(New York Magazine)African-American support for Hillary Clinton asserted itself again in Wisconsin and accounts for her firm command of the Democratic primary. It is likewise the source of befuddlement and consternation among Bernie Sanders’s supporters. Sanders has energetically promoted racial justice and attracted numerous high-profile black surrogates, all of whom earnestly see his brand of left-wing politics as a natural fit for their community. And African-Americans form the bulwark of the Democratic base, just as white southern Evangelicals do the Republican base. But while white southern Evangelicals have relentlessly pushed their party rightward, by supporting the tea party and other conservative activist movements, African-Americans have played nearly the opposite role in the Democratic Party, helping its mainstream wing to crush its ideologically purist insurgency. From the perspective of a Sanders loyalist, the behavior is puzzling. Why would the party’s most underprivileged community exhibit the least radical tendencies?
Clinton’s dominance of the African-American vote has been explained as a residue of the long-standing ties she and her husband have built over decades on the national scene. Sanders’s failure has likewise been attributed to his decades of confinement to the flamboyantly white state of Vermont. Both factors have surely played a role. But there is a larger and more durable force behind the African-American place in the Democratic Party mainstream: a long historical tradition of highly rational electoral pragmatism.
Read the full article by Jonathan Chait New York Magazine.