As our Democratic presidential candidates continue to try to fight a good and honorable campaign, some passionate supporters can be counted on to flare up over the opposite campaign's occasional missteps. I've heard from Bernie supporters about Hillary's emails, and Hillary supporters who claim Bernie is the NRA's best buddy.
This week it's about Bernie. And it is not so much those of us on the ground who are doing the squealing, but those puffed up party officials. This is how it all began:
A few weeks ago, during a taping of Larry Wilmore's The Nightly Show, Sanders responded to a question about whether the primary process was rigged by saying that "having so many southern states go first kind of distorts reality." Oh. My. God. What is he saying, exactly, about us southerners???
Of course, Bernie being a very white man from a very white state, he has been walking a tightrope regarding racial issues. And racial issues, for good reason, have been very, very hot this election season. Not surprisingly, this became a comment about black southern voters being too conservative for Bernie.
Our own Democratic Party chairman, Jaime Harrison, took it upon himself, along with other thin-skinned Democratic party officials from South Carolina as well as other southern states, to very publicly condemn Sanders for his comments. In a letter to Sanders' campaign headquarters, rationalizations were piled on top of a history lesson about the democratic process and diversity, followed by a statement of support for Hillary. Yes, really.
Fact is, South Carolina's Democratic party is a very conservative bunch. They are unlikely to give up a lot of support to anyone who might make waves. It is not surprising that many good people are discouraged from running for office because of exorbitant filing fees followed by little public or financial support from the party. You kind of already have to be a winner to expect our guys to get behind you.
To be fair, this is the party that continues to try to live down the Alvin Greene fiasco. But as overcompensation for being asleep at the wheel in 2010, the party has refused to even acknowledge potentially controversial potential candidates like Jay Stamper in 2014, and pretty much ignored the dynamic Joyce Dickerson in her run against Tim Scott in 2014, despite the fact that she beat out two male primary challengers.
Let me just add that Dickerson's message was just what would have fired up Democrats in South Carolina. Instead, come election day few had even heard of her.
This year, we have two amazing candidates running for president. We also have too many republicans running unopposed in all levels of government, with a few brave souls stepping up to bring the Democratic message to South Carolina.
Slick pols like Tim Scott rub elbows at Hilton Head with the good ole boys with money, while our candidates aren't allowed to stand at the tournament shuttle bus stop to talk about issues. Most South Carolinians don't ever hear about actual issues; what they get is red meat thrown onto the fire by right wingnuts. They don't have to even learn names; they just vote that "R" just like their daddy did.
It will take fearlessness to ever, EVER turn blue. It will take making running more affordable for candidates and it will take the party using some clout to put those names in front of the people. Republican candidates have learned to make it sound like they are one of us, but they are not. Voters need to understand that what republicans say is different than how they run our government, and they need to know just how that affects us all.
Democrats need a platform, and yes, Democratic Party, that is going to cost you money. I know you run lots of programs to try to get people to join the party, but I think you have it backwards. You need to get the candidates in front of the people so that they will understand what you can do for them if they support you.
And you know what? There is nothing like controversy to get the cameras rolling. How about candidates that aren't afraid to be David to the republican Goliath? How about taking a chance on someone who isn't afraid to speak her mind? How about not being afraid to support a presidential candidate that fights for socialist programs like Medicare and public schools?
Jaime Harrison is probably a nice guy; I wouldn't know because he never seems to stop selling himself. He certainly doesn't stop long enough to listen to anybody. He maybe ought to take a couple of steps back and get some perspective on what is going on. Our Democratic contests are NOT about race. They are about different perspectives on how to get the equality we all deserve. And if he stopped being so thin-skinned, he might actually understand what Senator Sanders was trying to say when he talked about southern voters.
More than once, before the presidential primary, I heard people declare that they liked Bernie, but they were going to vote for Hillary because Bernie couldn't win. And that wasn't about race, it was about insecurity.
That could be what he was trying to tell us.