A Shock: Bernie is Actually Bagging Black Votes

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 8:24 PM

Bernie actually bagged a distant bigger % of Black votes than expected. He got more than one-fourth of the Black vote. Presently the reason that this got lost in the primary post-mortem is because Clinton as expected got seventy-four % of the Black vote.

A Shock: Bernie is Actually Bagging Black Votes

There was a tiny well-known footnote to Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders large win in the WI primary buried deep in the final vote stats. Bernie actually bagged a distant bigger % of Black votes than expected. He got more than one-fourth of the Black vote. Presently the reason that this got lost in the primary post-mortem is because Clinton as expected got seventy-four % of the Black vote. So the twenty-six % that Sanders got seemed paltry. The second reason it flew below the post-mortem radar scope is the by-now etched in stone campaign narrative that Hillary has an iron-clad lock on the Black vote, and that Bernie can only win young, white, left voters in "white" states.

The Clinton lock on the Black vote notion rests on some famous and well-tuned reasons that go beyond the fact that she's married to Bill, and Bill'south close universal past popularity with African-American voters has endowed her. She's a sterling track record and history in speaking out on civil rights, health care, poverty and women'south issues. She's deep ties with legions of black elected executive and civil rights leaders. And she's the one Democrat who blacks, particularly black women, declare they personally admire. Clinton also learned the bitter lesson of her SC primary loss to Obama in two thousand-eighth that did much to wreck her assumed simple glide path to the Democratic presidential nomination that year. This go circular there has been a Hillary sighting at just about every Black college, Black legislative function, Black churches imaginable. She'south met with Black Lives Matter activists at times and has done a public mea culpa for bill'south hard-nosed criminal justice initiatives that have resulted in the astronomical swell in the no of Blacks in state and federal pens in America.

This seeming lovefest with Hillary at any other time would be more than sufficient for her to skate through a primary with small worry about being upended. And certainly without a seeming Johnny arrive lately challenger, the likes of Sanders from one of the whitest states in the union. And a man who's made clear during much of his Senate career and the embryonic stages of his presidential running that his first and latest mantra will be chasing the Wall Str money lenders out of the public temples. This seemingly one-trick pony focus assured that Sanders would obtain nearly zero traction and votes when he rolled his campaign to the South. And that'south precisely how it played out. Clinton crushed him with the Black vote there.

But Sanders learned from this. He stepped up his game and has made a mighty effort to obtain visibility, traction, and endorsements from black organizations and elected executive wherever he can obtain them. He'south publicly embraced a lot of what Black Lives Matter has said and advocated on curbing police violence, mass incarceration, and criminal justice system reform. He'south lifted a page from the Clinton playbook with some Bernie sightings at Black churches and colleges. He even stopped the tap dance around the one question that more than a few Blacks have asked him: what does he think about reparations? At the Tindley Temple, a Black church in Philadelphia, Sanders didn't precisely embrace reparations, but he did concede that the federal government should create a massive effort to give destitute Black communities the lion'south share of financial aid and should formally apologize for slavery.

He'south learned something else about race politics. It'south fine to speak about smashing wealth and income inequality, but that doesn't do much when even black millionaires, business persons and professionals can be spread-eagled by police after a phony stop, or shadowed by store security in retail stores, or look as cabs ignore their frantic signals to stop and breeze by them, or are excluded from contract bidding by the excellent ol' boy system. Having all the wealth in the world means nothing in the face of bare and raw racial degradation.

To create any headway with Black voters, Sanders will have to create the case, and create it repeatedly and convincingly, that fighting tough against wealth and income inequality should be squarely tied in with fighting just as tough against racial inequality.

The first hint that Sanders' halting efforts to crack Clinton'south iron-grip on Black voters paid some dividends came in the early March MI Democratic primary. Sanders got nearly one-third of the Black vote in that primary. It did more than lift a few eyebrows. It was just sufficient to edge Sanders past Clinton and nab the win. It also did much more. It proved that in near contests in the Northern states with a significant percentage of Black votes, Sanders necessity not top Clinton'south Black vote total. This won't happen. He just needs to slice into her percentage of the Black vote to be competitive, and as MI showed, to even defy the oddsmakers, and win.

Clinton has always understood that in a racially tense and polarized nation, race matters, and matters greatly. Sanders is presently getting that. And he's actually bagging Black votes, and likely will continue to bag them.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. His latest book is From Sanders to Trump: A Guide to the two thousand sixteen Presidential Primary Battles (Amazon Kindle) He's an associate editor of New America Media. He's a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Indicate on Radio One. He's the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report Saturdays 9:00 AM on KPFK 90.7 FM LA and the Pacifica Network

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