Is Vermont’s Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders a Racist? [OPINION]
Some supporters and staffers of Bernie's 2016 campaign for president believe they were victims of racism. The New York Times found and interviewed these folks.
Who knew that the most progressive candidate, a self-declared socialist, was secretly a racist? That is the impression the New York Times creates with the story it published the day before the Vermont senator announced another run for the presidency.
For the record, I don't think Bernie is a racist.
The Times uses two headlines for the print edition of the story. On page one, it says "Sanders's Task For Black Vote: Fixing Damage" and on page A13 the damage continues with "Sanders's Challenge: Proving Himself to Black Voters He Alienated in 2016."
The article is about how some former staffers felt the campaign treated them, not about anything Bernie did to "damage" or "alienate" African American voters in the 2016 Democratic Party primaries and caucuses.
One of the things the article cites as evidence is the states Bernie first chose to focus on in the election cycle. The Vermont senator "campaigned heavily in predominantly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire, which vote early in the nomination process." Every serious political candidate for the presidency campaigns heavily in the states of Iowa and New Hampshire. The Bernie campaign isn't responsible for the demographics of those states, and it has no control over the dates those states select for their elections.
The paper also claims that "some black campaign workers described microaggressions — subtle interactions that, while not overtly discriminatory, still played on racial prejudice. One woman said her boss almost never spoke to her." They don't name or quote anyone who can tell us who in the campaign committed these "microaggressions" against African American members of the Bernie campaign.
The article also tells the reader the campaign "deprioritized black voters" and "that many former black employees still feel frustrated that they were not taken seriously or provided with the resources they needed to succeed - even though some continue to admire Mr. Sanders."
The campaign even turned a black staffer into a chauffeur when it asked him, an outreach coordinator, to drive surrogates campaigning for Bernie during the election.
The message of the article is clear: African Americans who are looking to support a candidate in the Democratic Party primaries should avoid Bernie Sanders and his racist campaign apparatus.
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.