PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Bernie Sanders turned Trump supporter has started an effort to convince urban voters to give Republicans a second look. He’s put up some cash — hoping it’ll get attention.
“Is it about what a man says– or what they do,” says Bruce Carter, as he spoke to potential voters on North Broad Street. His goal is to get more black voters — like 24-year-old Donye Randall — to vote for Republicans.
“I hear what you’re saying,” says Randall, “but I’m not supporting Trump man.”
“We need to stop being labeled by a party,” says Carter. He is founder of Black Men for Bernie. But after Bernie Sanders conceded the race to Hillary Clinton, he decided to join the Republican Party. Unfortunately, for him, he says the outreach to African-American voters was minimal.
“The Republicans suck– they have no way to get into urban communities,” he says, “they have done a horrible job at trying to expand their base among black communities.”
So Carter started Republicans for Urban Communities, tapping Republican donors to invest in initiative– “Earn My Vote.”
“We created a fund where we travel the country going into the urban community,” says Carter, who claims he got funding from a conservative donor in Florida. He says his group will award two $5,000 grants to African-Americans; one to a single mom starting a new business and another for an existing business in need of expansion.
“This is something no party has ever done,” says Carter, “invest directly into the community that you want to earn your vote.”
Philadelphia is the first stop in this multi-city tour. Carter hopes it starts a conversation about a Republican partnership with the inner city, and more votes for Donald Trump.
“I’ve been told — ‘hey I don’t care if he’s a racist,'” says Carter, ‘if there’s a partnership, we in.'”
“I like Trump– always have,” says Alayna Johnson, who lives in North Central Philadelphia. The single mom says she’s admired Donald Trump since the 1980s.
“I don’t know why people don’t like him,” she says, “I think he’s a smart businessman.”
Johnson hasn’t been deterred by Trump’s comments about women. Instead, she’s more interested in starting her own small business. She is waiting for her tax return, but will apply for the grant and hopes she wins.
“The job situation has been bad,” she says.
Carter will award the grants this week. He’ll then take the idea on the road.
“I’ll be back,” he says. “We want to prove investment works.”