*As the next round of Democratic primaries approach, Sen. Bernie Sanders isn’t taking the African American vote for granted.
En route to his event in Davis, California late last week, Sanders made time to talk by phone with a group of African American journalists from across the state of California. And he didn’t pull any punches when I asked him why the black community in California should support him — and not Hillary Clinton — on June 7th.
“If these were normal times,” Sanders told me, “then I think we’d be OK to say ‘let’s support somebody who’s an establishment candidate. Let’s support establishment economics. No disrespect to Hillary Clinton, who I’ve known for 25 years, but she is an establishment politician, and I think we all know that.”
“I think given the incredible level of wealth disparities and income inequality, given the corrupt campaign finance system that is allowing billionaires to buy elections, given the fact that we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of any major country on earth — and it is much worse in the African American community — I think it is time for real change, ” Sanders charged. “And I think the American people throughout this country are catching on that the establishment is not working for them.”
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Sanders got more animated as he answered my question. From his change in tone, it seemed my question had riled him, so I just sat back and experienced — FELT — the Bern.
“I don’t mean to be too rhetorical here, Mike, but we do need a political revolution,” he continued.
“Mike.” Sanders shortened my beloved, carefully cultivated “Michael P Coleman” to “Mike.” Only family and close friends do that! I LOVE Bernie!
”We do need a government that’s representing all of us, and not just the one percent of us, and we do need to say loudly that we don’t need wars in Iraq that Hillary Clinton supported, but we do need to invest in our inner cities where the schools are failing, where people don’t have access to a grocery store, or a bank branch, or they can’t afford their housing.”
“We need bold change in America, and if you [look at] my campaign, that’s what my agenda is. It IS taking on the billionaire class. It IS taking on the greed of corporate America. It IS taking on Wall Street. That’s what I think has to be done now. And that is precisely why I am running for president of the United States.”
Independent of what you think of Bernie, you have to give it to him for availing himself to African American media throughout the state. Hillary hasn’t.
Our time with Sanders was limited, so he didn’t get to my follow-up questions. I’ve been dying to ask him the first one for over a year:
Experience more of the conversation with Bernie Sanders at EURThisNthat.