In what now has become a familiar motif
Nothing is good enough
For people like you
Who have to have someone take the fall
And something to sabotage
Determined to lose it all
Ladies and gentlemen,
Here’s exhibit A…
For all his political virtues, Sanders has had difficulty connecting his message of economic populism to the other major social justice concerns of the modern left, such race, gender, and sexuality. And unless he overcomes these problems, he will be unable to achieve his goal of expanding beyond his base and sparking a popular mass movement.
His treatment of the reparations issue, on the other hand, is a political cock-up of the first order. Bernie’s first mistake was his failure to engage the reparations issue in any depth. He dismissed reparations as “divisive” and impractical (“its likelihood of getting through Congress is nil”). Though opposing reparations is a defensible position, discussing the issue in such thoughtless and insensitive way is distasteful.
However, politics is not only about walking the walk, it’s also about talking the talk. Unfortunately, when it comes to race and gender issues, Bernie sometimes sounds like who he is: an occasionally clueless 74-year old white guy (witness his language about paid leave as a program that would allow “mothers”—as opposed to parents—to stay home with their kids).
Sanders’s Achilles heel is that because he focuses so singlemindedly on economic inequality, he is not always able to speak to the needs and desires of the modern left, a left that is passionate not only about economic injustice but also about injustices tied to race, gender, and sexual identity and orientation. Today the left urgently needs leaders who are fully comfortable with and fluent in the politics of intersectionality…