Bernie Sanders just spoke to a crowd of 7,000 in the conservative state of Alabama, and pledged to carry on Martin Luther King's legacy. Hillary Clinton has a Super Tuesday problem, and this problem starts before March 1, 2016. While Dr. Cornell West, Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, and rap artist Killer Mike discuss the similarities in political philosophy between Bernie Sanders and Dr. Martin Luther King (in this Legacy of MLK Roundtable), the Clinton campaign accepted money from prison lobbyists. The Huffington Post writes that "Lobbying firms that work for two major private prison giants, GEO Group and Corrections Corporation of America, gave $133,246 to the Ready for Hillary PAC, according to Vice."
While Clinton has invoked 9/11 and President Obama's acceptance of Wall Street money to defend her millions in Wall Street donations, she's yet to defend or accuse anyone else of accepting money from the prison lobby.
For those who'd rather cite Clinton's polling leads (dwindling faster in 2016 than in 2008), the following information will be of little interest. For everyone else, Clinton's Super Tuesday dilemma among minority voters is highlighted in an Intercept article titled Private Prison Lobbyists Are Raising Cash for Hillary Clinton:
As immigration and incarceration issues become central to the 2016 presidential campaign, lobbyists for two major prison companies are serving as top fundraisers for Hillary Clinton.
Corrections Corporation of America and the Geo Group could both see their fortunes turning if there are fewer people to lock up in the future.
...As first lady, she championed efforts to get tough on crime. "We need more police, we need more and tougher prison sentences for repeat offenders," Clinton said in 1994...
"We need more prisons to keep violent offenders for as long as it takes to keep them off the streets," she added.
...she recently signaled a willingness to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities," a move that could lead to more immigrant detentions.
Because of prison lobbyist contributions and conservative stances against illegal immigrants, The Huffington Post states that Cesar Vargas, co-founder of the advocacy group Dream Action Coalition, decided to support Bernie Sanders over Clinton.
In contrast to Clinton's acceptance of these donations, "Sanders recently introduced a bill to ban government contracts for private prisons, including immigrant detention centers."
Unlike Clinton, Bernie Sanders wants to end private prisons.
Expect Clinton's polling lead among African Americans and Latinos to dwindle when more media coverage is given to her prison lobbyist donations. Even the Clinton campaign's "Southern firewall" (created in September, after acknowledging Bernie Sanders would win both Iowa and New Hampshire) won't prevent non-white Democrats in the South and nationwide from learning about Clinton's ties to the prison lobby.
As for Clinton's racial justice record, Boston's Black Lives Matter president Daunasia Yancey summarizes her meeting with Hillary Clinton during an NPR interview:
What we heard was clearly a policy-based response and, actually, an admonishment of the movement, which wasn't what we were looking for...
I think that her record is abysmal (laughter). I think that her support of policies that have decimated black community - she talked a lot about her advocacy for children, for black children, for Latino children while simultaneously sending those children's parents to jail and, if we talk about the Juvenile Justice System, sending those children themselves to jail.
Poll numbers indicating a lead among minority voters don't illustrate Daunasia Yancey's assessment that Clinton's racial justice record is "abysmal."
This "abysmal" record on racial justice will affect the votes of African Americans and Latinos throughout the South and the country. According to the U.S. Census, "In comparison to the election of 2008, about 1.7 million additional Black voters reported going to the polls in 2012, as did about 1.4 million additional Hispanics and about 550,000 additional Asians." When Clinton's aura of inevitability is shattered by Bernie Sanders winning Iowa and New Hampshire, Clinton's history on a number of topics will be evaluated from a more critical vantage point.
Suddenly, millions of Democrats will ask, "Why is Clinton better for African Americans and Latinos, when she takes money from special interests that hurt these communities?"
Furthermore, what happens when Democratic voters of all backgrounds ask, "If Bernie Sanders is better for my interests, and destroys Trump in a general election, then why would I vote for Clinton?"
Even before Super Tuesday when states like Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado vote, history will repeat itself in South Carolina. The Wall Street Journal writes "In the 2008 primary, black voters lined up behind Mr. Obama, who easily defeated Mrs. Clinton in South Carolina, 55% to 27%."
Clinton's experience, and substantial ties to African Americans in Congress didn't overshadow her inability to connect with a core constituency. The Wall Street Journal, in the same article, explains that "Some say, though, that she will need to overcome residual anger over Bill Clinton's comments in 2008 suggesting that Mr. Obama's win in South Carolina was as inconsequential as Jesse Jackson's victory in the 1984 primary."
Wait a second, "residual anger?" The poll indicating Clinton's current lead among African American and Latino voters doesn't mention "residual anger," does it?
This "residual anger" in South Carolina is highlighted in a POLITIO piece titled Hillary Clinton struggles to escape South Carolina scars:
Clinton -- defeated by Obama and hobbled politically by her husband's red-faced defense of his family's civil rights legacy here seven years ago -- returned to the site of her most scarring defeat to embrace her core message of women's equality and to triangulate between two titans who decided her fate in 2008...
In 2008, black voters -- who make up about half of the Democratic primary electorate and a quarter of general-election voters -- defected en masse to Obama, propelling him to a 55 percent-27 percent victory over Hillary Clinton...
The most damaging of Clinton's comments: His claim that Obama's win here was a "myth" and "mugging" -- and his claim that the victory would be regarded as insignificant as Jesse Jackson's victory here in the 1984 primary.
If you don't know the history of Clinton's 2008 debacle in South Carolina, Congressman James Clyburn's quote in The New York Times speaks volumes. In 2008, Congressman Clyburn stated that pertaining to the manner both Clintons treated Barrack Obama, "black people are incensed over all of this."
During my appearance on The Benjamin Dixon Show, I explain that Bernie Sanders will defeat Clinton in a landslide, primarily because non-white Democrats will eventually side with Bernie Sanders, not his challenger. From Clinton's 3 a.m. ad against Obama (that Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson stated contained a "racist sub-message"), to Clinton's "dirty tricks" against Obama's campaign, and the Clintons treatment of South Carolina's James Clyburn, Hillary Clinton utilized race in order to attain political power.
In 2014, I had the great pleasure of being on HuffPost Live with Marc Lamont Hill, to discuss my article titled Ferguson and Race From White America's Perspective, If It Switched Places With Black America. In reality, it's not just Republicans that have divided this country along racial fault lines, but also certain establishment Democrats. This fact is illustrated in a Salon piece titled Bill Clinton's gutsy apologies: Now he owes one to Ricky Ray Rector:
To look tough on crime, Clinton oversaw execution of a man so mentally ill he asked to save his last meal for later...
How did candidate Clinton choose to show he was "tough on crime?" By flying down to Arkansas, mid-campaign, to personally preside over the execution of Ricky Ray Rector, a mentally retarded African-American man.
...Clinton made a point of being on hand for the TV crews when Rector was killed by lethal injection on January 24, 1992.
The issue of the death penalty, and whether Rector deserved to die for the two people he killed, aren't the only elements of this story.
The issue here is how Bill Clinton benefited politically from the execution of a black man, at a time when he wasn't viewed as tough on crime as his GOP counterparts.
I explain in three minutes on The Benjamin Dixon Show why Clinton's record on race is more Republican, than Democrat. I'm only voting for Bernie Sanders, not Trump or Clinton, and I state why in this YouTube segment. In December, I stated the reasons Bernie Sanders will become president on The Thom Hartmann Program.