Why no Black love for Bernie?

It’ simple. Bernie wants to change the society Blacks have been trying to get into.

March 6, 2020 Addendum on watching Rachel interview Bernie Sanders:

So many people whose political views are consonant with mine like Sanders and I have problems with him that I feel it necessary to point some things out. I’ve already done so with one friend in particular but here I want to point out a couple of items that came up in his interview with Rachel Maddow day before yesterday.

He speaks of his vision and Biden’s vision being different. I myself, when asked about liberal pov and conservative pov use the word vision to go to the heart of the matter. But in the campaign, we want to know not only policies but mode of acting on those policies. Grand visions start us off and attract us to one candidate or another; I didn’t see any Democratic candidate whose vision I didn’t like except Gabbard’s (since she’s still in I might have to post on her). Where Biden and Sanders differ, IMO, is on how you get there, how you get to universal health care, universal higher education (and not just college), universal housing, etc.

Rachel brought up Sander’s struggles with Black voters. He kept using the label people of color. It was a way of avoiding the collision between his vision and that of Black voters’ and of keeping the focus on his good performance among Latinx voters. It is a dodge; he could just say (as he did in a way), “I’m trying to understand why I am not connecting with Black voters.” (see opening statement above) When he said Clyburn’s politics are not his politics, he said it all.

He poses a lot; that’s one thing I really don’t like about him. He reminds me of the union guys who like to stand up, raise their fist and yell, “Strike!” It’s just a pose. He says he’s taking on this and that villain. True, he is. But what has he accomplished so far with his totally oppositional stance? We can bring insurance companies, Big Pharma, energy, to heel but only with decades-long, incremental changes in all sorts of places, including getting Americans off gas-guzzling cars and sweetened drinks. (Hey! Put the sweet drinks in the gas tank. That’d solve the problem)

And that gets to his favorite word: transform. He wants to transform the country. Again, go back to my first statement above: Blacks don’t want to transform it, they want in. Sanders said it succinctly: the purpose is not just to beat Trump, it’s to transform the country. And I’ll tell you, people who don’t read The Atlantic do not know what he means by “transform,” and the perfect example of how damaging that is to him is the way many people interpret it to mean he is going to take away their health insurance and their doctor.

Please understand, I agree with Sanders that African-Americans would do better with universal health care and access to more education – we all would. I understand the math of doing away with premiums, employer participation, co-pays, deductibles, and all the rest. But Sanders get red in the face and yells instead of patiently explaining.

April 9, 2020 To add to this on Sander’s dropping out:

Find two video clips, one hard to find, the other easy. The first is one of Sanders at an event, I don’t know what it was, where the people were African-American. It was sad to watch Bernie careen from table to table, unable to find an insertion point to introduce himself and talk to the people. I think he was mislead by their color; it was the hats that should have clued him in. The crowd was made up of Black church ladies, and there are few people on the planet more conservative than them. When Bernie talks about the “working man” they, given their age, think of a White ethnic who worked to keep their father out of the union. They want their man working, not some theoretical movement for the working man. And they want their grandkids going to college. They are not interested in culture wars over affirmative action, they just want college for the younger generation. Many of them may have had degrees; perhaps they were activists in the NAACP or the Urban League or a Black sorority, but they were not revolutionaries; revolution sounds airy-fairy, something Black folk should stay away from. The other people in the crowd were ministers, mostly Baptist, I would assume. Sanders may have expected a raised fit, a shout of “Power to the People” or a welcome as a member of The Struggle, etc. Not his crowd.

The other factor, and perhaps more powerful since it was subliminal, was his discomfort, shown by his inability to simply introduce himself from table to table and talk to the people about their families, theirwork, and yes, their struggles, but not high-level struggles for the betterment of society but for the betterment of their families and support for their churches. Mind reading Bernie for a minute, I would guess he has little grasp of the role of the church in Black society nor of the conservative nature of especially middle-aged Black people who are not living in a ghetto or just out of prison (though it’s likely some of them have been touched by the school to prison pipeline). There are social rules one follows, ways of approaching people, suitable topics before you get to the politics; you have first to establish yourself. Maybe he really did expect a civil rights centered event where his contributions would place him at the center of attention. It was pitiful to see him wander, lost, from table to table. Where was Nina, who could have hipped him to how to break in? I know the feeling; it happens to me all the time and I know how to break in but I had to learn.

Now the easy part; find a clip of the Clintons campaigning at a Black church. Probably Baptist. Don’t forget, Bill was raised in the South, knows evangelical culture and Black culture and Black evangelical culture. Hillary was a deeply involved church member in the Methodist church, the second most highly represented denomination among Blacks in the South (unless the Holiness churches have taken over). What you’ll see comes in three stages. B & H are seated on the dais with the ministers, with Bill leaning over now and then to exchange comments and chuckles with the ministers. Hillary is beaming, conservatively dressed. Behind them is the choir, swaying and handclapping and singing their hearts out while in front of them is a large congregation, swaying and clapping and tapping their feet and a tambourine appears here and there. What are B & H doing? Swaying and clapping and tapping their feet and Bill, at least, may even be singing along since he was raised in the part of the country where those hymns were the deepest part of the culture, White and Black. (see the movie The Apostle)

The next phase is the speech, which Bill may turn into more of a sermon, the way Barack did. Nevertheless it is heavy on politics. The big part of that speech though is the opening. At the opening Bill would acknowledge the head pastor of the church, the assistant pastors, the visiting ministers and invited guests, being sure to use titles like bishop, reverend, doctor, including reverend doctor – IOW acknowledging the dignity of each person on the dais. He might recognize members in the audience who may be local politicians not on the dais, and then he would turn around to the choir and compliment them on their robes, their singing, and their enthusiasm. Next he would address the congregation, praising them for their beautiful dress, how well-behaved the children were, and how hard they have worked to create this magnificent church. No politics there, all religious institution and family life. Then he would talk policy in the most pragmatic terms possible.

Next, church would let out. If there were no repast, which he would praise profusely and eat of profusely if served, the congregation would pass out in front of the church where everyone would meet and greet – the bread and butter of the politician – and chat. Relatives would be introduced to the famous candidate and the candidate and his wife would be sure to give respect to the very elderly, Mother So-and-So, Missionary So-and-So, and so forth. There would be little mention of a feminine agenda, nothing of gay rights other than a vague respect for all people if the issue came up at all, and only congratulations on local progress made on voting rights and civil rights and educational attainment, health benefits, etc. and earnest inquiry as to local needs in those areas a politician might be in a position to look into. Grand promises would be met with skepticism.

So IMHO Biden rides in not only on Barack’s coattails but on the Clintons’ as well. I could talk more on what it is like to be in a Black church but that gets more to African-American culture and another category.



  1. Paul Widergren says:

    👍Je suis d’accord.

  2. 伟思礼 says:

    Here’s someone else’s view, shown to me by my Sanders-supporting cousin-in-law:


  3. Pat Barrett says:

    I noticed an error in my post and corrected. Since this gets heated, I think I’ll add in one day soon the other things about Sanders that trouble me. Of course, people find lots about Biden to trouble them. We just have to decide who can get the jobs done: beat Trump and steer the country onto a viable course.
    Which brings me to the Fish diatribe from your cousin. That is exactly the sort of thing I saw so much of in the 60s. Underneath it, I believe, is some magical thinking: if you just yell your version of the truth aka The Truth loud enough, you’ll change the world. Reading Parting the Waters, I realize that MLK was no preacher who just saw injustice and rose up in righteous anger; he was a highly sophisticated theological thinker with ties to some of the best minds via his education at an elite institution. He ran the bus boycott terrified and beset by doubts. And it has taken decades to get to some measure of equality and we are obviously not there yet.
    So when I see this sort of cartoonish approach, I think of people I’ve known who laugh their heads off at sticking it to the man. I can never get past my sneaking suspicion that they are fighting old battles with their parents. Getting the job done does not mean going up to a conservative Democratic congressman, as President, as yelling, “Fascist” in his face.

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