Bernie Sanders, a socialist senator from Vermont, is running for US president. The election is 13 months away. But to run in that election with a chance of winning, he first has to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. He does that by winning the most delegates in state primaries and caucuses.
The first four states:
- February 1st 2016: Iowa
- February 9th 2016: New Hampshire
- February 20th 2016: Nevada
- February 27th 2016: South Carolina
He stands a good chance of winning Iowa and New Hampshire, but not South Carolina: he currently polls at 7% of the Black vote to Hillary Clinton’s 84%. Most Democratic voters in South Carolina are Black.
Nationwide, about 22% of Democratic voters are Black. If Hillary Clinton can hold on to 84% of that, she gets an 18-point advantage. Sanders is unlikely to make up for that with White voters.
As a young man back in the 1960s, Sanders joined CORE, part of the Civil Rights Movement. He was arrested while protesting against racially segregated public schools in Chicago. He was at the March on Washington in 1963.
But since 1991 he has represented Vermont in Congress. Vermont is one of the Whitest states in the nation, as White as the country as a whole was back in – the 1680s.
In 2015, running for president, he has been drawing huge crowds, bigger than anyone else’s. But they are lily White. Like he was a Republican or something.
In April 2015, on the day after the Baltimore riots over the police killing of Freddie Gray, Sanders gave a speech at Howard University. Howard is the top Black university in the nation, not all that far from Baltimore. During his speech Sanders said nothing about racism.
In July 2015, he appeared at Netroots Nation, a left-wing gathering. When protesters asked what he going to do about racism, he said:
“We’re going to transform the economics in America so that we create millions of decent-paying jobs. We’re going to make tuition at public colleges free.”
A woman in the crowd:
“Jobs and college don’t stop the police from killing me!”
He pointed to his civil rights record – from the 1960s.
In August 2015, one of his events in Seattle was taken over by Black Lives Matter protesters Marissa Johnson and Mara Willaford, again challenging him on the issue of racism. He said nothing. A few days later, at long last, he put up his Racial Justice policies on his website. But they were mostly about – class.
In October 2015 at the Democratic Party debate he said “Black lives matter”, but spoke about racism for only one minute, adding the need for criminal justice reform to the need for jobs and education.
Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, who is openly gay:
“The groups of people who have the most at stake – African Americans, Hispanics, LGBT – are much for serious for Hillary. They have got to be serious. White liberals get a psychic income for supporting Bernie Sanders, but they won’t suffer much if a Republican becomes president.”
– Abagond, 2015.
- Bernie Sanders
- The White Liberal Guide to Black People
- Freddie Gray
- Black Lives Matter
- “It’s not race, it’s class”
- Hillary Clinton – from 2007. I will hopefully be doing a post on her for 2016.
- racial decade