it means a surrogate operation, and those are things that have not yet been stood up. Now, one could argue, they are hiring up.”

On the Biden administration’s messaging struggles

“They talked a lot about acronyms in the beginning and not enough about the plain things. You ain’t even got to name the legislation. Just tell the people what has happened. And I think that there was maybe too much of a focus on trying to message it tightly up in a nice bow and not enough focus on just, well, how can we make it plain for the people that we want to understand it?

“They are not going to get ‘Bidenomics.’ Let it go. How about you just make sure they know what you’re going to do and what you did? … You can give folks all the numbers about GDP and all these other things, but the data doesn’t move people. Stories move people.”

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