Tuesday, February 23, 2016

“Socialist Jew?!?” Are you sure we’re in the correct political party gathering?

It’s scary to think that our presidential election cycle this year is now beginning to bear resemblance to one of the uglier aspects of the 2008 cycle – the fact that some people are prepared to back Hillary Clinton solely because she’s white!

CLINTON: Race all that matters to some
Remember how after a few primaries in the 2008 election cycle, Barack Obama had built up a lead and some momentum? Yet the reality is he didn’t actually clinch the Democratic Party’s nomination until the very end when all the primaries and caucuses were complete.

THAT’S BECAUSE THINGS reached a stalemate of sorts about half-way through the process. Many of those states who came up later in the election cycle and usually are irrelevant (because the nomination has been all but clinched by then) were suddenly very relevant.

And many voters in those states, realizing that their political party could wind up nominating a black man (I don’t want to hear from those who will argue that Obama technically is bi-racial with a white mother), suddenly started giving Hillary Clinton a second look.

She started winning more votes. She slowed the process by which Obama ultimately was nominated. There was the sense that some people who want to use the label of Democrat and think of themselves in progressive terms just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black man.

Are we going to see something similar happen in this election cycle?

ADMITTEDLY, CLINTON’S OPPONENT this time around isn’t a black man. But as a precinct captain in Clark County, Nev., told a gathering of would-be voters prior to the weekend’s caucuses, the reason not to vote for Bernie Sanders is because he’s a “socialist Jew.”

OBAMA: He won, despite issue
As in, he ain’t a real person, which is defined by some as being white, and possibly even Protestant (although others think they’re being big and generous by including Catholics).

Could it be that such a sentiment could spread to other states – including our very own Illinois where our primaries are scheduled for three weeks from Tuesday? Could this wind up influencing the political party whose members like to think they’re above such thought?

It has me remembering a person who speculated to me about a month ago who said the only chance Donald Trump truly has to become president is if the Democrats nominate the senator from Vermont because this country isn’t ready to accept someone who does not think of the label of “socialist” as something to renounce

UNLIKE SANDERS, WHO in his Senate service has wound up being part of the Democratic caucus only because otherwise he’d be all alone if he tried to have a Socialist caucus within Congress.

WASHINGTON: Experienced similar reaction
Is this going to be the reason many people will wind up convincing themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president? So that they don’t have to learn to make the distinction between Socialism and Communism?

I accept that the kind of people who these days identify themselves as Republicans aren’t the least bit interested in making that distinction, or really understanding what socialism is.

Which is why I would expect the idea of attacks based on Sanders being a “socialist Jew” to step up once the primary cycle is over and we have to start seeing the Democratic and Republican nominees take each other on.

THERE IS ONE positive aspect to this issue – the Jewish Week newspaper reported on the incident in Nevada, and said that the caucus-goers actually voted to stop the precinct captain in question from speaking the moment he uttered his Sanders attack.

SANDERS: An educational moment for society
It seems some people were appalled enough by the utterance (or perhaps scared by what it represents about themselves) that they put a stop to it. Yet let’s not forget that Clinton won those Nevada caucuses – which supposedly put a halt to any electoral momentum Sanders might be gaining.

This kind of reminds me of the Chicago mayoral elections of the 1980s when Harold Washington was on the ballot and could never seem to gain as many votes in white parts of Chicago as he might sense he’d get on the campaign trail. He said he suspected many white voters said the right things, but then walked into the voter booth and just couldn’t bring themselves to vote for a black face.

Is the thought of a president wearing a yarmulke going to create the same resistance? We’ll have to see just how much hostility we still have in our 21st Century society.


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