As the campaign leaves behind the predominantly-white states of Iowa and New Hampshire and enters into minority territory in preparation for the Nevada caucuses [February 20, 2016] and the decisive South Carolina primaries [February 27, 2016], the Democratic candidates are actively scrambling for the Black and Latino vote.
During last night’s [Thursday, February 11] Democratic Debate on PBS, both candidates finally showed a slight sign of a plan to better both communities, specifically that of African-Americans.
While Hillary Clinton’s approach leaned towards social injustices, Bernie Sanders, in true Bernie Sanders fashion, took the path of economic injustice.
Former Secretary Clinton chose to focus on a broader span of challenges facing minorities today as she opened up.
“I want to go further. I want to tackle those barriers that stand in the way of too many Americans right now. African-Americans who face discrimination in the job market, education, housing, and the criminal justice system,” she said.
While Clinton’s thoughts aren’t new to many, Sanders, who has been facing great criticism for his perceived lack of interest on minority issues showed what may have been his concern last night.
Blaming institutional racism and citing incarceration rates and systemic poverty, Bernie Sanders took his very familiar rant on income inequalities in America and swapped out the financially oppressed American for the minority voter.
“African-Americans and Latinos not only face the general economic crises of low wages and high unemployment and poor educational opportunities, but they face other problems as well,” he began.
While it seemed that Senator Sanders was finally ready to talk about race, he chose to switch it up all too quickly to discuss economic gaps that affect all races.
“So yes, we can talk about it as a racial issue. But it is a general economic issue. And here’s what the economic issue is. The wages that high school graduates received today are significantly less, whether you are white or black, then they used to be. Why is that?…Now you are a worker, white worker, black worker, who had a decent job, that manufacturing job is gone. What are you doing now, working in McDonald’s. That is why there is massive despair all over this country,” the candidate continued.
Of course any candidate who plans to lead this nation will have to consider all races, ethnicity, genders, and walks of life, and they should. But, any sign of any significant agenda that will work to lessen the racial tensions within this country that many so desperately want to ignore is pretty much nonexistent.
With South Carolina and Nevada creeping up quickly, these candidates will have to increase their awareness of the realities of being a minority in America. Some empathy will have to be employed if they plan on garnering the majority support of any one group.