FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Racial Divide Between Sanders and Trump

As I sat in the San Diego sunshine yesterday listening to Bernie Sanders outside of Qualcomm Stadium, I was struck by the stunning contrast between the senator and Donald Trump, particularly on the issue of race.

Sanders emphasized racial justice, citing the courage of African Americans and their allies who fought against racism and bigotry during Jim Crow. He talked of the thousands of undocumented workers who are ruthlessly exploited, overworked and underpaid, vowing to end the current deportation policies. Sanders seeks to “unite, not divide families.” And he wants to “fundamentally change” the federal government’s oppressive relationship with the Native American community.

There are more people in U.S. prisons than in any other country in the world, Sanders noted. Those imprisoned, he said, are disproportionately African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans. The senator wants to invest in “jobs and education, not jails and incarceration.”

Sanders was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He served as president of the Congress of Racial Equality at the University of Chicago, organizing pickets and sit-ins, which led to his 1963 arrest for “resisting arrest.”

When Dr. Cornel West, author of the book Race Matters, introduced Sanders, he said the senator stands on the shoulders of Martin Luther King Jr., Edward Said and Cesar Chavez. Said, a professor at Columbia University, was a path-breaking Palestinian-American activist scholar, who decried the “dehumanization of Palestinians to the level of beasts virtually without sentience or motive.”

The overwhelming popularity of Sanders prompted the Democratic National Committee to invite him to nominate several members to the platform committee for the Democratic Convention. Much to the consternation of Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ choices included Dr. West, Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Keith Ellison, and Arab-American Institute president James Zogby, all staunch supporters of Palestinian rights.

Sanders called out Donald Trump for his bigotry, saying, “In the year 2016, the American people will not accept a bigoted president.” He added, “We are not going back. We will not accept a candidate that insults Latinos, Muslims, women, veterans and African Americans.” Sanders reminded us that Trump was a leader of the birther movement, whose aim was to delegitimize Barack Obama as president because he is black.

Trump has a nasty habit of attacking people based on their race. His most recent assault was on Gonzalo Curiel, a well-respected federal judge in San Diego, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed by people claiming they were scammed by Trump University. When Curiel ordered the unsealing of documents in the case, Trump mounted a double-barrel assault on the judge, stating that Curiel had “an absolute conflict” that should disqualify him from the case. Trump’s reasons: “He is a Mexican.” Trump said, “I’m building a wall. It’s an inherent conflict of interest.” Curiel is a U.S. citizen born to Mexican immigrant parents. Trump also maintains that a Muslim judge might treat him unfairly because the latter has advocated the temporary exclusion of most foreign Muslims from entering the United States. But federal courts have roundly rejected the claim that the ethnicity of a judge disqualifies him or her from hearing a case.

Trump has also vowed to deport 11 million undocumented workers from the United States.

The overt racism of the presumptive Republican presidential candidate is causing hand-wringing in GOP circles. Republican strategist Brian Walsh characterized Trump’s comments as “racist, nonsensical” and “the definition of racism.”

Veteran GOP operative Rick Wilson is also alarmed at Trump’s racism, noting that [the Republican Party] “own[s] the racial animus that started out as a bug, became a feature and is now the defining characteristic of his campaign.” Wilson said that Trump’s comments about Curiel and Muslim judges are “overtly racist.”

Trump’s racism is also evident in his pandering to people based on their race. He recently pointed out a black man in the crowd, declaring, “Oh, look at my African American over here – look at him.”

Sanders has cited Trump’s demagoguery, which, the former thinks, is a reaction to fear and anger that many people feel, leading them to embrace scapegoating.

“Don’t go to the dark side,” Sanders implores. He advocates building a strong, progressive movement. “Real change,” he told us yesterday, “has never taken place from the top on down, only from the bottom up.”

More articles by:

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She writes, speaks and does media about human rights and U.S. foreign policy. Her most recent book is “Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.” Visit her website at http://marjoriecohn.com/ and follow her on Twitter at @marjoriecohn.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 25, 2019
Rannie Amiri
Instigators of a Persian Gulf Crisis
Patrick Cockburn
Trump May Already be in Too Deep to Avoid War With Iran
Paul Tritschler
Hopeful Things
John Feffer
Deep Fakes: Will AI Swing the 2020 Election?
Binoy Kampmark
Bill Clinton in Kosovo
Kenneth Surin
Brief Impressions of the Japanese Conjuncture
Edward Hunt
Is Mexico Winding Down or Winding up the Drug War?
Manuel E. Yepe
Trump’s Return to Full-Spectrum Dominance
Steve Kelly
Greed and Politics Should Not Drive Forest Policy
Stephen Carpa
Protecting the Great Burn
Colin Todhunter
‘Modified’: A Film About GMOs and the Corruption of the Food Supply for Profit
Martin Billheimer
The Gothic and the Idea of a ‘Real Elite’
Elliot Sperber
Send ICE to Hanford
June 24, 2019
Jim Kavanagh
Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back
Nino Pagliccia
Sorting Out Reality From Fiction About Venezuela
Jeff Sher
Pickin’ and Choosin’ the Winners and Losers of Climate Change
Howard Lisnoff
“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”
Robert Fisk
The West’s Disgraceful Silence on the Death of Morsi
Dean Baker
The Old Japan Disaster Horror Story
David Mattson
The Gallatin Forest Partnership and the Tyranny of Ego
George Wuerthner
How Mountain Bikes Threaten Wilderness
Christopher Ketcham
The Journalist as Hemorrhoid
Manuel E. Yepe
Yankee Worship of Bombings and Endless Wars
Mel Gurtov
Iran—Who and Where is The Threat?
Wim Laven
Revisiting Morality in the Age of Dishonesty
Thomas Knapp
Facebook’s Libra Isn’t a “Cryptocurrency”
Weekend Edition
June 21, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Brett Wilkins
A Brief History of US Concentration Camps
Rob Urie
Race, Identity and the Political Economy of Hate
Rev. William Alberts
America’s Respectable War Criminals
Paul Street
“So Happy”: The Trump “Boom,” the Nation’s Despair, and the Decline of Joe Biden
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Ask Your Local Death Squad
Dr. Vandana Shiva
Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food
Eric Draitser
The Art of Trade War: Is Trump Winning His Trade War against China?
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s Russian Problem
Jonathan Cook
Forget Trump’s Deal of the Century: Israel Was Always on Course to Annexation
Andrew Levine
The Biden Question
Stanley L. Cohen
From Tel Aviv to Tallahassee
Robert Hunziker
Permafrost Collapses 70 Years Early
Kenn Orphan
Normalizing Atrocity
Ajamu Baraka
No Dare Call It Austerity
Ron Jacobs
The Redemptive Essence of History
David Rosen
Is Socialism Possible in America?
Dave Lindorff
The US as Rogue Nation Number 1
Joseph Natoli
The Mad King in His Time
David Thorstad
Why I’m Skipping Stonewall 50
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail