Short of some unknown catastrophe, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is not going to be president.
Pennsylvania’s Hillary Clinton supporters made sure of that last Tuesday when they delivered the Keystone State to the former secretary of state and first lady by a spread of 56 percent to 44 percent — the difference of about 200,000 votes and enough to put the election nearly out of reach for Sanders.
In Philadelphia, the margin was broader – 63 percent to 37 percent, with Sanders finding victory in the city’s mostly White, river wards.
The Black vote, as usual, fell easily to Clinton — Clinton, who had played dominoes with senior citizens in East Harlem, informed Charlamagne Tha God on New York’s Hot 105.1 radio show that she carried hot sauce in her bag, and on whose shoulders Black religious leaders at Philly’s historic Mother Bethel A.M.E Church laid hands upon – just as a group of Black bishops in a widely circulated photo did to candidate Barack Obama eight years earlier.
But before we Bernie believers depart the spotlight (Sanders vows to continue onward until the convention, but the public focus is always the horse race. And we’re not in it), we want to set a few things straight. We still want our issues addressed.
If we, as a nation, recognize that a college education is required in order to make a decent living in America, then college education in America needs to come without a lifetime of debt. We want free college tuition.
The coziness between big-money donors — from the fracking industry to big banks and hedge fund firms — and political candidates who later set policy affecting those industries, must stop. Or it should at least be monitored and brought to light.
Universal health care needs to be free. For many people, it isn’t even “affordable” as was the intention of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which Republicans dubbed Obamacare. More workable options need to be examined in providing health care to the masses.
And we as individuals want a voice in the political process. We don’t want “the establishment” or the pampered “political class” telling us what we’re supposed to do and when we’re supposed to do it.
And yes, that’s a dig at Clinton. When asked during a town hall meeting in Philadelphia that was moderated by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow if she might incorporate any of Sander’s ideas into her platform, Clinton responded: “I have a bigger lead in pledged delegates than Senator [Barack] Obama, when I ran against him in 2008, ever had over me. I am winning. And I’m winning because of what I stand for and what I’ve done and what my ideas are.”
Well, excuse us. (And we’ll excuse all the “I,I,I”’s).
Clinton’s attitude could fail to motivate the unmotivated voter. And it doesn’t sound like the attitude of someone who promises to “knock down barriers.” It sounds like a wall.
In response to calls for Sanders and his supporters to quietly go away, Clinton pointed to her loss to Obama eight years ago: “I nominated him at the convention in Denver. I spent an enormous amount of time convincing my supporters to support him … I hope we see the same thing this year.”
Somehow, I don’t recall her enthusiasm at the time. And I can still hear her supporters’ shrieks of “Hillary!” until that strained final moment at the convention.
To Bernie supporters, be proud. You created something out of what many in power and influence insisted was nothing. You did more with $27 than many donors do with $27,000. And the smartly painted “Black Men for Bernie” caravan from Dallas that wound through Philly’s streets on Election Day was marvelous.
We may not have sparked a revolution, but we put up quite a fight.
And to Clinton’s loyal Black supporters, don’t let your loyalty be taken for granted. “Stay woke” as the saying goes, on issues of appointments, legislation and priorities.
Elections matter. But they’re not the end of anything.