A new cottage industry has developed in the politics of America. "Experts" and
"Spin Doctors" ply their skills to interpret what are otherwise empirical facts into "facts" in an alternative or parallel universe.
Presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has based his candidacy on describing and asking questions about some "inconvenient truths" in our country today:
Why in the richest country in the world is it "too expensive" to consider a Single Payer Universal Healthcare Plan for all in America? Why it's not "too expensive" to continue a tax system that minimizes taxes on unprecedented private wealth but it is "too expensive" to consider providing tuition free college education for every High School graduate who wants to attend college?
The National Democratic and Republican parties are bedeviled by our country's "broken" immigration system. Some Democrats want to minimize the importance of resolving the impact of THIS issue among a substantial segment of our electorate. Republican presidential candidates want to make the immigration issue THE number one issue of their campaign.
Not only national polls but potential voter response and concern about this issue indicate that illegal immigration and its potential impact on domestic job opportunities remain a very important issue to many unemployed or downsized employed Americans.
The most poignant part of the Democratic Primary contests is the presidential candidacy of former Secretary of State and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has positioned her candidacy as being about HER and her experience, and about being a woman who should NOW be elected President.
Senator Sanders has presented his candidacy as being about WE. He says "WE" have got to change the politics and elections in our country so that the election process is "not rigged" in favor of the rich and powerful from Wall Street and corporate America, who can direct enormous sums of money "to buy" or materially influence the outcome of our State, Congressional and Presidential elections.
The Clinton campaign says that Sanders is talking about great big ideas and theories that can never to be enacted in the real political world of a US president. Really?
This may be part of the problem of HR Clinton's diminished appeal to potential primary votes, 18-34, male and female, white and non-white. The poignancy I mentioned above is it appears that in many ways, the way Clinton and her campaign managers are conducting her quest for the Presidency seems to be more and more generationally irrelevant to a substantial part of this new 21st Century 2016 voting population.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Clinton-style of campaigning in the Black community.
They speak, write and promote ads whose not-so-subtle underlying assumption is that "You know me, us (including husband Bill). We have been on the front lines of your struggles for Civil Rights." Not explicitly said, but "YOU owe us. Sanders from an overwhelming white state of Vermont, has not done what WE have done FOR YOU!"
They fail to mention the Omnibus Crime Bill that President Bill Clinton signed that resulted in a dramatic spike of arrests and massive prison incarceration of African-American non-violent drug offenders. To refresh the recollection of readers of this blog:
"The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill) cost $30 billion dollars and helped to accelerate the growth of the prison industrial complex in ways that we are only just beginning to understand. The bill's provisions included:
1. $10.8 billion in federal matching funds to local governments to hire 100,000 new police officers over 5 years.
2. $10 billion for the construction of new federal prisons.
3. An expansion of the number of federal crimes to which the death penalty applied from two to fifty-eight (the bill also eliminated an existing statute that prohibited the execution of mentally incapacitated defendants).
4. A three strikes proposal that mandated life sentences for anyone convicted of three "violent" felonies.
5. A section that allowed children as young as thirteen to be tried as adults.
6. The creation of special courts able to deport noncitizens alleged to be "engaged in terrorist activity" on the basis of secret evidence.
7. Established guidelines for states to track sex offenders. Required states to track sex offenders by confirming their place of residence annually for ten years after their release into the community or quarterly for the rest of their lives if the sex offender was convicted of a violent sex crime.
After leaving the Presidency, Bill Clinton, undoubtedly anticipating his wife planned run for president acknowledged that the enactment of this legislation under his presidency was a mistake. But, it has not been repealed.
The not so subtle underlying assumption of the Clinton's approach to the African-American community, especially in South Carolina where blacks make up 60% of the eligible Democratic Primary voters, can best be characterized as one of "arrogant entitlement".
Years ago, in Harlem, New York, a group of African-American community activists came to the legendary African-American labor and civil rights leaders, A. Phillip Randolph to complain about members of the Harlem community were were active in the NYC Republican Party. They wanted Mr. Randolph to publicly criticize them.
In response, he reminded them that "We Negroes have no permanent friends or permanent enemies. We have only permanent interests. Our 'friends' today, could be our political "enemies" tomorrow. Our "enemies" could become our friends."
In South Carolina and other primary States with a substantial number of potential black voters, this should be remembered by both the Sanders and the Clinton Presidential campaigns.
It should be axiomatic: Potential African-American voters are not indebted to either Senator Sanders or Candidate Clinton. In this 21st Century of 2016, their trust and votes must be earned on the basis or merit TODAY, not just yesterday.
If not now, when?
If not us, who?
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place