Point of View Columns

Here Comes That Race Issue – Again

As we analyze the results of the second Super Tuesday in the past two weeks, there is are a few things that are clear. One is that the eventual Democratic nominee will either be Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden. Another point is also clear. And that is that, after over twenty five presidential aspirants going after the Democratic nomination presented the most diverse group of presidential candidates in the history of this country, one of two 78 year old white men will be the nominee.

Historians in the near future will write about how this could have happened. What policy analysts and the American people who will have to make this choice will need to know is…..what will Sanders or Biden and the Democratic Party do about it? Is the status quo all that will come out of “the most diverse group of presidential candidates in the history of this country” the final distilled, watered down result?

And aside from the mandate of “diversity”, what about the fact that it has been the will of Black voters that has given Joe Biden the boost that has made him the leading candidate? And what about the fact that Bernie Sanders is desperately seeking that Black vote in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania in his effort to become the nominee? And what about the fact that Black voters have been the most reliable component of the Democratic Party coalition for half a century?

And the question stands – what will Biden/Sanders do about it? What will the Democratic Party do about it?

One fairly obvious solution would be to seize the opportunity to make history in America – in a good way. Clearly there is a need for a woman to be the Vice Presidential candidate. Just as clearly there is a need for a Black person to be the Vice Presidential candidate. And just as clearly, the solution seems to be selecting a Black woman to be the Vice Presidential candidate.

There is no doubt that if Biden (or Sanders) makes that choice, he will not only be making history, he will also be making the smart choice. An energized base is key to a Democratic win – Trump’s base has been energized since November of 2016 and they show no signs of leaving their Good and Crazy Shepherd anytime soon.

Black voters have been at the foundation of the successful elections of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and certainly would have elected Hillary Clinton if not for the defection and disaffection of too many white women voters. Now is the time for Biden/Sanders and the Democratic Party to make history and also find a way to win.

In 2016, instead of selecting Julian Castro and sealing her victory with the support of the Latino community. Instead she chose Tim Kaine, a white man who spoke Spanish very well. And we see how that turned out.

There are not many things that Trump does well. But he does do bold well (even if the things that he does are very, very bad). Biden/Sanders have a chance to be bold in a good way and hopefully the Democratic Party leadership will understand that being bold with a Black woman vice presidential candidate will be the first step in ending the reign of Donald Trump.

Which, after all, has to be the unalterable goal.