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Jackson, Miss., Mayor On His Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton


We're going to turn now to the Democrats. And we are joined by Tony Yarber, the mayor of Jackson, Miss., and a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Welcome to the program.

TONY YARBER: Hey. Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: Why do you think Secretary Clinton was so successful in Mississippi? We've heard that it has a lot to do with demographics and her appeal specifically to African-American voters.

YARBER: Well, it does. But you've got to remember. During the 1990s for African-Americans around the country, the Clintons were the representation of the tide lifting all ships. And so African-Americans had an opportunity to rise as a result of Clintons being in control of the economics and of the power structures in the country. So Hillary Clinton has, wisely so, come in and started talking about those same issues that are affecting the African-American community right now.

SHAPIRO: Senator Sanders' supporters are passionate. Sanders has made it clear he is not leaving the race. And Sanders has consistently won young voters. What do you think Hillary Clinton needs to do to persuade those voters to get behind her?

YARBER: Well, you know, I think that she's been particularly consistent. At this point, I think that her messaging around the fact that you may not support me right now, but I support you and will continue to support you - I think that she needs to continue to carry that message so that when we turn our sites to the general election, that that demographic won't feel alienated, but they'll be a part of this movement that's happening with Hillary Clinton.

SHAPIRO: Now, I want to talk to you about turnout because consistently through these primaries and caucuses, we have seen record-breaking turnout among Republicans and among Democrats. It has been nowhere near what it was when President Obama was on the ballot. How do you think Democrats can close that gap?

YARBER: Well, you know, I think, if I could just be very frank with you, I think that there is this rising level of urgency that Democrats are starting to see as we are really starting to take a Trump general election candidacy seriously. And for African-Americans, when you start to consider the frightening fact that the commander-in-chief of the United States could be someone who has very cautiously snapped the wrist of organizations who have consistently been against African-Americans and those who - those racial hate groups, then what you're starting to see is folks who are really passionate about rights - civil rights, human rights - beginning to speak up and step out more. So what we're anticipating is that the closer we get to general election, that we'll see Democrats start to come out in better numbers.

SHAPIRO: Mayor Tony Yarber of Jackson, Miss., thank you for joining us.

YARBER: Thanks for having me.

SHAPIRO: We're going to hear from a Bernie Sanders supporter elsewhere in the program, and we will keep you updated as we get more results from tonight's primaries throughout the evening. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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