Do “black lives matter” to Bernie Sanders?

In light of Sanders’ insulting performance before Netroots Nation this weekend, it’s hard not to conclude that black lives don’t matter — at least not to Sanders. As a representative and senator from Vermont, one of the “whitest” states in the U.S., Sanders has no real experience working with or working for African Americans. They are as foreign to him as Mexican aliens are to Donald Trump.

At the Netroots gathering in Phoenix, even the pro-Sanders reporter for Time magazine, Sam Frizell, had to admit that that Sanders “flubbed” his moment before this black, activist audience. The Democratic candidate was practically booed off the stage:

The kerfuffle at Netroots for Sanders was especially pointed. As a student at the University of Chicago in the early 1960s, Sanders participated in one of the first sit-ins in the North protesting racial segregation, and was active in pushing to desegregate Chicago public schools. But Sanders tends to view racial injustice through an economic lens, putting forth jobs platforms intended to help the poor. When he was able to put in a word on stage, Sanders said the U.S. needs to create “an economy where people have good jobs and good wages”—a sentiment that did not satisfy the (sic) protestors.

With the group continuing to chant toward the stage, Vargas said it was time to wrap up. “Okay, good,” Sanders said.

If this is supposed to be a candidate who brings together a racially divided country, Sanders was worse than tone-deaf — he basically proved to protestors that white politicians will deliver more of the same generic solutions black Americans no longer want to hear.

The one candidate who still has some credibility with African Americans is Hillary Clinton. Although the level of enthusiasm for her is still low key, in time protesters will accept her as the only candidate who has an active, positive track-record when it comes to the issues black America cares about.

In Hillary’s world, black lives do matter: they always have.

 

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