As PJ Media’s Washington Editor Bridget Johnson reported earlier, Bernie Sanders sat down to dine with Al Sharpton in the Bronx this afternoon. The effort by Sanders to court black voters is absolutely imperative if he is to win the nomination.
The primary circus is heading south for the next month with contests in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Virginia. The delegate-rich haul available to the self-proclaimed socialist can’t be had without improving his numbers with blacks. Currently, Clinton holds a 74-17 lead over Sanders among blacks in South Carolina — a gap he must narrow if he is to be competitive.
Hillary Clinton is well aware of her advantages and if she can press them among minority voters, she has a good shot of sweeping most if not all southern primaries.
What else can she do? She tried to play the gender card and that failed as younger women flocked to Sanders. But playing the race card has the potential to help turn around her campaign and re-establish her frontrunner status.
David French points out that despite numerous perception problems and scandals, Hillary still has one more arrow in her quiver:
And yet she is still the odds-on favorite for the Democratic nomination — because of race. So far, black and Latino voters aren’t feeling the Bern, and with the campaign heading south, that could cripple his effort. The short version of the black and Latino case against Bernie is simple — his class-based rhetoric indicates that he just doesn’t get it. The true divide in America isn’t class but race, and the true enemy of progress isn’t Wall Street but white supremacy.
For Hillary to win, she’s going to have to relentlessly feed that narrative. Sanders is out of touch. Sanders doesn’t truly understand your struggle. She’ll hype any real or imagined racial slights, embrace Black Lives Matter, and waffle just enough on reparations to maintain the fiction that only Sanders has clearly rejected compensating the descendants of slaves and victims of Jim Crow. She’ll argue that Sanders is new to the fight and can’t be trusted. She’ll stoke the fires of racial grievance as fast and hot as she can to win, and she’ll do it without a second thought.
And the entire time she’s stoking those divisions, she’ll be attempting to conceal and cover up two huge vulnerabilities. The first is the blaring message today in The Nation — that Clinton-era crime bills and welfare reform “decimated black America.” Michelle Alexander makes the progressive case:
On the campaign trail, Bill Clinton made the economy his top priority and argued persuasively that conservatives were using race to divide the nation and divert attention from the failed economy. In practice, however, he capitulated entirely to the right-wing backlash against the civil-rights movement and embraced former president Ronald Reagan’s agenda on race, crime, welfare, and taxes — ultimately doing more harm to black communities than Reagan ever did.
And who stood by his side the entire time — part of the “two-for-one” presidency? Hillary Clinton. The Democratic party has moved so far left on crime and punishment that Bill Clinton recently disavowed his signature crime bill, admitting that he made the problem of mass incarceration worse. Hillary will talk the talk of racial justice, but will Black Lives Matter believe that she’s walked the walk?
BLM isn’t interested in electoral politics and couldn’t care less about where the candidates stand on criminal justice reform, or even reparations for slavery. All they’re about is rage and hate.
But Clinton is trapped by Democratic identity politics. She couldn’t break free and survive for very long. Hence, she’ll take the high road, talking up reforming the criminal justice system, and getting the Justice Department more involved in police shootings of unarmed blacks while her surrogates do the dirty work of whispering about Bernie-come-lately to the social justice circus, or Bernie doesn’t get it, or perhaps they hit even lower and mention the fact that he’s a Jew.
A new level of Clintonian dirty-attack politics may be opening in South Carolina and the wife of America’s “First Black President” is going to pull out all the stops and do anything and say anything to win.