How does Bernie Sanders engage with the black vote?
Goldie Taylor writes for the Daily Beast:
The problem for Sanders is that he has nowhere to grow. Black voters, who will dominate many of the coming primaries, have not responded to his message. Even black millennials, thought to be good prospects, are breaking in favor of Clinton.
This is a fair point.
Bernie’s progress so, far ensuring Hillary is not a shoe-in, only counts for so much if he continues to challenge her vote.
So what must he now do to engage with black voters:
Don’t assume black voters buy left wing messaging
As Syreeta McFadden recently wrote for the Guardian:
Bernie Sanders’ campaign, in some ways, taps into the desire for an alternative to Clinton that voters sought in 2008. And yet African Americans, the strongest, most consistent voting block, haven’t abandoned Clinton this time; many are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the socialist democratic values Sanders proposes to bring to the White House.
Don’t try to appease this vote
It would, of course, be politically unwise for Bernie to try and capitulate to this voting block.
It’s also highly unlikely.
I mean, how convincing would a centre-ground Bernie be?
Be consistent on Big Finance and income inequality
Again, as McFadden has pointed out:
The work of those black baby boomers has been slowly undone, even though some have moved into establishment positions. Decades after the end of official segregation, and after gaining the right to vote, African Americans are faced with a weakened and depleted middle class, many of whom suffered great losses from the last financial crisis and depression.
Black Democrats that view Hillary as a more realistic choice – across all ages and incomes – will still have been aware that the economic downturn changed politics entirely.
It might even jar – eventually – that Hillary is unlikely to challenge politics in a meaningful way.
She might be the establishment candidate; she’s also the platitudes candidate.
She’s the candidate who will say what you want to hear, to get your vote. That’s not enough anymore.