Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) blamed part of “apparent” losses for both Georgia’s Democrat candidate Stacey Abrams and Florida’s Democrat candidate Andrew Gillum races on “white folks” feeling “uncomfortable” to vote for a black American candidate.
After drawing criticism over his remark that he made in an interview with the Daily Beast, Sanders then tried to clear his name — by calling their opponents’ campaigns “racist.”
Sanders’ initial remark
“I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders told the Daily Beast.
“I think next time around, by the way, it will be a lot easier for them to do that,” he added.
Sanders, who endorsed both Gillum and Abrams in the 2018 midterm elections, also praised Abrams’ “brilliant campaign” and called Gillum a “fantastic politician.”
“I think he ran a great campaign. And he had to take on some of the most blatant and ugly racism that we have seen in many, many years. And yet he came within a whisker of winning.”
Republican Ron DeSantis currently leads by a narrow 0.4 percent in Florida, ahead of Gillum in the governor race, to which Gillum has conceded — however, DeSantis is an “apparent” winner as the margins are tightening and they could be looking at a recount.
Listen to part Sanders’ interview below:
Sanders tries to clarify
Sanders then tried to be “absolutely clear” about his attacks on President Donald Trump, Kemp, and DeSantis’ “racist campaigns.”
“They used racist rhetoric to divide people and advance agendas that would harm the majority of Americans.”
Let me be absolutely clear: Donald Trump, Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis ran racist campaigns. pic.twitter.com/QwZtCe4xh3
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 8, 2018
Sanders received more backlash after he tried to clarify his remark:
Why is Bernie inserting himself in Democratic races? He is not a democrat and needs to keep his opinions to himself.
— loops (@mad4sci) November 8, 2018
You've had 50 years to become conversant on race. You're terrible at it. Step aside. You are not the present or the future.
— Portia McGonagal (@PortiaMcGonagal) November 8, 2018
Yeah, you are always absolutely clear, whether it's when you are accusing women candidates of running only on being women or giving a pass to racist white people. We hear you, we see you, we recognize who you are – a misogynist, racist, narcissist who should stfu.
— (((antiantisemite))) (@Tristanshouts) November 8, 2018
Florida voters vote for people of different backgrounds
Despite Sanders’ remark that Gillum and Abrams were falling short in their midterm races due to “racist campaigns,” Florida voters have a history opposite to racism, as they’ve previously voted for candidates of different races.
Carlos López-Cantera was sworn in in 2014 as the first Hispanic person to hold the position of lieutenant governor in Florida — the Republican incumbent was defeated in the recent House (FL-26) midterm elections by Democrat candidate Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.
Jeanette Nuñez made history in the 2018 midterms as she became Florida’s first Latina lieutenant governor — she told NBC News that being chosen for the position is “a huge source of pride for me, for my family, but most importantly for my community.”
From the bottom of my heart, I would like to thank each person who volunteered, contributed, and prayed for Ron and I. I’m so thankful to God for His ever present help. This victory is for Him! #GodIsGood #floridagovernor @RonDeSantisFL pic.twitter.com/yD3hGPRVUd
— Jeanette M. Nunez (@RepJNunez) November 7, 2018
U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) is the son of Cuban immigrants and was elected as Florida’s senator in 2009, then re-elected in 2016.
When former President Barack Obama was first elected, becoming the first black American president, he won over Florida voters with a 2.5 percent lead, The New York Times reported.
This is utterly disgusting.
The same state just elected:
Gillum lost because he is a socialist, and Floridians despise Socialism. pic.twitter.com/BVqmlC2f6R
— The Reagan Battalion (@ReaganBattalion) November 8, 2018
Sanders wasn’t the only one to bring up the topic of race in the midterm elections as the Women’s March attacked white American women, suggesting they needed to be worked on and blamed them for voting GOP — actress Patricia Heaton snapped back at that statement.