Monday, April 4, 2016

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Soundbites

I was going to make my annual Opening Day predictions about the upcoming baseball season this morning--but then I saw a picture posted by one of the reporters covering the Presidential candidates in Wisconsin this weekend.  It was of the turnout at a Bernie Sanders town hall meeting with African-American leaders in Milwaukee:

To say that a "couple dozen people" turned out for the event would be generous. The picture shows what has been a continuing concern among Sanders supporters--his inability to draw support among minority voters.

To the average Sanders supporter the appeal seems natural.  Bernie promises free college tuition, $15 an hour minimum wage, legalized marijuana use, not locking up drug dealers, free health care and a multitude of other government programs and subsidies.  In their minds, what is there not for African-Americans to like about that platform?

I would like to think that African-Americans want to be more than just "wards of the state".  That they want more from life than to have the Government hand them everything they need.  That they would like the same opportunity to earn things that people of other races can go out and get on their own.  That they don't want their "career" to be the minimum wage jobs only available in their neighborhoods--even if that is a "living wage".

I would also think that minorities have to be a bit insulted by the demands of middle class white kids for free college tuition or academics and celebrities demanding free health care for themselves when they have the means and the opportunity to pay for those things already.  And what good is the offer of a free college education to a community that sees 50% of its kids fail to graduate high school?  And maybe they don't want legal pot use or to have the guys selling drugs in their neighborhoods returned sooner--or not removed at all.

Of course, African-Americans in Milwaukee don't need Bernie Sanders to turn their lives around.  They have Mayor Tom Barrett--a lifelong Democrat--building a streetcar line!  It will never travel into their neighborhoods--but it will bring the upscale, white people attending the Bernie Sanders rallies to downtown Milwaukee!  And with them will come jobs that African-Americans without college educations will not be qualified for--and increased rents on what decent housing is available as those new-age Yuppies look for the "cool new area" of Milwaukee.

In the meantime, the African-Americans of the inner cities will provide luke-warm support to Hillary Clinton--whose husband signed the laws that put so many of their men in prison for years, and whose husband signed the trade deals that sent the manufacturing jobs so common to our cities for decades to other countries.  Hardly a win-win situation for those folks.

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