Is it me, or does it look like the democratic primary is starting to look more and more like the one on the republican side?
Bernie and Hillary of course realize that without the black vote they will not win the democratic primary to compete with the Mr. Bad Hair to become president of these divided states of America.
I saw a picture of Bernie down South, and he had a lot of black folks around him. Bernie is from Vermont, so I am guessing that he hasn't had that many black folks so close to him since he marched in the sixties with Dr. King and company. (Props to you Bernie if that's you in this pic.)
Hillary is married to the "first black president", so she was already given a black card. The problem is, of course, that when she ran against the real first black president, she and her husband raised some eyebrows with their characterization of the then young Obama. If it's one thing I know about black folks, y'all don't forget shit.
Anyway, one writer who I have a lot of respect for has questioned Bernie's stance on the very serious issue of reparations for black folks. Apparently Bernie is not too enamored with the idea.
"Last week Bernie Sanders was asked whether he was in favor of “reparations for slavery.” It is worth considering Sanders’s response in full:
No, I don’t think so. First of all, its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil. Second of all, I think it would be very divisive. The real issue is when we look at the poverty rate among the African American community, when we look at the high unemployment rate within the African American community, we have a lot of work to do.
So I think what we should be talking about is making massive investments in rebuilding our cities, in creating millions of decent paying jobs, in making public colleges and universities tuition-free, basically targeting our federal resources to the areas where it is needed the most and where it is needed the most is in impoverished communities, often African American and Latino.For those of us interested in how the left prioritizes its various radicalisms, Sanders’s answer is illuminating. The spectacle of a socialist candidate opposing reparations as “divisive” (there are few political labels more divisive in the minds of Americans than socialist) is only rivaled by the implausibility of Sanders posing as a pragmatist. Sanders says the chance of getting reparations through Congress is “nil,” a correct observation which could just as well apply to much of the Vermont senator’s own platform. The chances of a President Sanders coaxing a Republican Congress to pass a $1 trillion jobs and infrastructure bill are also nil. Considering Sanders’s proposal for single-payer health care, Paul Krugman asks, “Is there any realistic prospect that a drastic overhaul could be enacted any time soon—say, in the next eight years? No.”
Sanders is a lot of things, many of them good. But he is not the candidate of moderation and unification, so much as the candidate of partisanship and radicalism. There is neither insult nor accolade in this. John Brown was radical and divisive. So was Eric Robert Rudolph. Our current sprawling megapolis of prisons was a bipartisan achievement. Obamacare was not. Sometimes the moral course lies within the politically possible, and sometimes the moral course lies outside of the politically possible. One of the great functions of radical candidates is to war against equivocators and opportunists who conflate these two things. Radicals expand the political imagination and, hopefully, prevent incrementalism from becoming a virtue.
Unfortunately, Sanders’s radicalism has failed in the ancient fight against white supremacy. What he proposes in lieu of reparations—job creation, investment in cities, and free higher education—is well within the Overton window, and his platform on race echoes Democratic orthodoxy. The calls for community policing, body cameras, and a voting-rights bill with pre-clearance restored— all are things that Hillary Clinton agrees with. And those positions with which she might not agree address black people not so much as a class specifically injured by white supremacy, but rather, as a group which magically suffers from disproportionate poverty." [Source]
I too must admit that I view a lot of what Bernie is doing with some skepticism. I find a lot of his supporters to be people who are focused on things that have no significance to my life as a black man in America. Yes, I like the fact that if he wins Bill O'Reilly would "flee" to Ireland, and I like the fact that he is closer to being a Socialist than Hillary, but not all Socialists are created equal.
Jelani Cobb summed up the disconnect perfectly in this tweet:
Candidate emerges, says let's radically reimagine American democracy. Black person raises hand & then it's "Hold on... Let's be realistic."
Anyway, as was to be expected, one of Bernie's most popular African American supporters, Killer Mike, came out and publicly defended him.
Killer Mike basically said that the current president, who is black, has not been asked about reparations, and he is black. OK, that's true.
Still, even though a lot of folks seem to be "feeling the Bern" and he is, like trump on the right, becoming a rock star in political circles, black folks (with al due respect to Killer Mike) just aren't feeling him like that.
The polls look good for Bernie in these early states, but let's be honest, you can fit all the black folks in Iowa and New Hampshire in Bernie's campaign bus. What is he going to do when he heads South to places like South Carolina and Mississippi? If he really wants to beat Hillary he will have to figure that one out. Maybe he can recruit a few more Killer Mike type cats to be his surrogates. Or he can just sit back and hope that Hillary's recent e-mail issues will cause the long arm of the law to snatch her from the campaign trail.
*Pic from yahoo.com