Earlier this week, Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 race for the White House. Joe Biden is the last person standing for the Democratic Party nomination. As the former Vice President of the most popular POTUS in modern politics, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would carry the party’s banner this cycle.
Not many people gave gropey Uncle Joe a chance when the contest started. However, the writing was on the wall and Bernie World failed to read it.
That writing was in black, as in the Black vote. No one can win the Democratic Party nomination for President without significant, dependable Black voter support. You see, “the establishment” is also the default. In the absence of a well-crafted policy from a trusted, respectful suitor; voters will always go with the status quo. However, the campaign decided that specific economic policy for Black America was the only bridge too far. Even now, the talking heads on the American left are avoiding this straight forward, logical analysis.
Back in the ancient days of 2016, Hillary Clinton’s firewall handed Bernie his hind parts, state after state. Ultimately, this is what sealed the deal for HRC. Beyond the DNC cheating and Clinton media connections, it all led right back to the Black vote. The Bernie campaign decided not to change their approach to ADOS (American Descendents of Slavery) voters.
Somehow the team figured that the 2016 negro outreach strategy was so nice, they would run it twice. They decided not to court Black voters beyond the young bloc they already had. Every observer of U.S. politics will tell you that young voters, of all stripes, are notoriously undependable. The campaign also liked their polling with independent voters- a plurality of potential general election voters. However, this was the primary and indies showed no interest in registering as Democrats to carry the Vermont Senator through to the nomination. I tried to fit a “knife to a gunfight” analogy here, but I think the point is clear.
Between the 2016 and 2020 races, a new player entered the national political landscape. The American Descendents of Slavery Movement (#ADOS), a pro-reparations movement, burst onto the scene and completely reset the template for Black politics. They also changed what it meant to be a political ally to Black Americans. Gone are the days of lip service and calculated silence that amounted to nothing in terms of economic policy. #ADOS wielded economic data and historical facts so deftly and fearlessly that there was little room to wiggle out of supporting reparations for the progeny of American slaves.
To recap: 1) Black America is facing genocide, 2) Bernie required Black votes, and 3) he needed a game changer to undermine Bidens Obama-generated lead with Black voters. This situation was just what the doctor ordered. Sadly, Berners have very little tolerance for anything less than full, adoring support for Bernie Sanders and his platform from Black people in their tent, including yours truly. For negroes, it’s lockstep or you quickly become the enemy.
Instead of bringing the movement aboard and building a new front in the war against the status quo and right historical wrongs, Bernie World attacked the fledgling movement in hopes of diminishing their influence. This fateful decision will impact leftie politics for decades to come.
Bernie’s brain trust recognized that African Americans are on an intentional, policy-driven decline. Instead of fighting against this tide, they decided to cobble together a new coalition from scratch. This grouping included immigrants, independents, and leftish White folks. If the reaction to ADOS Reparations is any indicator (and it is), one of the defining principles for this confederation is a reflexive aversion to specific economic policy for Black America. In case you are wondering, yes, that is racist. Or anti-Black or anti-ADOS. Perhaps, all the above.
The left’s new bloc of votes still has not materialized in any significant way, nationally. The Black vote is still the holy grail in Democratic electoral politics. What remains of the “left” is banking on American politics being post-Black in the near future. They have no intention of tackling the historical and ongoing ravages of American domestic policy on Slave Descendents in this country.
Ultimately, the United States of America cannot be fixed if race is not fought head-on with economic repair as the top priority.
The end of the Sanders campaign for President is likely the sunset of the current iteration of the American Progressive movement. Even now, leftie voices are choosing sides and pointing fingers. There will be many warring factions by the time Trump kicks Biden’s bloodied corpse off a cliff in November. Just in time for a new shattering from the talking heads on CNN and MSNBC. Oh goody…
There are also whispers of sabotage within the Sanders campaign. Bernie’s efforts to play nice allowed establishment operatives under his tent. Campaign manager Faiz Shakir has worked for both Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. This is not exactly the resume of a Leftist firebrand.
Class AND Race
My writing over the years has almost always been about the intersection of Class and Race. The fight for the soul of this nation is at this crossing. That is what drew me to the BernieVerse in 2015. However, over time that changed. The advent of ADOS revealed that Berners were not a Class-only, nor a “Class and Race” group. They are “Class VERSUS Race.” Race is treated as a distraction, non-issue, or liability. Not a driving force for the state of the American economy and society, at large.
“There is no war but class war.” was uttered more than a few times this cycle. Yay! More references to dead, old white guys. [eye roll emoji].
They avoided race discussions like the ‘rona. It was “lift all boats’ rhetoric or nothing. In many ways, Bernie was running an Obama 2.0, “One America” campaign, sans the charm, good looks, and political killer instinct. In another conspicuous parallel, there were no plans to do anything specifically for ADOS constituents.
The American Left has missed their window because they fought the wrong fights and avoided the right one(s). Bernie fumbled any semblance of a succession plan for the movement, DC (in the form of Nancy Pelosi) has eaten the Squad, and climbers are dividing the movement’s carcass to keep the money coming in.
I sincerely hope a stronger, truly justice-driven movement will rise from these ashes to create a new moment and make this country work for the rest of us. But, right now it seems too many important lessons have gone unlearned.