By Teka Lark (August 24, 2015)
“We’re reaching out to everybody,” said Bernie Sanders on NBC’s Meet the Press in response to the disruption of his August 8 downtown Seattle campaign rally by Black Lives Matters Seattle chapter co-founders Marissa Johnson and Mara Jacqueline Willaford.
Black people aren’t included in “everybody” and “all.” This “we” and “us” and “everybody” concept would be great if it were real, but it is not real.
Those terms are codes for except “those” people. Those people are Black people.
The question of who can win, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, is irrelevant. The choice between the least wet water is a pointless discussion.
In the fight for which Democrat has the more liberal economic policy (not liberal, more liberal) in the base sense —Sanders wins.
The focus on Sanders currently in regards to race, while I wish was truly about disrupting the whole voting process and picking choice C, I’m not a 5 year-old. The focus on Bernie is about him having an unsophisticated campaign manager (in some ways) and Clinton having a very slick one.
But the disruption in the Sanders campaign has brought forth an opportunity for a discussion and to talk about the Z option. You don’t let go of opportunities to challenge the whole process.
I have observed some things living in the US as a newspaper woman. The Black vote is not a vote that the political machine works for.
According to Scott Clement in the Washington Post article “How black voters could determine the 2016 election” African-Americans have voted 85% Democrat since 1972 in presidential elections. The amount of time and money spent to earn that very loyal vote is nearly nonexistence.
“Obama initially planned to spend only $650,000 with Black newspapers, a figure that was raised under pressure to $1 million – which meant that $999 million went to others,” from the article “President Obama Disrespects the Black Press” by George Curry in Politics 365 in referring to the 2012 race for president.
That amount was for a national election.
Just to put it in perspective how little that is let us look at the 2013 L.A. mayoral election. In 2013 GOP media consultant Fred Davis gave mayoral candidate Kevin James (who later endorsed Garcetti, a Democrat) $500,000. James, a person who could not even win an election to be the mayor of his toilet was given $500,000 of monopoly money. That is a tiny bit less than what the Democrat Party was going to spend on the entire Black vote for a national election in 2012.
The machine has this idea that no matter what happens Black people are going to vote Democrat, so until after the primaries that is not a vote that anyone is working for and even after the primaries. Who else are Black people going to vote for? I have some ideas of what Black people can vote for, but I have a policy now of not telling anyone to do anything, there is enough of that, but I’m simply saying this is what the political machine thinks about the Black vote in general.
This is just a fact.
The amount of money and time spent in the Black community by anyone, is very little. Black people and issues are viewed as divisive and a potential turn off to nonBlack voters, even Black politicians know this. Our old school top organizations have “urban” and “colored” in the titles. That is a wink to let everyone (well to them, everyone is white people) know #AllJusticeMatters.
The “colored” in NAACP’s is connected to its colorist past and way more loaded and classist than it seems. It is not just as simple as “that’s what we called ourselves.”
Sanders wants to win and you don’t win elections by “catering” to the Black vote before the primaries. This is an open secret among political types. Clinton isn’t going to focus on Black people either. Both camps might hire a Black person, but they are not going to spend more than two seconds on anything beyond maybe police violence or education and when they do they’ll call it urban educational violence or something like that and remind the voting public, it’s for everybody, because #AllVotesMatter.
People often say people who tell you not to vote are agent provocateurs. I think people who tell you to do anything are agent provocateurs and agent provocateurs get paid.
Teka Lark is a journalist, poet and satirist based in the L.A. suburb of Inglewood. She is the founder of the Blk Grrrl Book Fair and the editor of Blk Grrrl Magazine– www.blkgrrrl.com and the author o