Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Sanders Joins The Throng

Say it ain't so, Senator.

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders has been criticized in the 2020 campaign, as he was in the 2016 campaign, for devaluing the importance of race, allegedly failing to acknowledge the connection between race and class.  For example, after Sanders announced his candidacy, MSNBC political analyst/contributor tweeted "OK, 23 minutes in Bernie finally mentions race and gender."  

Maxwell later acknowledged that she had overlook Sanders' mention of "racism" and "sexism" earlier in his statement. Nevertheless, her critique of the preoccupation (recognition of, in my view) with class has been a common complaint against the candidate.

However, on Monday the Senator, who has been an official presidential candidate for nearly three months, became also an unofficial Democratic candidate for the office. On Monday morning, the current occupant of the presidency:

On Monday afternoon, the Vermont senator, heretofore the Democratic candidate who best understood the primacy of class in American society and politics:
No, Senator, just no. The play is that

1- The President of the United States in America is best situated to set the tone for religious and racial understanding in America; 

2- The President of the USA has made it clear that he is biased against Islam- and even against Christianity:

3- For all his statements ridiculing Christianity, the President retains the support of a large number of Christians;

4- Bias against Muslims, Jews, Christians, and people of any (or lack of) faith must end.

Instead, Senator Sanders slammed President Trump's criticism of Representative Rashida Tlaib's "tremendous hatred of Israel and the Jewish people" as among his "ugly attacks against Muslim women in Congress."

The congresswoman's remark was anti-Israel and anti-Jewish but, admittedly, if one wants to bend over backwards and strain the lumbar, it may be interpreted otherwise.

Nonetheless, Trump simply said nothing about Tlaib being Muslim, obviously avoiding linking Tlaib's opinions to her religion. And not only did the President not mention that Tlaib is a woman, it's hard to understand how her gender would determine her view of the Israel-Palestinian conflict or related issues.   (Presumably, lots of Palestinian-American men also oppose a Jewish state in the Mideast.)

Sanders' rebuke of President Trump is akin to what would be expected of any of the other candidates for President, who (apart from Elizabeth Warren) seem oblivious to the reality of two Americas, one for the rich and one for the rest of us.  It is a remark which has the odor of pandering on an ethnic basis which has become almost de rigueur among Democratic candidates. (Admittedly, they want also white male votes, which are referred to as "rural" or "working men and women" or "Michigan.")

There is already a president who divides people on the base of religion or race, as Sanders notes. However, Donald Trump did not do that in this tweet that set Sanders off and the latter's response will reinforce the perception of many voters of a Democratic party overly anxious to play the race and gender card.

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