Black America’s Moment, A Follow-Up


Two weeks ago, in Black America’s Moment, I made the observation that Black Democratic voters, collectively, held the balance of power in the Democratic nominating process. My concluding paragraph:

This really isn’t about Sanders vs. Clinton. The reality here is that Sanders or Clinton, if elected and if given the wiggle room, will make decisions and agree to compromises that perpetuate structural racism in America and work to the detriment of Blacks at large. There is an opportunity here for Black America to use the power it now wields to minimize that wiggle room, to put the next President in a box so that he/she must do the right thing. Are steps being taken to achieve that result? I sure hope so.

If South Carolina  is any indication, Black Americans are acting quite decisively on this front. The numbers from last night were stunning: 85% of Black South Carolina primary voters favored Clinton. Obama didn’t do that well in the 2008 primaries.

Is there a takeaway from this, in the context of my prior post?

I think so. We can debate why Clinton did as well as she did last night (and why she likely will do similarly well in other states), but the “why” here really doesn’t matter.

The fact of the matter is that Clinton went to what she perceived to be the power structure in Black America: Elected officials like John Lewis and Jim Clyburn, and various celebrities. They in turn went to local leaders, including many members of the clergy.

It might be that she didn’t need their help. It might be that Black voters just had a comfort level with Clinton they didn’t have with Sanders. Doesn’t matter. The folks Clinton asked to help delivered big time.

Which brings me back to that concluding paragraph. What did those leaders get in exchange for their help?

Did they get ironclad guaranties on measures that will be implemented to tear down structural racism in America? Did they, as I suggested, put her in a box so she must do the right thing if elected? If so, I’m okay with this result, as much as I personally would prefer a Sanders candidacy. Black America’s freedom from structural racism is more important than my policy preferences in other areas.

Or did they not bother getting real guaranties? Worse yet, will the bargained for reciprocation run to them personally, rather than Black America at large?

Time will tell.


  1. Bob, I suspect they will get what they have always received…not much of anything. You are correct in that only time will tell, but if I am correct and nothing happens, Blacks face the same delimna they have always faced: Where do they go if not the Democrats?

  2. Black america’s fear is being confronted by a lower middle class white cop not a billionaire’s dark money. They sent a message to bernie supporters you white elitist liberals are not as important as you think you are! You white liberal elitist opinion makers don’t make up our opinions for us says the black democratic voters. We now control the democratic party not you white liberal elitists! Bernie sanders supporters bette pray that latino voters in texas don’t do to you what black south carolina did to you otherwise you will have to hop on to your pogo stick and join the green party that is still whitey land.

    • That actually makes no sense, if you look at the polling data. The Black millennials, the ones who logically would most fear whits cops, split roughly evenly. It was the older Blacks, particularly those over 65, who went overwhelmingly for Clinton. I’ve heard varying explanations about why the vote was so lopsided and none were remotely close to what you just pulled out of your ass here.

  3. If the GOP Tea Party has obstructed President Obama for 8 years and taken America over the precipice, why does anyone think they won’t do the same to Bernie and many of his great ideas? His ideas have forced the much needed dialog that hopefully has made Hillary see the light of the “other” half of the party. If Hillary cares about our democracy and her legacy, she should work to dismantle her husband’s destructive Crime Bill Act, AEDPA, draconian mandatory minimum sentences and the private prisons turning America into a “prison/police” state.

    • Bernie isn’t Obama. Bernie is not afraid to apply pressure to the GOP to increase their willingness to negotiate rather than stonewall.

      “If Hillary cares about our democracy…” surely, you jest.

  4. If the Dems want to beat Trump, who has taken control of the media, they need to recognize the Black Vote matters, especially the black women, grandmothers and mothers, who have endured far too to much in America, for hundreds of years, and years of having their children shot by the police who should be their to protect them. They made the difference! I applaud the activist black women who came from all over to campaign for Hillary, who appeared to be genuinely moved by their support, and sent a message of inclusion and breaking down barriers, instead of the dangerous, chilling Trump sound-bytes attracting scary followers. Hillary has the most experience, has shown her strength over decades of attacks and is suited to be the next President of the United States!

  5. Although I certainly hope this is not the case, my opinion is that the South Carolina results are more of a status quo confirmation than one in which “ironclad guaranties” were secured. As Glen Ford in the Black Agenda Report expressed, the African American vote is, historically, about voting for the person most likely to keep the White Man’s Party out of the Oval Office and Clinton represents the best option, at this time, to them. All else, he claims, is “bullshit”.

    So…in spite of the support for Bernie Sanders from Spike Lee, Killer Mike, Ben Jealous, and others, the South Carolina black voter followed Clyburn, John Lewis, etc. down the familiar path Clinton represents. Hopefully, Bernie can overcome this in the states ahead.

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