I don’t hide the fact I support Bernie Sanders. I do so for many reasons, not the least of which are I find him to be sincere, serious, and able to work well with the opposition. Over and over again in the Senate he has shown that while he pushes the issues he cares about forward he’s willing to compromise, to take small steps in the right direction rather than remain stuck going nowhere. I also respect Bernie Sanders because, for the most part, he plays nice. He is not afraid to criticize someone’s idea but name calling and belittling aren’t part of his repertoire. So, when others intentionally misrepresent him I begin to feel a little cranky.
Overall, Sunday (3/6) night was a good night for Mr. Sanders. He received news that his campaign reached 5 million donors. Also announced was his win in the Maine caucus which brought him a weekend total of three wins–Maine, Kansas, and Nebraska–to Clinton’s one, Louisiana. His opening remarks during the debate were well received by the heavily Black audience, suggesting the name recognition argument, as an explanation for the polling differences between Clinton and Sanders, may be on to something. Still, one other factor should be considered–the media slant.
The ground Senator Sanders gained from his announcement in April of 2015 to today is absolutely phenomenal. Yet, nay-sayers still seem to get more press. Repeatedly we are told Clinton’s delegate count is double, almost triple that of Sanders. However, even that prognosticating is skewed. Democrats have what is known as superdelegates. These are delegates that are pledged ahead of time but not necessarily guaranteed and have nothing to do with the popular vote. The true delegate count has Hillary Clinton at 663 and Bernie Sanders at 457. In 2008, Clinton had a similar lead over candidate Barack Obama. Because of her superdelegate pledge then, just like now, it appeared she was unstoppable. But, a funny thing happened on the way to the convention, Obama began winning the popular vote. When the two got to the convention, Clinton’s superdelegates jumped ship. The truth is today both Clinton and Sanders are a long way away from the 2,383 delegates they need to win the nomination. And, regardless of how the media choses to spin the results, the voters have not abducted their voice.
Having said that, I have one more point to make. In every article I read about delegate counts, information about the superdelgates is included, even if the writers still conclude Secretary of State Clinton is the probable nominee. Though tilted, these reports are not intended to outright deceive. The same cannot be said, however, for others.
FOX News notoriously gets the facts wrong causing one poll to conclude people were more likely to have correct information if their sole news source was late night television rather than FOX. So, if a source intentionally edits a quote in order to make it seem to say something the speaker did not intend that source crosses a line and no longer deserves to be seen as a legitimate source, which is exactly the case when FOX “News” reduced this quote:
I was with young people in the Black Lives Matter movement. A young lady comes up to me and she says to me, “you don’t understand what police do in certain black communities. You don’t understand the degree to which we are terrorized.” I’m not just talking about the horrible shootings we have seen which have got to end. We have got to hold police officers accountable. I’m talking about everyday activities where police officers are bullying people. To answer your question, I think it’s similar to what the Secretary said. When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor. You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street or get dragged out of a car. I believe as a nation in the year 2016, we must be firm in making it clear: We will end institutional racism and reform a broken criminal justice system.
to this: “When you’re white you don’t now what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.” Of course, they were not alone in trying to manipulate what Senator Sanders said. They were simply the most egregious. Even the VOX analysis, which ultimately gave Sanders good marks, suggested Sanders made a “medium size misstep” by implying that only Blacks live in ghettos. Personally, I think Sanders intended no such message. But, I am white, so I am predisposed toward giving Sanders the benefit of the doubt.
Now, we could get bogged down at this point in a discussion as to whether or not a white candidate can possibly understand the complexity of issues facing Black America, or any other ethnic group for that matter. But, the fruit of such a debate would be miniscule and distracts us from the situation at hand. Understanding racial divides is paramount to solving the problems which plague race relations in America. Still, race alone cannot be the deciding factor as to whether or not a person votes. People of color must vote in the coming election. The situation is not that Republicans can’t address the corrupt judicial system, broken school system, or growing economic divide. They simply prefer to use America’s brokenness to stir up fear by pointing fingers and building an atmosphere of distrust. Their divide and concur tactics only work when we buy into their fear.
That said, Bernie Sanders more than any other candidate is focused on the American people. His life’s work and his pledge as president is to focus on issues that strengthen the middle class– like making the minimum wage a living wage, developing a single payer healthcare plan, getting big money out of politics, holding Wall Street accountable for its behavior, making education affordable, and fixing the broken justice system. That is why Sanders gets my vote.