Full disclosure: I intend to vote for Bernie Sanders in the California Democratic primary, although it’s likely the nomination will be locked down by then and it won’t really matter.
But it’s been clear right from the start that the Sanders campaign has had extreme difficulty convincing people of color to vote for Sanders.
I think part of the reason is the hyperfocus on economic inequality being the cause of all of our woes.
In this era where people of color are being wantonly killed by law enforcement and the Obama’s adminstration has ramped up deportations, all the while Donald Trump is running a very popular campaign based on anti-immigrant sentiment and white supremacist sympathy, the idea that “racism isn’t the real problem, economic inequality is the root cause.” is probably not going to weaken Clinton’s firewall.
Sanders supporters are bewildered about this considering that former president Bill Clinton’s administration did wreak significant havoc on communities of color, but the fact is that a lot of people of color feel like the Democratic Party is the only possible safe harbor, and there’s no advantage in backing a more radical economic agenda that completely ignores the problem of race.
Add to it the toxic, paranoid backlash by Sanders supporters against prominent Civil Rights activists who support Clinton like Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) and Dolores Huerta, and Sanders has an uphill battle ahead.
Bernie Sanders and the Depressing Reality of Populism • 2016 Feb 22 • Charles P. Pierce • Esquire
Asian-American Organizers Say Their Votes Helped Clinton Secure Nevada Win • 2016 Feb 21 • Emil Guillermo • NBC News