Much to his chagrin Bernie Sanders is learning it isn’t easy being a liberal darling and expecting the various voting blocs of the Democratic Party to tag along. Sanders had another bad expereince with #BlackLivesMatter activists and this time he walked off the stage when they shut him down cold.
Sanders’ inability to either address this issue or shut it down should begin to send up some warning flags that his popularity with the Left may not carry out to the general election and his floundering response to being targeted by #BlackLivesMatter says a great deal of how Democrats can’t take it on faith Barack Obama’s base will automatically line up for their nominee next year.
Being the darling of the White progressives within the Democratic Party was never going to be all it took for Bernie Sanders to out-maneuver Hillary Clinton on her Left flank. Sanders was in trouble when he said this at the NetRoots meeting a few weeks ago, “Black lives, of course, matter. I spent 50 years of my life fighting for civil rights and for dignity. But if you don’t want me to be here, that’s OK. I don’t want to outscream people.”
The mistake Sanders and his supporters have made is thinking a progressive agenda, being pro-civil rights and marching with King is all it takes to win over a bloc of voters who don’t know what the agenda is or don’t think your agenda is pro-enough. Sanders could put an end to these protests, but that would take him acknowledging he needs to. He’s being challenged by these activists to walk the walk and not just talk the talk. He has failed to rise to the challenge.
Whether Sanders is or is not on the side of the #BlackLivesMatter activists is a debate we’re going to keep having until its been resolved. Right now, they obviously feel Bernie isn’t enough on their side and is only saying what he thinks he needs to say to placate them. Lip service is not going to get it done.
Why should they get Sanders get a pass? I’m speculating, but perhaps the reasoning of #BlackLivesMatter is to their supposed allies to come correct before going after their likely adversaries in the GOP. It only makes sense to hold the Democrats accountable because unlike the Republicans, they actually need to be on the right side of this issue.
#BlackLivesMatter isn’t the only issue in this campaign, but Sanders putting a “racial justice” link on his website does not reach and resonate with the Black community. Neither do interviews where he says dopey stuff like, “I have a long history in fighting for civil rights. I understand that many people in the African-American community may not understand that.”
Oh, Bernie. You really are lost up your own ass, aren’t you?
I’m not the only one saying this. Douglas Wilder, the former governor of Virginia and presidential candidate, said on NPR the issue of race is not going away in the 2016 race.
“Let me tell you one of the things that’s going to be on the agenda … The issue of race is going to be the 800 pound gorilla in the room even though it might not be spoken … because everybody’s talking about the enemy that’s going to be beating us. The enemy is not the enemy with-out our country, it’s going to be the enemy within our country. It’s not going to be ISIS, it’s not going to be al-Qaida, it’s not going to be the Taliban, it’s going to be the people in this country coming to have to believe that we are one nation, indivisible. We are not a police state that treats certain people as second class citizens. Governors have something to say about that.”
“I don’t know what’s going to be the top issue, but it’s going to be the issue relative to what we need to do to make our country strong. Yes, it’s a stronger issue than al-Qaida, ISIS, ISIL, Taliban and all of them together because if we are not strong within, then we cannot fight that which attacks us from the outside.”
Are the candidates saying what you want to hear as the first elected African American governor in this country?
“No, they are not. First of all, the African-American vote is taken for granted by both sides — one side says, well we’re not going to get them, and the other side says, well we don’t have to worry about them, so let’s concentrate on the Hispanic vote. That’s a big mistake. Take nobody for granted and be certain to understand that you can’t take people shot and killed because they don’t have a license plate on the front of their car, or …”
You don’t sound like someone who is ready to vote for Hillary Clinton.
“I don’t sound like anyone whose ready to vote for anybody. I have a reputation that no one takes my vote for granted and I think that’s the way it should be, and I’m not suggesting that Hillary and I and her husband and I — we have great relationships — but we’re not talking about personalities. We’re talking about the nation. The country. The people. Where are we? People are saying ‘this exceptional nation.’ Who built the nation, what made the nation great? Who were the people that were enslaved and made others rich and then left to paddle their own canoes and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and then criticized for every little thing that goes askew.”
“I think it’s more important for the candidates to speak to how they regard race in America, how they see what’s taking place, and what they would do to offset some of the things that are taking … this vigilante mindset, and second class citizenship for some just by virtue of the color of the skin…”
Echoing Gov. Wilder here: I’m not ready to vote for anyone yet either and It is insulting to suggest Blacks should be fall in love with Sen. Sanders because he’s the poster boy of White Progressives. Sanders, like Chaffee, O’Malley, and Clinton (the hell with Jim Webb) can’t expect to get the Black vote if they don’t work for the Black vote. Democrats are entitled to nothing simply because they are Democrats. They don’t have the Black vote sewn up and Sanders and Clinton had better wake up to that reality.
The Dems cannot win the White House without the support of Black and Latinos and Sanders doing a humblebrag about what he’s done in the past isn’t going to help him now with a part of the base that doesn’t know him.
Race matters and race is going to matter in the 2016 presidential election no matter how much the candidates would prefer it would not.
For decades, the conventional wisdom has been Republicans don’t want to work to win the Black vote and Democrats don’t have to because they know they’re going to get it anyway. Those young women were being obnoxious, disruptive and rude. But their cause is just and holding the feet of so-called liberals to the fire to put some teeth behind their lofty principles isn’t a bad thing.
It’s too bad for The Bernie Bunch these activists are offending them so much, but it is through dissent is that things get discussed and things get changed. If Sanders can’t handle two angry women calling him out then its better for him to be exposed as a lightweight now because he isn’t ready to deal with Vladimir Putin, Islamic State or a hostile Republican Congress.
Suck it up sweethearts. Being pissed off against young Black folks because they aren’t oohing and ahhing over Bernie isn’t going to make the issue go away. This is the big leagues and now Sanders is playing small ball.