Despite the attempts of the media and the Democratic party establishment to paint a portrait that Bernie Sanders lacks support among black voters, the reality is quite different, as Ryan Grim reports.
Despite a persistent notion that his supporters are disproportionately white male “bros,” the new survey suggests that Sanders is actually slightly more popular among black Democratic voters than white ones, indicating that the narrative that developed during the 2016 campaign may no longer hold, if it ever did.
Sanders’s support among black voters, at 28 percent, puts him in second place among that demographic, behind Biden, at 32 percent. He trailed Biden 31-25 among whites.
Grim says that there is a class element at play too.
There appears to be a strong class element at play in the finding. The same poll found that the demographics Sanders is least popular with — at 19 and 17 percent, respectively — are Democrats who make more than $100,000 per year and Democrats who have post-graduate degrees (two qualities that typically, if not always, overlap). Because of structural wealth and income gaps, that population is heavily white.
Sanders, meanwhile, receives his strongest support support from those making less than $50,000 — a group that is, for the same reasons, much more diverse. The poll found that 30 percent of those with the lowest incomes backed Sanders.
There was some good news overnight that Hillary Clinton and Michael Bloomberg both said that they would not be running for the presidency, though Clinton later denied that she had definitely closed the door to it. But Bloomberg’s withdrawal may be seen by fellow billionaire vanity candidate Howard Schultz as providing an opening to run, and Clinton’s withdrawal means that her neoliberal clone Biden may feel encouraged to run.
I have never been a fan of Biden, ever since his cowardly and appalling performance during the Clarence Thomas hearings where Anita Hill was treated shamefully. Despite the fact that he had such a long career in Congress, I am hard-pressed to think of what he actually stands for and his genial verbose shtick long ago wore thin for me.
In the March issue of Harper’s Magazine, Andrew Cockburn has a detailed examination what he calls “Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy” on so many issues including civil rights pushing for tough sentencing laws.
Despite pleas from the NAACP and the ACLU, the 1990s brought no relief from Biden’s crime crusade. He vied with the first Bush Administration to introduce ever more draconian laws, including one proposing to expand the number of offenses for which the death penalty would be permitted to fifty-one. Bill Clinton quickly became a reliable ally upon his 1992 election, and Biden encouraged him to “maintain crime as a Democratic initiative” with suitably tough legislation. The ensuing 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, passed with enthusiastic administration pressure, would consign millions of black Americans to a life behind bars.
While many black Americans will neither forgive nor forget how they, along with relatives and friends, were accorded the lifetime stigma of a felony conviction, many other Americans are only now beginning to count the costs of these viciously repressive initiatives. As a result, criminal justice reform has emerged as a popular issue across the political spectrum, including among conservatives eager to burnish otherwise illiberal credentials. Ironically, this has led, in theory, to a modest unraveling of a portion of Biden’s bipartisan crime-fighting legacy.
Cockburn says that Biden’s friendliness towards big business and the big banks is legendary. So why the interest in Biden? It is the same old story.
Given Biden’s all too evident shortcomings in the fields of domestic and foreign policy, defenders inevitably retreat to the “electability” argument, which contends that he is the only Democrat on the horizon capable of beating Trump—a view that Biden, naturally, endorses. Specifically, this notion rests on the belief that Biden has unequaled appeal among the white working-class voters that many Democrats are eager to court.
But electability was also Hillary Clinton’s main argument and we saw how that ended up.
You can read more about Biden’s negative legacy here.
The Democratic party needs to nominate someone who genuinely represents the interests of the disenfranchised people in this country and will aggressively take that fight to the Republicans. Biden is not that person.