Primarily Speaking

[Content Note: Racist violence.]

Yesterday was the Republican Nevada Caucus, and Donald Trump won it handily, with 46% of the vote. Terrifying. His closest competitor was Marco Rubio, with 24%. Cruz came in third, with 21.4%, and Ben Carson and John Kasich trailed a distant fourth and fifth, with 5% and 3.6%, respectively.

Trump is now well on his way to earning the delegates he'll need to secure the nomination, so any space to indulge hail mary hopes of sliding in a moderate candidate at a brokered convention is quickly disappearing.

There was all kinds of fuckery at the caucus:
Turnout was high on Tuesday, and organizers were reportedly overwhelmed at some locations. There were also complaints on social media about caucus workers wearing Trump paraphernalia, prompting the Nevada Republican Party to release a statement noting, "Volunteers went through extensive training & are doing a great job."
Across social media, there were reports of people voting multiple times, because no ID was required to get a ballot, and of completed ballots just scattered around.

Sounds terrific. Republicans are great at democracy!

Meanwhile, on the other side of aisle, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders met for another town hall in South Carolina last night. CNN doesn't appear to have made a complete transcript available.

Clinton, who is on a 10-city Breaking Down Barriers tour with mothers of black women and men lost to racist violence—Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; and Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis—spent the afternoon in Greenville, South Carolina, with the mothers, who also appeared at the town hall. And they stood as she spoke about Jordan Davis' death, racialized violence, and white people's responsibility to challenge systemic racism:
These five women have lost children to police actions and to random, senseless gun violence. And there's no doubt that, in each case, as they said at the church earlier, there is a racial component to it. A young black teenager, 17 years old, playing the music in his car too loud with a bunch of his friends, and a white guy comes up and tells him to turn the music down; they exchange words; the man pulls out his gun and kills him. [looks pained] So, we have serious challenges, and I think it's important for people—and particularly for white people—to be honest about those. And to recognize that our experiences may not equip us to understand what a lot of our African American fellow citizens go through every single day.
I don't like that Clinton said this gun violence was "senseless," because, in a white supremacist culture with a long history of racist eliminationism, crimes like these absolutely "make sense." Their being heinous doesn't make them inexplicable.

But I do like, very much, that Clinton said white privilege leaves white people unequipped to understand black lives. Yes, because privilege limits empathy by design.

I also like that she is telling white people that it takes work to understand, which undermines that pernicious notion of objectivity conferred by privilege.

Basically: If a white candidate is going to be talking race, telling white people to stop being fucko creeps ought to be a big part of that.

Sanders made the excellent point that the Republican campaign to prevent President Obama from nominating a Supreme Court justice is a "racist effort" to delegitimize his presidency. It was such an excellent point, in fact, that Clinton made it in her speech in Harlem a week ago. Which is something I wouldn't even make a shitty comment about, had Sanders not just accused Clinton of "adopting his message and starting to use the same language he does."

During the town hall, Sanders also "paid tribute to 'wonderful people' he has met on the trail and told of how some said he had rekindled their interest in politics and democracy."
"If I let those people down who have faith in me—that's a scary thing when so many people have faith in you and believe you can do something," Sanders said. "It scares me very much. If I ever let those people down, it would be a terrible, terrible thing."

Overall, my summation is the same as always: Either of these two Democratic candidates would be eleventy million times preferable to Donald Trump, or any of the Republican candidates.

[Note: Although I mention the mothers of victims of racist violence who are supporting Clinton, I want to make clear there are relatives of victims of racist violence who are supporting Sanders, too. I noted their participation here, because Clinton referenced them in the comment I quoted. To be perfectly blunt, I'm trying to be really careful about how/when I write about black people who support Clinton, especially black people who are survivors of those killed by racist violence, because I don't want to appear as though I'm doing that increasingly ubiquitous White Person thing of appropriating their experiences to say "support my candidate!" That said, I also don't want to conceal what they're saying, because what they are saying is important. But sometimes I just can't tease out a way to amplify voices like these women's without communicating, even if inadvertently, that I'm appropriating their grief. And if not feeling secure about talking about them was just because of my privilege, no problem. Not everything is mine to write about. Sometimes I just need to listen. But when it's complicated because of the aggressive cynicism and appropriation marking this campaign, that's really frustrating, because it's unfair to them. So I'm struggling to find a balance, and I will probably do that imperfectly. But let me just say very straightforwardly: What they are saying is important to me, irrespective of whom they support.]

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