The New Abnormal
The New Abnormal
Dec 21, 2020
TEASER: Zerlina Maxwell: Republicans Know Dems Suck At Messaging to Black People
Play • 4 min

Political pundit and author Zerlina Maxwell was booed and hissed at during a Politicon a few years ago (which is “a Comic Con for political nerds”) because she said that if Bernie Sanders ran in 2020, which he did, he’d have to improve his messaging toward communities of color. Fast forward to this year and Maxwell has a book out on the subject and stands by her statement. “It seems like I was psychic or something, but really I was just saying a thing that seemed to be an obvious point that somebody needed to say, and I think Republicans understand this,” she tells Molly Jong-Fast in this bonus members-only episode of The New Abnormal. “That's one of the reasons why they try to suppress voters of color and they try to pack power in, in the court system. You know, they understand the demographic shifts in a way that I feel like Democrats needed to.” What does she think of Biden’s cabinet? Molly points out that some have criticized the president-elect for not enlisting more Black women. But Maxwell is OK with his choices, despite the bar being incredibly low thanks to Donald Trump. (“I mean, we're already doing a lot better than we were just a couple of weeks ago.”) Speaking of Trump, Maxwell shares the one thing she can’t quite wrap her head around: “I look around and I can't believe that there's 70 plus million people who are getting duped by somebody who's not intelligent,” she says, both in general and with the coronavirus messaging. “We lie to ourselves when we say that we are exceptional in particular ways in which we are proving to ourselves in this last year, we are not,” she adds. “Like, if you asked Americans to do something mildly inconvenient, uh, to protect their neighbor, they're going to sue them.” Plus! Jong-Fast asks Maxwell what white feminists can do to be more intersectional, and frankly, better to Black women and causes. To start, she says, aboriton isn’t the only cause feminists should focus on: “They need to really lean in to the fact that racism is a problem they need to care about too.”

Want more? Become a Beast Inside member to enjoy a limited-run series of bonus interviews from The New Abnormal. Guests include Cory Booker, Jim Acosta, and more. Head to to join now.


See for privacy and opt-out information.

More episodes
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu