Sanders’ Comments on Slavery Will Likely Lead to Trouble with Black Voters
Vermont senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders has done undoubtedly well in his campaign efforts thus far and is even thought to have the current lead over frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden. However, there is one demographic that Bernie has always struggled to connect with and one that is crucial for a win in November: the black community. And if past comments like these keep resurfacing, it’s unlikely that he will ever gain ground with them.
In the past few months, Bernie Sanders has gone from nearly being in the last place in the top tier, to almost being first, steadily surpassing his opponents one by one.
In December, he was about 15 or so points behind Biden. In January, that deficit decreased to only 10. And now, in early February, RealClearPolitics latest polls show Sanders averaging less than four points behind the former VP.
With his growth in the polls, has come a mounting concern by the moderate left that Sanders will actually win the nomination. And while that might sound like good news, they fear it will spell disaster for the party in the general election.
It is the opinion of many that America will not receive Bernie’s openly socialistic views well, that they are simply too progressive for this date and time. And as a result, President Trump’s far-reaching ideas on capitalism will be the favorite by far.
Naturally, when Democrats see what appears to be an impending failure, they take part in the cancel culture they have worked so hard to produce, attacking even their own for the sake of not losing power. And so the democratic establishment and his opponents have begun attacking his character in the hopes to draw voters away from him and to others who they believe might actually have a shot against Trump.
Through liberal based media outlets, videos and documents have been released that prove the socialist senator has said some not so sensitive things about slavery and the black community. Now, most of these were said by him some 30-40 years ago. But he did say them nonetheless.
The first attack on Sanders came from The Daily Beast, which reported in January that Sanders had compared the sale of a Vermont mining company to “the days of slavery when black people were sold to different owners without their consent.” He said this in 1976 during an interview with a local newspaper.
A year later, in 1977, Sanders made similar comments comparing slavery to the working class in Vermont.
Politico noted that another year later, in 1978, Bernie compares slavery to capitalism, saying, “I believe that the vast majority of the people in the world and of this country are living in a slave-like condition not terribly different from what existed in this country before the Civil War.”
The outlet also remarked on Sanders’ comparison of poor white people to black people during the apartheid in South Africa. He said in a 1986 public forum that underprivileged Vermonters were “the equivalent of blacks in South Africa. They don’t vote, they aren’t involved, they don’t care about the issues.”
When he was confronted by a fellow forum member about these comments, he insisted upon them even more, insinuating that those in Vermont were even worse off than blacks in South Africa. He responded by saying, “Obviously, the analogy is not true…because in South Africa the blacks are not invisible – they are beginning to stand up.”
Now, while these past statements are not particularly hateful, they are incredibly insensitive and could prove problematic for the socialist candidate. Sanders already has issues gaining ground in the black communities of America, and comments like these will not help his situation any. As Politico says, they “raise legitimate questions about how he approaches race.” Also, it points to a tendency of diminishing slavery while lifting up class issues, giving a “false equivalency.”
His campaign, since they are not able to deny these comments, has made a point of calling these attacks, just that. Sanders’ national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray remarked, “We expect to see these desperate last-minute attacks continue as long as this movement thrives, but Americans trust Bernie Sanders, and they can identify a cynical, politically motivated ploy when they see one.”
And while we most certainly can, his comments past or present aren’t precisely what we are looking for in a president.