Bill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOp-EdOpinion

Sanders Campaign Still Lagging in Black America

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist

 

The emergence of the presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has reached the scale of “phenomenal.” What many mainstream pundits originally believed to have been a marginal effort, exploded around the U.S. as enthusiastic crowds responded to Sanders’s challenges to contemporary capitalism.

Yet in Black America, the campaign has yet to ignite a mass spirit. Sanders certainly has support within Black America, but it largely pales in comparison to the sentiment in favor of Hillary Clinton. The former Secretary of State has been quite shrewd and timely in responding to issues that are of concern to Black America. Even when, as in the case of her meeting with several activists from the movement for Black Lives Matter, she has handled matters in a way that has brought forward criticism, she still seems to be given the benefit of the doubt.

The Sanders campaign, which still holds the potential to shake up U.S. politics in very fundamental ways, has only a limited amount of time to reposition itself if it wishes to win the support of Black America and, I would add, much of Latino America. This repositioning goes much farther than who is hired to work on the campaign, as important as that happens to be, and more than anything else revolves around the extent to which the campaign is understood to be embedded within our movements.

When John Edwards kicked off his ill-fated presidential campaign for the 2008 nomination, he did so in New Orleans. This was of tremendous significance. He aimed to talk about poverty and he did so by going to the city where race and class comingled in a demonstrable fashion in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Sanders, on the other hand, has done nothing similar. While he has spoken out on some matters of race, he needs to be discussing the massive financial crisis in Puerto Rico which, along the lines of what transpired in Greece, is destroying the island and driving thousands to migrate to mainland U.S.A.

Sanders needs to sit down with key African American leaders in the cities of Michigan that, in many cases, have been disempowered by a racist, Republican state legislature. Sanders needs to visit Native American reservations to discuss land and environmental issues, not to mention, matters of economic development that go beyond the construction of more gambling casinos. And Sanders needs to add surrogates to his campaign to advance his message and to show the scope and breath of the campaign.

For the Sanders campaign to realize its amazing potential, it must rethink its role in U.S. society. This will necessitate tapping the sentiment for change in communities of color – including but not limited to Black America – and listening carefully to the concerns and advice from the leaders of these communities. The campaign must guard against the tendency to become overwhelmed by enthusiastic crowds, for such crowds can also be a siren’s song that leads the campaign to crash into the rocks. Crowds are great but depth of support is definitive.

 

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.

###

Tags
Show More

Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact

Back to top button

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker