Black Intellectuals Line Up Behind Bernie Sanders

Steve KinsmanStarred Page By Steve Kinsman, 24th Feb 2016 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

The media is telling us that African Americans are overwhelmingly favoring Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Party's nomination, but her "firewall" is starting to cave in.

Assessing the minority vote

The mainstream media and its inside-the-beltway pundits would have us believe that Hillary Clinton enjoys the overwhelming support of African-American and Latino voters, but the results in Nevada proved that assessment wrong when it came to Latinos, the majority of whom caucused for Bernie Sanders, not Hillary. Now, the punditocracy's assumptions are about to be put to the test in South Carolina and much of the rest of the South, where large numbers of black voters reside.

Several black intellectuals have recently lined up to endorse Bernie Sanders in the race, chiefly because they have carefully and thoroughly examined both candidate's records on race relations, and they have concluded that Bernie's record is exemplary, while Hillary's is questionable at best.

Ben Jealous

Ben Jealous was elected as the youngest-ever president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), serving from 2008 through 2013. He is now in South Carolina actively campaigning on behalf of Bernie Sanders' candidacy in advance of that state's upcoming primary.

"Bernie Sanders has been principled, courageous and consistent in fighting the evils that Dr. King referred to as the 'giant triplets' of racism, militarism and greed," Jealous said in his endorsement. "Bernie Sanders has the courage to confront the institutionalized bias that stains our nation. Bernie Sanders is the type of leader we can trust to fight for the future of all our nation's children as if they were his very own. It is for all these reasons that I am proud to endorse Bernie Sanders for president of these United States."

Cornel West

A figure of towering intellect who has taught at Harvard and now Princeton, Cornel West is indefatigable as a civil rights crusader. West is heavily involved in Sanders' effort, appearing with him frequently at campaign rallies.

He says "The conventional wisdom holds that, in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton is the candidate who will win over African-American voters - that her rival, Bernie Sanders, performed well in Iowa and won New Hampshire on account of those states' disproportionate whiteness, and that Clinton's odds were better in the upcoming contests in South Carolina and Nevada, two highly diverse states."

"But, in fact, when it comes to advancing Dr. King's legacy, a vote for Clinton not only falls far short of the mark; it prevents us from giving new life to Dr. King's legacy. Instead, it is Sanders who has championed that legacy in word and deed for 50 years. This election is not a mere campaign; it is a crusade to resurrect democracy - King-style - in our time. In 2016, Sanders is the one leading that crusade."

"Clinton has touted the fact that, in 1962, she met King after seeing him speak, an experience she says allowed her to appreciate King's 'moral clarity.' Yet two years later, as a high schooler, Clinton campaigned vigorously for Barry Goldwater - a figure King called 'morally indefensible' owing to his staunch opposition to the Civil Rights act of 1964. And she attended the Republican convention in 1968! Meanwhile, at this same moment in history, Sanders was getting arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago and marching in Washington with none other than King himself. That is real moral clarity."

Michelle Alexander

Michelle Alexander, the award-winning author of the national best-selling book "The New Jim Crow," in a scathing article published in The Atlantic as well as on many progressive internet sites, lambastes Hillary Clinton for her dismal record on race relations. Pointing out that while Hillary was First Lady she wielded significant influence in Bill Clinton's administration, Alexander asserts that Hillary's statements from that time need to be highly scrutinized, and she points out that "she used racially coded rhetoric to cast black children as animals." 'They are not just gangs of kids anymore,' she said. 'They are often the kinds of kids that are called super-predators. No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we must bring them to heel.'" ".....On the campaign trail, she continues to invoke the economy and country that Bill Clinton left behind as a legacy she would continue. So what exactly did the Clinton economy look like for black Americans? Taking a hard look at this recent past is about more than just a choice between two candidates. It's about whether the Democratic Party can finally reckon with what its policies have done to African-American communities, and whether it can redeem itself and rightly earn the loyalty of black voters."

Alexander's article in The Nation is long, but it is well worth reading, as I have barely touched upon all of the objections she raises against Hillary Clinton's candidacy. You can check out the article at this link:

Spike Lee

Film writer, producer and director Spike Lee has not only endorsed Bernie Sanders with enthusiasm, he has gone so far as recording a radio commercial backing him, which is now airing in South Carolina in advance of the primary there. In it he says "Wake up, South Carolina. This is your dude, Spike Lee. And I know that you know the system is rigged. For too long we've given our votes to corporate puppets. Sold the okie-doke. Ninety-nine percent of Americans were hurt by the great recession of 2008, and many are still recovering. When Bernie gets in the White House, he will do the right thing," said Lee, taking the line from his1989 film of the same name. "How can we be sure? Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr. King. He was arrested in Chicago for protesting segregation in public schools."

Ta--Nehesi Coates

Prominent African-American author, journalist and activist Ta-Nehesi Coates said on Wednesday, February 17, that he will vote for Bernie Sanders. While he disagrees with Sanders over the senator's stance on reparations, Coates said that "Sanders is the best option that we have in the race." He added "I have tried to avoid this question, but yes I will be voting for Senator Sanders."

Coates made his remarks in an interview with Amy Goodman on her program Democracy Now!

"I'm stunned, but I'm pleasantly stunned," he remarked after Sanders' whopping 22-point victory in the New Hampshire primary.

Killer Mike

Killer Mike is a widely-known hip-hop artist and political activist from Atlanta. In January, he introduced Bernie Sanders in an impassioned speech to the crowd at a rally attended by thousands in the Georgia city. "In my heart of hearts," he said, "I truly believe that Senator Bernie Sanders is the right man to lead this country...I have said in many a rap, I don't trust the church or the government, a Democrat, Republican, a pope, a bishop, or those other men. But after spending five hours tonight, after spending five hours with someone who has spent the last fifty years radically fighting for your rights and mine, I can tell you that I am very proud tonight to announce the next president of the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders!"

We can only hope that black America is listening to the enlightened voices of the thinkers cited here, for the battle between Hillary and Bernie is more than just a typical primary fight - much more. It is nothing less than a battle for the heart and soul of the Democratic P)arty and its future course in American politics. Will the party reclaim its rightful place as an authentic champion of labor, the poor, minorities, the downtrodden and dispossessed - the party that gave us all of the progressive victories of the past century: women's suffrage, Social Security, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act and more - or will it continue to be the neo-liberal, Republican-lite party engineered by Bill Clinton, taking its cue from the Wall Street lords of money who have enriched him and his wife to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars?

Links: Bernie's not Electable? Think Again

All photos from wikimedia commons


African American Voters, African-American Vote, Ben Jealous, Bernie Sanders, Black Lives Matter, Coprnel West, Hillary Clinton, Killer Mike, Michelle Alexander, Political Endorsements, Spike Lee, Steve Kinsman, Ta-Nehesi Coates

Meet the author

author avatar Steve Kinsman
I live in California with my wife Carol, where I have been practicing professional astrology for 35 years. I write articles on astrology, but I enjoy writing on a variety of other subjects as well..

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author avatar Retired
25th Feb 2016 (#)

Killer Mike's introduction was soul-stirring, that's for sure.

The biased media are still trying to paint this as a Clinton race to win, even here in Canada. My hope is that the grass-roots caucus votes for the Bern...

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
25th Feb 2016 (#)

My hope is that as well. Thanks for commenting Christopher.

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author avatar Mariah
26th Feb 2016 (#)

..Killer Mike, wow what an impressive speaker..
''we don't want our very own Margaret Thatcher" too right
you don't..this guy's speech is on fire..' feel the burn Hilary'
Fantastic page Steve, very well done!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
26th Feb 2016 (#)

Thank you Mariah. Great comment.

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author avatar onenow
26th Feb 2016 (#)

Thanks Steve.

This has to be good news for the Sanders campaign, the first real progressive we have seen in 20+ years.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
26th Feb 2016 (#)

Thank you onenow.

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author avatar Shamarie
26th Feb 2016 (#)

Awesome post, Steve! Congrats on the gold star! Bernie is doing well and surprising many people!!!

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
26th Feb 2016 (#)

Thanks for commenting Shamarie. Yes, he is indeed surprising lots of people.

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author avatar M G Singh
29th Feb 2016 (#)

Hi Steve, surprises won't help, as Bernie is trailing Hillary and that is not good news.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
3rd Mar 2016 (#)

Wait until after March 15th to make that assessment. Hilary won in the South. Bernie won Oklahoma, Vermont, Colorado and Minnesota. In Minnesota he won every single congressional district. He keeps gaining ground and I think he will pull it out in the end.

The polls show he would beat Trump and every other Republican. They also show Hillary losing to Trump. Bernie is more electable than Hillary.

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author avatar Donald Czerwinski
8th Mar 2016 (#)

Hi Steve Kinsman, you have some very interesting articles. I can't agree with them all but very good.

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author avatar Steve Kinsman
8th Mar 2016 (#)

Thank you Donald, I appreciate that.

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author avatar writestuff
11th Mar 2016 (#)

Interesting and idealistic post. Bernie Sanders can not stand up to the evil, obstructionist ALEC controlled Congress. Vermont & Massachusetts election results weave a sad tale.

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