Black Brothers and Good Ole Boys: Bernie Sander’s Winning Combination?



IF BERNIE SANDERS is to win the US Presidential Election he’ll have to win the support of two crucial demographics. The first group to win over are working-class Blacks. The second, and arguably the more important, are working-class Whites. Because, right now, the Sanders campaign is a paradox: it offers America a left-wing programme, but the voters who have , so far, responded most enthusiastically are not the Black, White and Latino working-class Americans who would benefit most from its content, but the young, well-educated children of America’s professional middle-class – and some of their parents.


As the primaries head South and South-West into South Carolina and Nevada the Sanders campaign must find a way to counter Hillary Clinton’s popularity among African-American voters and Latinos. If he does notfind some way of detaching a significant number of Black voters, in particular, from the Clinton juggernaut in South Carolina, he risks getting what Barack Obama calls a “shellacking”. Being beaten by 40-50 percentage points in the Palmetto State would damage the Sander’s campaign very seriously. A narrow loss (10-15 points) on the other hand, would indicate that he just might come out the other side of “Super Tuesday” with enough delegates to keep on fighting.


[The phrase “Super Tuesday” refers to the Tuesday in February or March of a presidential election year when the greatest number of states hold primary elections to select delegates to national conventions at which each party’s presidential candidates are officially nominated. More delegates can be won on Super Tuesday than on any other single day of the primary calendar; accordingly, candidates seeking the presidency traditionally must do well on this day to secure their party’s nomination. States participating in this year’s “Super Tuesday” (1 March 2016) are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Wyoming. – Wikipedia]


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Sander’s position in Nevada is of less concern than his situation in South Carolina. The Nevada polls put him within striking distance of Clinton, which suggests that, whoever wins there, the margin will be relatively narrow. If it’s not, and Clinton racks up a big Nevada win, then the Sanders campaign will find itself holed below the waterline.


In Sander’s favour, however, is the endorsement he has received from the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This mostly young activist group has broken ranks with the ageing veterans of the 1950s and 60s civil rights leadership – nearly all of whom have come out strongly for Clinton. Black youth, who have grown up in the post-civil rights activism era, are drawn to Sander’s unequivocal condemnation of Police racism, and are as enthusiastic as White youth about his promises of free tertiary education and universal, publicly funded and provided health care.  If Sanders attracts the support of young Black working-class voters across the South (where most of the Super Tuesday primaries will be taking place) then Clinton campaign’s progress will be severely impeded.


But, even if he heads off Hillary to claim the Democratic Party’s nomination, Sanders cannot become President of the United States without re-claiming for the Democratic Party a significant chunk of the White working-class’s current support for the Republicans.


In the states of the old Confederacy, and especially among those with only a high-school education, the formerly rock-solid grip of the Democratic Party was broken as long ago as the late 1960s. The poor, ill-educated, deeply religious working-class White males of the Old South never forgave President Johnson (a Texan goddammit!) for passing the Civil Rights Act in 1965. It made them easy meat for the Alabama Governor, George Wallace, in 1968; Richard Nixon, in 1972; and Ronald Reagan in 1980.


By skilfully practising the dark art of “wedge politics” the Republicans have by-and-large held on to these angry and alienated “Good Ole Boys”. They comprise the core of evangelical Christianity in America; hold deeply conservative views on most social issues; love their guns, their families and their flag; and have precious little that’s good to say about Blacks, Latinos (illegal immigrants!) Muslims or “big government”.


Can Sanders – a socialist Jewish-American – win back these Good Ole Boys? That depends upon how forthright and uncompromising he is willing to be on sheeting home the blame for working-class America’s woes to where it properly belongs. Deep down these voters know that they’ve been suckered by the country-club set, and that, as Sanders declares over and over again, the game in America is rigged against the ordinary working stiff – no matter what colour or creed he may be.


Only if he is able to convince both the Black and the White working-class that a vote for the Democratic candidate is a vote to break through to the surface and take in a lungful of free American air, can Bernie Sanders hope to become the 45th President of the United States.


  1. as i have been saying for quite a long time now…

    the final race will be between sanders and trump..

    ..and sanders will win in a landslide.. part ‘cos those republican voters horrified by trump..

    ..will in worst case scenario..stay home on polling day..

    ..or in best case scenario..some of them will vote for sanders..mainly to block/stop trump..but also because some will have some sympathy for his ‘corrpt-system-broken’ message..

    ..clinton is dead in the water…in early 2015 sanders was on 5% support..clinton on 55%.. they are neck and neck..with a fox news poll the other day the first showing sanders beating clinton nationally..

    ..people are flocking to sanders..and away from clinton..

    ..that momentum will not stop..

    (and what i find kinda hilarious is that all the time i have been making these calls..the pundits/experts..both locally and internationally have persisted with their folly of assuming clinton has it in the bag..and that bush/cruz/rubio (take yr pick) would beat trump..

    ..they are all wrong wrong wrong..

    and two funny examples are the american ‘expert’ on the henry show..each week she comes on and tells us why trump will be beaten..and how clinton will beat sanders..(but latterly she is looking more cornered/desperate/grasping for straws..)

    ..and a local example wrong-pundit is tim watkin..who on national radio has long trumpeted the clinton victory over sanders..

    ..he has been unshakable ..until the other day..where when questioned on the soundness of his ‘expert’ predictions..he admitted he now wasn’t quite so sure..

    experts/pundits tying themselves up like pretzels in their p.o.v.-justifications has been one of the more amusing sideshows of this most fascinating of campaigns..

    ..(and i hafta admit..withiin that genre..yr posing the possibility of clinton beating sanders by 40+ %..deserves a special award all of its’ own..)

    ..and have you forgotten the latinos..and the bleeding middle-class..?

    ..who polling is showing are also turning to bernie..

    ..and of course the millennials favouring sanders over clinton by 95% to 5% is one of the sweetest clinchers on the deal..

    ..and ‘the deal’ is that bernie sanders will be the next president of america..

    (..and i for one can’t wait..)

    • I agree with most of what you say and would be thrilled to see Bernie become President. What a great welcome revolution that would be! And what a great message for the greedy rich class of USA and that of the world!

      But I think Bernie needs to expand on various other policies along with his main theme of how the rich pricks and corporates are screwing society and the country.

      He needs to quickly expound details of policies and how he would go about enacting them.

      Another point I am wondering about is, in order to fulfill his mission and policies, does he not need to have a majority of democrats in the house as well as have willing Governors in states that will carry out his policies such as free tertiary education and free health care?

      Also, he will need to spell out his tax plan in detail.

      USA has such a complicated/restrictive system of Government!

  2. I hope Sanders wins, to clean up American corruption and corporate greed and put their own people first for a change, not international trade deals and wars that benefit the greedy and make the world an insecure place.

  3. I can’t square the analysis with the fact that well over half the voting age population of America are ineligible to vote in these elections.

  4. I wonder what Sanders would do with Key – not much of a market for used poodles I’d’ve thought – not outside the Middle East.

    “If there’s a heaven where the good dogs go,
    I reckon John’ll be sent below…”

      • Yeah, that’s who he has been targeting and he’s been successful – or as successful as a politician can be. But the real split between Clinton and Sanders is based on age, not class position.
        Race is a factor, but this is diminishing. Furthermore, only 13% of democrat voters in the Navada caucus were black, whereas 63% of voters were over 45 years old, and they voted overwhelmingly for Clinton (66% vs 31%). Meanwhile, voters under 44 years of age voted for Sanders 72% vs 25%). This data is from a CBS exit poll:

          • btw..if you know of a site with more comprehensive/nuanced coverage than this


            plse let me know and i will link to/promote it..

            i have approx 160 bernie-stories..first one posted in 2006..about a socialist mayor who had wowed the republicans/conservative under his sway..

            ..with his fair-handed execution of his powers..

   he operated for the benefit of all..

            ..cometh the hour..cometh the man..

            ..and bernie really is ‘the man’..

  5. Call me old fashioned if you must but if Sanders is genuine? Then, how come he’s survived to get this far without an untimely accident, mysterious cancer, unexpected madness, overt sexual dalliance that’s cost him his private/public life?
    Won’t there be eagle eyes and cold hearts watching for rising-star, best-intentions types that might threaten the $-status quo and lets face it, assassinations are so last century dahlings. Best, and simpler surly, to just head-fuck people ? I mean, he’s seen off Jeb Bush and he’s still walking for Gods sake. The Mighty Orange Trumpenator can be seen beside Sanders because who cares right? One or the other. No matter who just so long as …. Etc.
    As we’re seeing in our own U$A influenced politics.
    Just sayin’.
    ( Does that seem a bit mad ?? )

  6. @ CB – no not mad, I was thinking along the same lines. Of course I do hope sanders is genuine, but money has done the talking for so long in America, it’s hard to believe the money makers would want that to stop?

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