Washington (CNN)This isn’t the race Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had in mind.But while disappointing for Sanders, the fact that former Vice President Joe Biden has moved into a dominant position isn’t all that shocking, given that he’s shoring up the support of most black voters. In Tuesday night’s Mississippi contest, its majority-black electorate handed the…
Predictably, this posturing has struck a sour note for many black Americans. That’s in no small part because rhetoric of this sort registers as condescending and does little to demonstrate interest in earning black support; in understanding why black voters overwhelmingly back Biden.
Suggesting that black voters are counterrevolutionary because they don’t embrace his revolution does him no favors. A winning path forward lies not in the dismissal of these voters but in better outreach and sharper messaging. (Which might entail criticizing specific parts of the establishment — such as the pharmaceutical industry — rather than the broader Democratic Party, which many black voters, especially older ones, revere for its role in protecting hard-won civil rights).
Still, the limitations of these efforts have been apparent.
“I don’t think that he has the relationships with our community that he should have,” Lawrence Moore, who was the South Carolina political director for Sanders’ 2016 campaign, recently told CNN. “My impression is that Sanders doesn’t address black issues from the perspective of black people but rather from the perspective of his need to have us on board.”
Perhaps the best tack for Sanders has already been articulated by one of his most celebrated surrogates: New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
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