Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Being a guy who works long hours on the weekend, I didn't have time to address Bernie Sanders' Netroots Nation kerfuffle, so ably covered by Tengrain, who also ably covered the ensuing media freakout.

Personally, I consider myself a liberal, not a Democrat per se, and that the "Black Lives Matter" protestors were present to ensure that the primary concern of the African-American community, typically a solidly Democratic voting block, is addressed by the Democratic presidential candidates. I've read some website comments taking them to task for putting Bernie Sanders, who has a 97% rating from the NAACP, on the spot, but they are literally fighting for the lives of their loved ones. At the very least, Bernie should have been better able to extemporize a response, even if it were merely a promise to listen. Bernie's a prickly old Brooklyn boy, and he was thrown off his game by an unexpected confrontation.

Class matters to the African-American community, it has since the first African slaves disembarked in the British colony of Jamestown in 1619. African-Americans have always been the canary in the economic coalmine, the first to suffer in times of privation. Class issues, though, currently take a backseat to the problem of systemic racism, particularly in the death of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement authorities.

Bernie should appoint an African-American advisor to coach him on issues of concern to the black community- the population of Vermont is over 95% white, so Bernie needs to improve his ability to communicate effectively to minority voters.

In the meantime, the media response to Bernie's gaffe was absolutely atrocious, with Ruth Marcus taking the prize for being stupid and obnoxious:

It's obvious that Ms Marcus doesn't consider African-Americans, who are concerned with the appalling death toll in their community, are "normal voters", let's hope that Bernie doesn't make that mistake... we need the guy in the race to ensure that economic justice remains an issue in the upcoming election.


mikey said...

On the one hand, you're right - he needs to have a position, and he needs to be prepared to address other issues than just income inequality. But then, he doesn't have much of a position on ANYTHING but income inequality and wealth injustice. Look at his website. Nothing on Foreign Policy, nothing on the Budget, nothing on race, nothing on women, nothing on abortion, nothing on afghanistan, nothing on military policy, nothing on trade policy - literally NO concrete examples of how he proposes to govern the United States of America.

You might find this piece insightful:


Vixen Strangely said...

Failing to come to grips with a confrontation by BLM is a problem because this should have been on his (and O'Malley's) radar--Hillary Clinton had a bit of backlash for making the mistake of addressing their specific concerns with the "All lives matter" cliché, and if they aren't familiar with Black Twitter (more on that) they should at least be watching what Clinton does at least to know what pitfalls her campaign falls into.

BLM has parallels to Occupy, which I had been deeply sympathetic with even if I understood their tactics have a limited efficacy. There is a BLM website outlining the goals they have, and there is significant class-related economic overlap with the goals of Occupy. The failure to directly address and engage this movement--on the terms of that movement, which has particular reasons to believe that they are discounted and not heard by mainstream politics would be a significant failure to win over young, engaged, concerned, activist voters.

As to my side note about Black Twitter: I really don't want to think that Democratic politicians are so confident of who their base is that they have no interest in the deeper conversation of its parts. A meaningful constituency can stop being meaningful if you forget to address their meanings. That isn't to say people will become Republican voters--it's just that if Dem candidates want that turn out, they need to be listening to, and speaking to and with, those people. So that means knowing what real people are saying on social media, hearing diverse activist voices, and appreciating that input.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

with Ruth Marcus taking the prize for being stupid and obnoxious:

That's what keeps her on Fred Hiatt's staff.

As for Hillary, she avoided the whole thing by not being there. Easier to just take the liberal vote for granted via being the presumptive less evil nominee.

And then (like Obama) proceed with #BanksterLivesMatterMost.