Bernie 10-31

Independent Senator and 2016 Democratic presidential primary loser Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been relentless in his pursuit of white voters while he and his supporters remain bewildered about his lack of support among women and minorities. A particularly telling recent remark could provide the key to decoding that disconnect for Bernie's supporters.

Part of Sanders's problem is that he has a habit of making an otherwise decent point in the assiest way possible. For example, in his recent appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” Sanders probably meant to say that resistance to Trump must be accompanied by a strategy that addresses broad economic concerns.

What he actually said, though, was that issues of concern to “ordinary Americans” are “more important” than issues concerning “women,” “Latinos,” “blacks,” and “people in the gay community”:

“Yes. I mean, I think we've got to work in two ways. Number one, we have got to take on Trump's attacks against the environment, against women, against Latinos and blacks and people in the gay community, we've got to fight back every day on those issues. But equally important, or more important, we have got to focus on bread-and-butter issues that mean so much to ordinary Americans.”

Now, when I say Bernie meant to say something different, what I mean is that he should have meant to say that, and I'm sure that Bernie's fans think that's what he was trying to say, but there is an overwhelming body of evidence that Sanders really does think that issues of race, gender, and sexuality are separate from, and secondary to, the economic concerns of the “white working class.”

This is the essence of the Sanders disconnect. He and his supporters feel that “it goes without saying” (he literally said that) that these issues are important but not as important as a message that resonates with a demographic majority that eludes Democrats.

Look, there's a certain strategic (and completely wrong) pragmatism to that argument, one that has actually played out in Democratic politics for decades, but then you can't be surprised when people notice that you're making it. And if you're the party whose popular vote-winning coalition correctly believes otherwise, you'd be better off not listening to that garbage.

Watch the full interview below.

Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR.

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