Black voters care mostly about the economy and health care, not esoteric upper-class conversations about race and gender


A couple notes this Sunday. My friend Daniel Marans is in Alabama and noted that there is a surprising amount of openness towards the  candidacy of Vermont Independent Senator Bernie Sanders:

Most Democratic voters in the South are African American, a function of racial polarization of politics in that region since the late 1990’s and early 00’s.

Meanwhile, my former colleague Glenn Greenwald is up at The Intercept, pointing out how former Clinton 2016 staffer Zerlina Maxwell who is today an MSNBC regular claimed that Sanders avoided discussion of race and gender until late into his launch address in Brooklyn. Greenwald points out this is false. In response, Maxwell’s response then is that Sanders isn’t “talking about race and gender,” because he’s talking about substantive policy issues that impact women and racial minorities instead.

This is a semi-religious belief among upper-class liberals, that minorities just want some kind of conversation about “race and gender” instead of substantive policy addressing issues that, to Maxwell’s apparent ignorance, impact men and women, whites and blacks. Folks who are economically secure in particular really like to have the emotional satisfaction that comes with discussing “white privilege” or a smattering of issues that impact next to no one (like the use of affirmative action at a handful of elite colleges). But that’s not true of the public at large.

As I wrote in January, there’s actually polling about this. Midterm surveys by the African American Research Collaborative found that the issues African American voters in battleground districts cared most about was the economy and health care. healthcare

One thought on “Black voters care mostly about the economy and health care, not esoteric upper-class conversations about race and gender

  1. David

    This misses a certain point however, that universal economic/social policy is not sufficient to remediate the ground conditions giving rise to the need for “conversations about race and gender”, and that these conversations provide vital input needed to optimize the policy.

    The point above that Sanders discussed race and gender without explicitly mentioning them, through advocating reforms to issues that have a racial or gender component – there’s a flipside to that. Namely, discussing race and gender explicitly does not mean neglecting policy narrow or broad that will contribute to the general welfare.

    Stick them both sides in your pipe and smoke it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s