The protest movement is the factor that may well determine which Democratic candidate wins the black vote. Economic equality is certainly a priority for black Americans, but the number-one issue on most black voters’ minds is police brutality — a subject that neither Sanders nor any other candidate has discussed extensively until protesters have forced their hand.
Why Aren’t More Black Voters Feeling the Bern? The article is half right – the half that would reply, “All Lives Matter,” while railing against racial inequalities. It is the man standing in the watchtower overlooking a great plantation. A whistle blows, no one moves, and he assumes that those below are deaf. But they are not deaf. They are trapped between the whip on the left and the gun on the right.
Black Americans have been in this quandary, stuck between parties, ever since the first African American was allowed to vote in these United States. Currently, it is expected that most, if not all, African Americans will vote Democratic. Anyone outside of the 1% who votes Republican would be a fool according to some social media memes, but Ben Carson is not doing too shabby in the polls. And you know how we love dormant, almost near dead representation. So don’t think that those Black votes trailing off of the Democratic pot are going into limbo.
Why Doesn’t Bernie Feel Black Voters?
One specific quote in Terrell Jermaine Starr’s article caught my eye.
Lauren Victoria, a political strategist, says the senator’s tone was flippant. “He’s got to understand that the Democratic Party will not win this election without black voters, period,” she said. “So, the Democratic nominee, whether it is Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, or anyone else, has to acknowledge that black voters are important.
As I have commented many times, trying to frighten impoverished Black people with Republican rule, more poverty, consistent war expenditures, state-sanctioned murder, and mass incarceration will not motivate them to vote. This simply means to the already generationally impoverished and targeted, longer lines at the food pantry, the unemployment and social service offices, and for a bed at the shelters. Recriminations for not voting are even more barefaced considering after the election of either stripe (Republican or Democrat); the most impoverished see little difference in their lives. Most have been eliminated from employment statistics as unemployable or not actively seeking employment. A whole cast of votes disappears down the rabbit hole. Sanders is aware of this and the catch.
Bernie Sanders’ history with the Civil Rights Era and its aftermath – the Big Sleep, assures him that most Black people who vote will vote Democrat. He understands that the church-going Black working poor, state, and middle-class will vote their pastor’s conscience. They have learned to pray through workplace racial attacks, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, DWB (Driving While Black), and the fallout from the last elected candidate who graced their meeting grounds. Sanders must make the church rounds and photo ops three weeks before the election and those votes are in the bag. He was also depending on respectability politics to curtail any overt discussion of race.
Sanders did not expect a group of young Black Lives Matter protestors to hijack his platform at the 2015 Netroots Nation assembly. Starr writes:
During [Sanders] time on stage, activists repeatedly challenged him (they also challenged Martin O’Malley) to narrow his traditional message of economic and social justice to address police brutality. Sanders seemed befuddled and agitated; at one point, he asked Jose Antonio Vargas, the moderator, if he should leave.
Why would Bernie ask if he should leave? Liberals and Democrats failed to understand three great changes since they last marched for civil rights; which is making all the difference at present. When shows like “90210” aired on television depicting young adults controlling their world and their parents, African American children also had televisions. Secondly, despite the complaint that African Americans own a miniscule amount of media space, our young journalist, pundits, authors, celebs, and populous have coopted space in all forms of communications. Black Twitter has earned its own LA Times beat reporter. Our young and willing old are fed and feed current events, opinions, histories, and mysteries with very little supervision or censorship. With access to information in a digitized world comes the third change – confidence and critical thinking. These are our young voters. They are watching people die on their cellphones. These are Black Lives Matter and they want answers.
Black Lives Matter has added Black accountability and Black issues to the main stage. The indifferent Hillary Clinton posture and Sanders tacking racial inequality on the tail end of his list will not be offset by hiring a team to Black-speak. From the grocer who sends the Black stock boy to the register when the fruit is rotten, the one Black manager layered between White supervisors and upper management in racially charged workplaces, to the Black car salesman who runs to his White colleague’s side – after a Black person is sold a lemon. We have seen it all -the warning stink-eyed “brother,” the patronizing hallelujah sister, and most deadly – the Black political head of Black affairs.