Primarily Speaking

[Content Note: Harassment.]

Over the weekend, the Democrats had their caucus in Nevada, and the Republicans had their primary in South Carolina.

In Nevada, Hillary Clinton was the winner, making her the first female presidential candidate to win twice in the same state. (She also won in another squeaker in 2008.) Congratulations to Hillary Clinton! Yay!

In South Carolina, Donald Trump was the winner, by another huge margin. He won by ten points (32.5%) over Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who basically tied for second (22%). Jeb Bush came in a distant third, virtually tied with John Kasich and Ben Carson; each of them got around 7-8%.

After another poor showing, Bush finally dropped out of the race. Please clap.

And then there were six. If you include Jim Gilmore. Which I definitely do! Good luck, Jim Gilmore!

There was a bit of controversy at the Democratic Caucus, as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta was reportedly shouted down by Sanders supporters when she offered to translate the proceedings into Spanish.

Although there is no question that she was denied the opportunity to translate, and that the permanent chair said, "English only" from the stage, there was debate over whether people in the audience "chanted English only."

Janell Ross and Angus Johnston have both written pieces explaining how that possible misrepresentation happened. (I say "possible" because it's frankly not possible to determine from the video everything that was being said in the room.) The short version is: It wasn't bad faith, as lots of people are asserting it to be.

And, as Ross notes:
So there you have it. Right? Sanders's voters can't be tarred and feathered for -- or even deemed guilty of -- Huerta's "English-only" chants claim. And Huerta appears to have misattributed the permanent chair's English-only decision to the raucous crowd.

But it's really not quite that simple.

...Whether intended or not, those applauding effectively sanctioned a process that allowed qualified voters who do not speak English, or who are Spanish-dominant, limited insight and influence in the evening's events.

Some people at the caucus gathering may have been singularly focused on what they viewed as the risk of a Clinton supporter interpreting events for all Spanish-speakers in the room. But then, at the very least, they shouted an 80-plus-year-old woman off the stage for what they believed to be political bias. That is not a moment of which to be proud.

That the woman in question happened to be Dolores Huerta really does make matters worse. After all, Huerta is one of many people who personally waged activist war to create a multilingual voting system in the United States.
As Ana Mardoll observed on Twitter (sharing with her permission): "People clapping at the 'English only' announcement were applauding disenfranchisement." That's a big goddamn problem. Even when the people clapping aren't claiming to be mounting a sweeping revolution.

I also want to note that an important part of the context in which this transpired is the observable online shouting down of women of color by Sanders supporters for months. This didn't happen in a vacuum.

In fact, in happened in the same space in which Sanders surrogate Susan Sarandon took to 'splaining at Dolores Huerta, like she doesn't fucking know what's up.

That video is utterly cringe-inducing. And totally emblematic of how a large number of Sanders supporters engage with people, especially marginalized people, as if they need to educate us on what's important.

As if we are too dim to have assessed the candidates in a thoughtful way.

They don't even stop to contemplate the arrogance of telling another human being what "the biggest issue" is.

Maybe the economy is the biggest issue FOR YOU. Other people have immediate needs that don't have singularly economic solutions.

If you can't even respect that very basic truth of individual humanity, you're not leading any kind of progressive revolution, pals.

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