Fingers in the eyeballs and elbows to the guts; Hillary is throwing the entire Democratic establishment playbook at Bernie. And it’s not just Bill Clinton anymore who is in charge of the smearing: John Lewis, the Democrat rep from Georgia, threw doubt on Sander’s civil rights activism. He didn’t see Bernie at a march of hundreds of thousands with the Reverend Martin Luther King 50 or so years ago, so of course Sanders is lying about his civil rights activism.

And from Hillary and Podesta, the Single-Issue-Candidate Label was smacked onto poor Bernie’s forehead. Any complaint about or criticism of the Democratic Party’s corrupt establishment coalition of big money and identity politics is merely a grubby handful of single issue, sniveling complaints. The system is fine. Obama’s legacy is wonderful. You young women will go to hell unless you mend your evil ways and vote for Hillary. Because Bernie is a misogynist, didn’t you know?

It’s Hillary’s turn, darnit! Didn’t you know?

It’s ugly and it’s nasty and Bernie took a while in the debate to fight back, but will it work? What are Democrat voters looking for in 2016? Is the anger sustainable to the point where they would be willing to accept the enormous amount of additional regulations and taxes necessary to put Bernie’s plan in place?

Or are voters using Sanders to batter Hillary to push the Democratic establishment to enact some modest reforms both to it’s nomination process – imagine if Hillary wins the nomination only due to overwhelming super-delegate support – and to minimum wages levels and banking legislation, for example? And are democrat voters sure themselves at this point how far down the road to European-style socialism they are willing to follow Bernie Sanders?

Within that question is the issue of the diversity within identity politics. How much sway does the Black Congressional Caucus have in 2016 over the Black vote? The common view is a whole heck of a lot: African American voters have tended to coalesce around a candidate they feel they can work with. But are there fractures appearing in the southern firewall?

There could be: the issue of policing and jailing of black youth was the central theme in a devastating article by Michelle Alexander in The Nation a few days ago. She contends that the federal Crime Bill of 1994 decimated black communities – along with Bill Clinton’s welfare reform laws – and had more to do with Reagan than with Martin Luther King. Can Sanders play the policing issue to his favor? He voted for the bill by the way, and even Michelle Alexander admits that by the early 90’s there was a crisis with gang violence. She disagrees on how it should have been solved.

Will activists like Alexander turn black opinion against Hillary and her husband? And could Bernie Sanders convince people like Alexander – who is an expert at litigation, especially on race and slavery – that he would do more for incarcerated youth? Or will the issue fling mud on just about everybody in progressive circles and cause some black voters to stay home? It’s a potential political grenade which if tossed could do unknown damage within Democrat circles. Or it could remain with pin still in place – held there by a determined Black Congressional caucus.

Comments