Friday evening [February 12, 2016], Bernie Sanders entered what seemed to be neutral territory when he decided to attend a “Community Forum on Black America” in Minneapolis.
What could have been a full house of minority supporters with a clear view of Sanders’ agenda for Black Americans was a school gym with folding chairs and bleachers left empty, and even those who did attend found themselves pulling further away from the anti-establishment Democrat and questioning his seriousness in regard to the pressing issues that face African-Americans.
“I know you’re scared to say ‘Black,’ I know you’re scared to say ‘reparations,’” said Felicia Perry, a local entrepreneur and artist on the stage. “Can’t you please specifically talk about Black people?”
Within a 40-minute appearance, Sanders only managed to further ostracize himself a community of voters wanting answers.
But, with the level of difficulty he’s displayed at answering Black questions, Bernie Sanders has still managed to split the support of Black leaders with opponent Hillary Clinton.
Clinton has already garnered the support of key figures in her bid against Sanders. With a backing that includes the likes of Rep. John Lewis, leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the 1960s, Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland, and the mother of Eric Garner, Clinton has seemingly come prepared for battle.
All the while Sanders has managed break up the decision between the family of the late Eric Garner as Garner’s daughter has expressed her decision to support Bernie Sanders, political correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates has also expressed that his vote will go to Sanders.
But, the question still remains on his loyalties and legitimacy. Recently, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed pointed out Sanders’ switch from Independent to Democrat in his bid for candidacy.
“He was never a Democrat. He is only a Democrat for convenience,” Mayor Reed said in an interview with The Associated Press, accusing Sanders of “dismissive and disrespectful behavior toward the president.”
It seems that leaders are also calling Sanders out on his lack of support for the Obama administration, calling Hillary Clinton, whose allegiance to President Barack Obama has always managed to take center stage, a better fit to carry on the legacy and policies of the nation’s first Black president.
What’s to come next as this saga continues? No one really knows.
It seems both candidates have some more campaigning to do. Primaries in the African-American-heavy South Carolina are set for two weeks from now, and there’s still more to be said if Bernie Sanders plans on gaining any sort of advantage over a heavily-favored Clinton.