In his blunt and inimitable style, former NBA player and current basketball analyst Charles Barkley blasted the Democratic party's outreach to black voters on Michael Smerconish's radio show on Wednesday.
Barkley, who hails from Alabama and has long supported Democratic politicians in Alabama, discussed his work in helping to elect Doug Jones (D) during his surprise special election victory over controversial GOP candidate Roy Moore. During the show, Barkley relayed that Jones came to him, asking for his help to mobilize the black vote in Alabama.
Barkley recalled that he told Jones, "Doug, I'm going to support you. I'm going to try to get every black person in Alabama to vote for you... [but] we need to start holding you Democrats accountable." According to Barkley, Democrats have "been taking black people's votes, and they only talk to black people every four years. All of these politicians only talk to black people every four years because they want their vote."
Barkley did not have kinder words for the GOP, saying that in his opinion the Republicans don't even talk to black voters. However, he noted, even though Democrats talk to black voters, "When they get elected, they do nothing in the four years in between."
Smerconish also asked Barkley what he thought of the state of the country, asking, "For people who think, 'well, we're gonna vote Trump out of office in 2020, and all will be well,' I make your observation. There were forty-some million Americans who cast a ballot for him, and they did it for a reason: they're pissed. They're not happy with the way things are going and those sentiments are still going to be around us."
Barkley responded, "Well, I think a couple things. I think that a lot of those people are upset. First of all, I don't think everybody who voted for Trump is racist. I think some of them are. I don't think everybody who voted for Trump are racists. But this thing started way, way back. When we started shipping all our jobs overseas, many many years ago, it was really gonna have a negative effect in the long run. You notice now that all these malls and places are closing because people are doing all their shopping online, that has a negative effect. So, we're gonna have these issues... that's not the president's fault. It wasn't Barack's fault, it won't be Trump's fault. Like I said, but we started shipping all our jobs because it was cheaper, going back twenty, thirty years. But now, there's a cumulative effect, and now, we're trying to get it all back from China."
Barkley has often involved himself in cultural and political issues in the past. He has flirted with the idea of a run for statewide office in Alabama numerous times, but has ultimately always stayed directly out of the political arena.