Or something. Actually, I think Bubba and Hilly have probably been doing it all along, but this one is pretty clever.
It’s seemed funny to me that we keep hearing (from mainstream white media, natch) about how Bernie’s support is only “white progressives.” This is backed up by claims that Hillary is beloved by blacks—again, white media making these claims—as if she just is, & we don’t need to explain it. But why? Why would Hillary Clinton be heavily favored by American blacks?
Marian Wright Edelman called the Clintons out back in the 1990’s for the welfare reform bill. Michelle Alexander lays a share of the blame for the “school-to-prison pipeline” on policies that date to the Clinton era. DLC-style white Democrats like Missouri’s Jay Nixon are now seeing the wrath of black voters. Certainly Hillary lost black voters in 2008 for obvious reasons.
When black people talk about politics today, are they even talking about the Presidential election? Um. Probably, somewhere. But it seems like to many blacks in America, that’s a bunch of white folk, and who cares, did you hear about the latest three brothers and sisters killed by police?
Now Sanders does have a different position with black Democrats than with white ones. He’s a candidate from a white rural state whose appeal is egalitarian, in favor of quality of life issues & the welfare state, and effectively both reform and a little populist. White leftists today probably are animated by economic concerns. Black Democrats, though? Right now, they’re preoccupied by structural racism. And they don’t have to be poor to be Democrats. Even though American blacks are poorer on average than American whites; black Democratic primary voters may average a little more upscale than white Democratic primary voters, and bourgeois blacks may be in the party for very different reasons than Bernie’s young progressives. So the difference is real.
But why has Bernie gained ground so rapidly among whites, and not among blacks? Well, some of it is his fault, probably. He’s working on it. Some of it is that blacks really are much more preoccupied by city governments and police killing people than by the Presidential primaries, and not paying that much attention.
Here’s the whistle though: It’ll usually be stated as, “Sanders needs to broaden his appeal beyond white progressives.”
What’s objectionable about that?! It’s technically true! Except that it’s injecting a racial element into the narrative; a narrative shaped by (white) media that are blatantly upscale, elite, and in the tank for HRC. Bernie didn’t counter it quickly to take control, because his own narrative didn’t mention all that identitarian stuff.
“Only white progressives.” Got it?
The “only” is usually only implied. But Sanders is framed as only having appeal to white people. This is stated in reporting, and it is technically true. At the time. But the real divider in rates of support for Sanders is…familiarity. He’s gained ground as people have learned about him.
Is there something about Sanders that doesn’t connect with black people? Well, maybe. I’ve been wondering about this. I mean, he did leave Brooklyn for Vermont, that sounds a little like “White Flight.” He is well-liked by rural white folks.
Does Clinton have this something? Um. Well. No? She’s a rich white lady, who acts like a rich white lady.
Blacks in America know that* all* white people are to be assumed to be against them until proven otherwise. Democrat, Republican, rich, poor, Christian, Jew, it doesn’t matter. A giant sea of white hostility. Bernie hasn’t won their trust. If they hear that only white people like him, well, he* must *be a racist, aren’t they all?
If he only appeals to whites, it’s an easy slide to “Whites only.” “White progressives,” “White people,” “White power.”
You’ll say I’m being crazy to call this a dog whistle. Well, maybe you don’t hear it. But the likes of ABC News have been blatantly in the tank for Hillary to an awesome degree. I think they’ve been playing us a little bit.