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It’s no longer the silly season. This presidential primary is now in Mondo bizarro mode, where almost nothing makes sense, particularly black adulation for the Clintons.

In the days before the South Carolina Republican primary, a black minister stood in front of a battalion of Donald Trump’s supporters and became an oracle. He told the mostly white audience that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders won’t make it to the White House because “I know you’re going to make sure we elected a man who believes in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Trump, whose advocacy for building walls drew a rebuke from Pope Francis, told the same audience about the tragically high unemployment rate—for black people, specifically young black men. He blamed President Obama.

“Amen,” someone cried out.

This must have been a gut punch to Sanders, who has largely failed in his efforts to woo black voters. Even when he’s talking to a black audience about income inequality, Sanders manages more cringe-worthy moments than a Larry David comedy.

“We have, in America today, a broken criminal justice system,” Sanders told members of the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina. The line drew no applause.

One in three black men will face some jail or prison time in their lifetimes. Sanders has a solid record on fighting against police militarization of police and the growth of the privatized prison industry because of the illogical war on the drugs.

But Sanders sounds like the earnest professorial scold. He tells the truth about power and politics, more so than Clinton, but he’s missed the mark with black voters because his political philosophy has always been neglectful of race.

American socialists have been racially tone deaf since the days of Eugene Debs. Cornel West’s 1984 treatise, “Toward a Socialist Theory of Racism,” illustrates why Democratic socialists have had trouble courting large numbers of black voters. They view racism, West says, as being subsumed “under the general rubric of working-class exploitation. This viewpoint tends to ignore forms of racism not determined by the workplace.”

Sanders missed many opportunities to link to the Black Lives Matter movement. He got caught looking confused when two BLM activists in Seattle took the stage and called him out. Now Sanders is fumbling in black voters’ minds.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton works subtle semantic approaches to race that undermine Sanders. Recently, she told black supporters that America needs to end “systemic discrimination.” Not systemic racism, a term that is known to turn off potential white voters.

There is a key difference between those two words. Racism speaks directly to centuries of white supremacy and privilege; discrimination can be read as universal, with whites attacking affirmative action as discriminatory at the same time as blacks call out shameful hiring practices. Everybody is aggrieved. Clinton has no real plan to end systemic discrimination or racism, but she’s cherished for her truthiness.

It’s no wonder Cornel West called her the Milli Vanilli of the 2016 campaign—just as fake as she is fabulous.

 

Fred McKissack Jr. is a writer, editor, and longtime contributor to The Progressive.

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Comments

This is an offensive cartoon depiction of two candidates - one a happy grandpa, the other a prissy looking schoolmarm with pursed lips. Sanders' smile is huge, Clinton's forehead is huge. what is that about? Really unfair and simply sexist. You should withdraw it and apologize, Progressive.
Please. Let's just be honest. People of all hues are gravitating to #WhichHillary because they're too cowardly to take steps toward true change. Bernie has this brown-skinned human's vote. That woman will never get my support. I remember what she and Slick said and did in the 1990s and what Slick said on the stump in 2008. I will never forgive them for it.
Both Democratic candidates are wanting about race if you ask me. Im still undecided. But your coverage seems to say Hillary has no plan. I think you should support that statement against her actual proposal to spend $2B in reforming the education system to "end the school to prison pipeline and start a craddle to college one." In fairness, that seems like more than Sanders has proposed on behalf of racial justice.
wouldn't that be something? That blacks, that most cherished of "oppressed" groups, deny white liberals their moment in the sun. Shows you how smart they are.
Maureen, thank you for your feedback. We apologize for offending you but the cartoon will remain as is.
I am a brown-skinned human, too. A Latino. And if my choice is "that woman" or Donald Trump, I will crawl on my knees over a mile of broken glass to cast my vote for "that woman". .
I guess that must make me a socialist too ~chuckle~ as I don't see color either. I was raised to see people for who they were not what they were. And that ones actions might be but besides that no one was any better or any worse than anyone else. Hopefully one day standing together for a common cause will be more important.
You progressives are fanatical racists in reverse, despising all whites and convinced that every "African American" is perfect in every way. The reason blacks don't vote for Sanders: They're ignorant, lazy, and dumb. Especially lazy. I have heard dozens of interviewees say "we don't know Sanders." What a totally damning remark to make about oneself. The election for President and they are too lazy to spend any time investigating the candidates! I don't want to vote for either of them. But I'll probably go for Trump. So what if he's a Fascist. After all, Mussolini made the trains run on time, and he jailed of or killed off the chiefs (so as to have no opponents). That's a lot more than Clinton has accomplished in her long years of feeding at the public trough.
I was an adult in the Clinton years and I remember NAFTA, DOMA, the ending of AFDC, and the Glass-Steagall Act. You may say: 'yes, but Bill did those things.' He did, with her standing right beside him smiling. More recently she has supported the Iranian invasion, No Child Left Behind, and how about this "Under Clinton's leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure -- derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) -- represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term." - The International Business Times. She isn't honest. She isn't electable either, because if I, a true blue Dem can say this about our darling, you bet the republicans have only just started their attack.
Sander's policies, consistency over many years, and vision has not cost him the loss of out reach demographic votes---- his campaign staff is inexperienced in national politics; that and the caustic vitriol of Sander commenters that went for the jugular of the Democratic Party, Democratic Party leader, Democratic Party history, even went after President Obama and Democratic voters themselves. Their comments that are indistinguishable from Foxtard News, tea party birther racists or Republicans alienated Democrat voters. Sanders deserved better than the behavior of his commenters and the inexperience of his staff.

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Carolina Panthers

If the black citizens of Charlotte and white supporters of justice block the entrance to the stadium on Sunday, I...

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).


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