I am an unabashed supporter of Bernie Sanders. This is not something I hide.
That being said, the issue facing the Democrats that will be an even larger issue in November is low voter turn out. After the primary in Ohio, the race shows a glaring issue facing the Democrats: Donald Trump turned out more voters than Hillary Clinton. In South Carolina, extremely low voter turnout hovering around 13% gave Clinton the primary win in that state. This should be extremely alarming to the Democratic Party, that admittedly is broke at a time when: 1. Their coronated frontrunner is desperately tapping out her donors and, 2. the most financially supportive base of the party, (the progressives) has thrown its financial support behind Senator Sanders and have consistently outperformed the establishment and their big money donors.
Given the media's now ever constant drumbeat that it self diagnoses as "media malpractice" in extending coverage to Trump's maniacal campaign that should have self destructed months ago, instead wall-to-wall media coverage enabled him to morph into an indestructible Frankencandidate. The Democratic establishment is not prepared or equipped to deal with this monster, and it has alienated its most active bases; among those, the millenials and progressives.
I point the finger squarely at establishment Democrats. This scenario has been years in the making. The point being made here is the vanquishment of the grassroots, as I have said so many times before, from the Obama years inclusivity, to the outer reaches of party inclusion and participation, has created its own kind of voter suppression. The establishment has engaged a circle-the-wagons mentality that took root in the Clinton years. The party cynically moved right of center in its dealings with big money and helped open the floodgates that allowed both parties unlimited ability to engage in cronyism, and the building of a capitalist facist state, and oligarchy.
Beginning in 2010, after Obama crafted the ARRA which blighted minority communities pleaded for but did not receive direct engagement or support from Obama's administration toward their own problem solving, the grassroots had already begun to turn off and tune out. The level of disengagement of minorities in particular, has been profound given the history making Obama presidency. The party has not recovered. The kind of stimulus economically depressed communities of color appealed to Obama and Congress to no avail. This is what Jesse Jackson said in 2009 in an NPR interview:
What matters is, I submit to you, 49 million Americans, food insecure, lending to small businesses is a good thing, but you will not address the 49 million food insecure with small business loans. That requires government intervention. The government intervened to bail out Wall Street. It must intervene to bail out the poor. It must intervene to break up patterns of race and gender discrimination.
That was a war on poverty. One need not make the issue of overcoming poverty race specific. Most poor people are not black. They're white, they're female, they're young. Whether white, black or brown, hunger hurts. But even with that, the patterns of discrimination based on race or gender simply requires vigorous enforcement of the law. That means that when those banks get stimulus moneys, they must, in fact, lend in some fair and equitable way. If the big automotive companies got bailed out, and they're now basically government-owned, that means that in their employment, they must reflect the America that invested in them.
THE PARTY PIPELINE STILL FUELS A LACK OF DIVERSITY
The party has fueled racial selection within its established heirarchy of power and lacks a diversity of leadership, and has practiced a long held policy of tokenism. In 1963 Malcolm X asked "What gains? All you have gotten is tokenism -- one or two Negroes in a job, or at a lunch counter, so the rest of you will be quiet." This observation is not far off in terms of the racial engineering that has gone on in the Democratic Party today, they seek the token minority that will affirm their view, not have their own view. The Democratic party is just as guilty of the political neutralizing of Obama as the Republicans are.
Those minorities who are "good, educated, well speaking, proper mannered" win acceptance, in other words, those that white people perceive that they can control. Look at the threats made to Nina Turner, a pivotal supporter to Senator Sanders, and Tulsi Gabbard. Their loyalty to the idea of democracy, that there should be a contested primary, was met with threats and coercion by party elites.
Obama himself is a victim of political tokenism, there are not enough minorities in the halls of power in DC for him to have been effective. This is the operation of tokenism. When the party that coerces our vote is the very practitioner of selective racial political engineering, how is social progress to be made? This is not some accidental, random outcome. This is social and political engineering to achieve a specific outsome and in this case, a status quo.
The Democratic party may not desire a high voter turn out just yet, they have certainly worked to support Hillary Clinton in her sometimes tenuous effort to maintain frontrunner status. They know a low voter turn out helps her tremendously in the primary. They are slacking on efforts, it seems to be a graveyard where the party normally works non-stop to get out the vote. This was not the case in 2008, when the party was everywhere. Minorities did turn out, handing the party a congressional super majority, a rarity. What did the establishment Democrats do with this super-majority?
Squandered may be a fitting description. The party choose a disastrous multi-year battle for a contentious health care law that even today, fuels the right's now impressive voter mobilization. When leaders like Jackson were pleading for those economic dollars to address the depression communities of color dealt with, perhaps they should have listened.
Is it any surprise the dark horse candidate Sanders has made income inequality a top campaign issue, an issue he proudly proclaims: saving the middle class is his single issue? This in response to Clinton chiding him as a single issue candidate. Did Clinton mean to overlook the economic depression conditions most of the voting communities she claims to care about, and marginalize our economic distress? In the mean time, the Democrats have engaged in massive media fraud and malpractice to prop up a failing candidate, one whom voters overwhelmingly distrust. There has been an ever present media blackout of Sanders in this contested primary.
VISIBLE TOKENISM PRODUCES VOTER DISENGAGEMENT
It is on Sanders, to continue to mobilize the millenial voters, and Latinos. It is my sincere hope the African American vote, will awaken in support of his endeavors. He is not responsible for the past betrayals of people of color, it is the party establishment. In fact, it is Sanders who has fought the tough legislative battles that have often benefited people of color. He is known as the amendment king.
The Democratic party establishment is so predictable. President Obama has no interest in helping with a high voter turn out in the primary, as this does not benefit Clinton. He (and Biden) did endorse her proxy in the Florida contest, he lost to Rep. Alan Grayson. It would be bad form to speak in praise of Clinton, since she is under investigation by several federal agencies, and her former IT specialist has been granted immunity by the FBI in her email scandal. It is very likely party strategy to attempt to engage the African American vote post primary, some 30 million strong, and will look to a lame duck, token President to shore up their needs as they look to the general, I am assuming, after Sanders has been defeated. I am guessing but this is likely spot on, I know how the elites think. They are purely and cynically utilitarian when it comes to the votes of people of color.
I hope this does not happen and Sanders supporters are holding on until June. Over half of the delegates remain, and Primary 1.0, as it was described by Florida Rep. Grayson, is over. Now the real fight begins. It is not too late for the African American voters to engage where their support is needed. I acknowledge are not a monolithic block. I ask them to acknowledge the wisdom of the youth, and follow their millenials who overwhelmingly support Senator Sanders.
I really do not believe the Democratic establishment has the interests of communities of color in this election cycle. The depth the party establishment is beholden to the 1% is stunning in its callous cynicism and disregard for their historic and loyal constituencies. If our millenials lose the future, it is a sad win, indeed, for the establishment and the 1%.
If this scenario plays out, as it is a cynical reality the party elites have allowed to play out so far: they must have one hell of a Plan B to defeat Frankencandidate Trump that does not rely on millenials, progressives, Latinos, independents, a growing number of African Americans who are feeling the bern, and the disengaged that the party has yet to win back. These groups have demonstrated a vehement disdain for the candidate of the elites, former Sec. Clinton.