Sanders Must Reach More Minority Voters Not ‘Feeling the Bern’
Millions of Americans support Bernie Sanders. But the majority of them are white — and that’s a problem for the Sanders campaign and his bid to win the Democratic nomination.
According to The New Republic, Sanders has failed to gain traction with black and Latino voters. His narrow demographic base is not representative of the multiracial Democratic Party, and the lack of diversity among his supporters makes beating Hillary Clinton difficult. Clinton so far has the support of the majority of blacks and Latinos, in addition to whites, as her Super Tuesday win showed.
One of the key divisions in American politics is that the Republicans are an overwhelmingly white party, while the Democrats are a multiracial one. In 2012, the Obama coalition consisted of 56 percent white, 24 percent black, 14 percent Latino, and 4 percent Asian. By contrast, Mitt Romney’s electorate was 89 percent white, 2 percent black, 6 percent Latino, and 2 percent Asian. Clinton’s coalition … looks like Obama’s; Sanders’s looks like Romney’s.
The 2016 electorate is the most diverse in U.S. history, reports Pew Research, with 27.4 million black eligible voters and 27.3 million Latino eligible voters. Half of the Latino eligible voters are millennials. While young Latino voters prefer Sanders, older voters favor the familiar Clinton.
“I don’t know who Bernie is,” Mara Vasquez told Fusion in Spanish on Super Tuesday in Texas, where Clinton won the Latino vote by more than 60 percent. “Hillary supports Latinos, she’s family-oriented, she’s experienced.”
“She’s a thinker, and she has a plan,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat from Texas, according to Think Progress. “Some call her a policy wonk, but I will tell you — she is a sister.”
That kind of support has carried Clinton to huge winning margins with black voters this primary season.
“The biggest issue I have with Hillary and her campaign is that, even though she’s very strong, I don’t know how true she is in her positions,” Ernest Holmes, an 18-year-old Morehouse College student, told the International Business Times. “I really feel like Bernie is for the people.”
That sentiment is why the Sanders camp remains hopeful.
“Bernie Sanders isn’t winning black millennials, but he is winning a significant portion of black millennials,” Leah Wright Rigueur, a professor at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, told the International Business Times. “Whatever percent, that’s still important because it suggests that Hillary Clinton doesn’t have a lock on black millennials. There’s a section of black millennials who are really disenchanted with traditional politics.”
Sanders fans insist the Vermont senator is more electable than Clinton. The thought is shared by media personality Tavis Smiley, who believes Clinton could lose the black vote to Donald Trump in the general election, and by black scholar Cornel West.
“Hillary doesn’t have enough gas in her tank,” said West on “Hannity” on Wednesday. “The only person who can beat Trump is Sanders.”
Sanders needs to figure out quickly how to win the hearts and minds of all generations of blacks and Latinos to win the Democratic nomination. Otherwise, his supporters may have to heed Ralph Nader’s words and start a New Progressive movement to supplant the Democratic Party.
—Posted by Eric OrtizWAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
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