Veteran political strategist Donna Brazile; Yolanda Caraway, founder of political think tank The Caraway Group; Rev. Leah Daughtry, chair of the 2008 and 2016 Democratic National Conventions; and veteran political strategist Minyon Moore, former chief executive officer and chief operating officer of the Democratic National Committee, pulled no punches during their Saturday afternoon panel on the 2019 Essence Festival Power Stage.

Moderated by Rev. Al Sharpton, the co-authors of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics touched on issues ranging from diversity in the Democratic Party to the critical need for grassroots political organizing.

“For the most part, all the candidates this election cycle are good,” Caraway opined. “Folks complained last time about only having Hillary [Clinton] and Bernie [Sanders], well, now, we have Black candidates, LGBT candidates, we have some of everybody. But we still need to know what their plans are.

“Elizabeth Warren has done a good job of showing us that,” Caraway continued, “but we also need to know how they’re going to beat Donald Trump.”

For Moore, it’s critical that Black voters demand the attention that they deserve.

“We cannot let these candidates squabble their way through this election cycle, so we have to focus them,” she said. “Ultimately, we’re looking for someone with strength, someone with humanity, and someone who can take this country in a direction our young people can be proud of.”

Brazile noted the importance of nurturing connections and being in community with your people, if one plans on shaping the political discourse in this country.

“We need people who are already rooted in the community,” Brazile stated with conviction. “When I worked on [former Vice-President] Al Gore’s campaign, I already had Rev. Jesse Jackson’s number; I already had Rev. Sharpton’s number; I could reach out to Coretta Scott King, and every member of the Congressional Black Caucus.”

Moore added that the time for overlooking and dismissing Black people’s vast contributions to this nation are over.

“I’m not embracing anyone who doesn’t understand that [Black people] have paid our dues, and we’re not going to pay them again,” she said unapologetically.

Ultimately, though, it’s about grabbing the reins of this country and steering it back into a direction resembling sanity.

“We will tell Donald Trump he’s fired and send his ass wherever he wants to go,” Brazile said, to thunderous applause, “but he ain’t coming here.”

Watch the full panel discussion below:

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