I’m an unrepentant lifelong Democrat and I know what the breakdown of the Democratic party is, especially in the South. And this is the first time I have ever seen a Democratic candidate with a following that looks like a cross between the Republican convention, a Kenny G concert and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In a nation approaching 50% people of color, Bernie Sander’s supporters are the whitest bunch I have ever seen outside the Republican Party, AND THAT IS A MAJOR PROBLEM.
The Bernie Sanders movement needs to dump this white only crap and reach out, and this corny half Beatlemania/half messianic thing is not cutting it. If you want to win the nomination and the election, get real. Just as Democrats are praying for Trump to be the Republican nominee, the Republicans are praying for Bernie, and for the same reason. Both candidacies are quite delusional about their supposed mandates. Both, incidentally draw the same percentage of support from their respective parties. And neither base seems especially good at math.
The photo below is of the crowd at the Bernie Sanders rally in Charleston, South Carolina. (That SC means South Carolina, not USC, though you could be forgiven the confusion.) Dr. Cornel West, regarded by African-Americans as an outspoken Obama hater, was the keynote speaker in order to draw a large black audience. He didn’t. Still, the Bernie campaign said that the crowds in South Carolina were 50% black. Maybe they were all sitting in the back of the auditorium….
There are numerous other photos from this and other of his rallies in the Carolinas showing the same thing–lots and lots of white people and little else. If these were an attempt to reach beyond his base, like the campaign said they were, they were disastrous failures. I don’t know who, if anyone, was doing his advance work in the Carolinas but they let Bernie down. Attendance was off as much as 90% from his west coast and upper midwest rallies (averaging around 3K to 5K and one at 9k throughout his Carolina swing) and attendees overwhelmingly young, white progressives, that is, the people who would be voting for him already. You don’t need to have rallies for people who are voting for you already. That is a waste of effort and money and press coverage. You need to draw people who were planning on voting for Hillary. As it is, hiring Dr. Cornel West probably created more Hillary supporters than there were before. Bernie is lucky there wasn’t more press coverage. As it was only a few reporters noticed what a disaster this black outreach was, and his people could tell reporters calling in from New York and Washington that 50% of that all white crowd were black. Since Bernie never lies, they just assumed it was the truth….
I like Bernie a lot. I have been a fan of Bernie for decades, since he was the lone socialist in the House of Representatives. He has usually (but not always) been on the right side of issues I cared about (he’s been weak on gun control, Vermont being a state full of hunters.) But I’m not much impressed by the alacrity of his supporters in general, though. If they could only tell me in real numbers how Bernie will get the number of delegates he needs to win the Democratic nomination with nothing but white people. Because that is virtually all he has.
Sanders supporters need to snap out of their spell and get real about the coalitions that Democrats need to win both the nomination and election. Because so far, this is the whitest Democratic campaign seen in the south since Jim Crow.