The 4th Democratic Debate Wrap-Up

[Content Note: Racism.]

The fourth Democratic debate was this weekend (complete transcript), and on an enthusiasm scale of one to ten, I was at a negative kerplillion for spending two hours listening to Bernie Sanders shouting at me, so I didn't watch it.

I did, however, tune in long enough to see this mess (which Imani Gandy also discusses on TWiB episode 781):
Moderator Lester Holt: Senator Sanders, just over a week ago the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus endorsed Secretary Clinton, not you. He said that choosing her over you was not a hard decision. In fact, our polling shows she's beating you more than two to one among minority voters. How can you be the nominee if you don't have that support?

Senator Bernie Sanders: Well, let me talk about polling. [laughter] As Secretary Clinton well knows, when this campaign began she was 50 points ahead of me. We were all of three percentage points. Guess what? In Iowa, New Hampshire, the race is very, very close. Maybe we're ahead New Hampshire. [cheering] In terms of polling, guess what? We are running ahead of Secretary Clinton. In terms of taking on my taking on my good friend, Donald Trump, beating him by 19 points in New Hampshire, 13 points in the last national poll that we saw.

To answer your question. When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice—just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we're on a path to a victory.
Wow. WOW.

So, just to be clear, Bernie Sanders was asked by a black moderator how he will increase his appeal to voters of color, and he responded by saying that black people aren't familiar with his Congressional record and agenda, thus implying not only that black people are ignorant fools who don't know how to use Google, but that they're only supporting Clinton in larger numbers because they don't know what's best for themselves.

Further, he set "the African American community" and "the Latino community" outside of the "general population," thus implicitly defining the general population as white people.

Bernie Sanders has been in Congress since 1991. That's 24 years to build a record worth noticing by constituencies for whom he's been a champion. If people of color aren't familiar with Sanders' record already, well, maybe that's because Sanders hasn't distinguished himself as a reliable and vocal ally to people of color over those decades.

Maybe that's why his supporters reach back to his marching with MLK in the '60s when his credentials on race are questioned.

This patronizing shit isn't how a progressive coalition gets built.

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