Blackonomics: Hillary and Bernie discover and re-discover black people
James Clingman | 2/24/2016, 3 p.m.
One thing is for sure; Black folks are enjoying this latest political mating dance with Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Sanders is discovering Black people in South Carolina and Georgia, and Clinton has reopened the “leading Blacks” vault to rediscover their loyalty and willingness to present her to the Black electorate one mo’ time, y’all.
Sanders, after years without doing anything specific for the 1 percent Black population of his state, much less for Black people in general, has now discovered, and some would say rediscovered his love and concern for us. In the vast majority of cases it is really a case of Black people discovering Sanders, because most Blacks knew absolutely nothing about him prior to a few months ago, but for Ed Schultz and Black folks’ penchant for watching MSNBC. Sanders started out by traipsing up to Harlem, cameras in tow of course, to sip tea with Sharpton at a Black restaurant. I am sure that boosted his “street cred” bona fides with Black voters.
Uncle Bernie then goes to MLK’s alma mater, Morehouse, and tells thousands of Black folks how much he loves them now and how much he will do for them—now. It’s almost like he is waking up from his five-decade “I marched with MLK” respite and discovering that Black people exist and, yes, they are important to court because he cannot win without them. He is pulling out all the condescending platitudes to get the Black vote, and Black folks are lovin’ it.
Hillary, far more knowledgeable and adept at getting Black voters, reached into her bag of politricks and pulled out an old, tried-and-true, sleight of hand tactic. She met with the Great Triumvirate of Black “civil rights” leaders, folks who will hurt you if you get between them and a news camera, to subliminally suggest she is “down with the bruthas.” Sitting at a table with Morial, Sharpton, and a guy Black folks have yet to discover, Cornell Brooks, was her springboard to vie for the Black vote.
Mama Hillary called on old stand-by, John Lewis, to tell Black folks that Sanders has no street cred, because Lewis “never met him” back in the days of fire-hoses, dogs, and Billy clubs. (Maybe Lewis had a concussion back then and simply forgot.) Hillary then got members of the Black Caucus to endorse her, a monumental victory that will surely bring home the ultimate victory. After all, we cast from 93 percent – 95 percent of our precious votes for Barack in both elections, and he won; why not the same thing this year for Clinton?
Black folks are discovering and being discovered by Bernie; we are also being rediscovered by Hillary. And while we are making political campaign ads, going to rallies and cheering for the Democratic candidates, as Gil Scott-Heron said in reference to Richard Nixon and the Republicans, “All is calm and quiet along the white sands of San Clemente.” In today’s political world that simply points to the Republicans continued strategy of ignoring Black people by saying absolutely nothing on our behalf or in support of issues that specifically pertain to Black voters. But why should they? We are “all in” for the Dems.