The White Privilege Of ‘Bernie Or Bust’ Puts Minority Lives At Risk Of Living In A Trump Presidency

After Hillary Clinton accepted the Democratic Party nomination for president, civil rights activist Cornel West immediately threw his support behind Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

“We need change — that’s why I’m supporting Jill Stein.”

Before his endorsement of Stein, West supported and endorsed socialist and independent candidate Bernie Sanders — but in the end, the moderate and conservative liberals won the fight for the soul of the party. Well, sort of. After all, the Democratic platform is the most progressive since President Roosevelt’s New Deal.

From my perspective, the left-leaning progressives won the soul of the Democratic Party, even without Sanders as the party’s candidate. As a Democrat who voted for Sanders in the primary, I see this as a victory and upswing for the direction of the party and country. Progressives won the $15.00 minimum wage hike policy. We got Clinton to give up supporting TPP. There continues to be policy incorporated on the left that protects the LGBT community. There’s less intervention in our foreign policy. Progressives won the Hyde Amendment fight, to have it abstracted from law. As a pro-life Democrat, I do not agree with this, but it’s a victory for progressives no less.

However, by the reactionary responses during the DNC convention, one wouldn’t believe progressives rule the policy agenda of the Democratic party. It was one boo after another from the “Bernie or Bust” crowd. They even booed Bernie Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren for endorsing Hillary Clinton. To which I ask, “What did they think Sanders and Warren were going to do? Add to the contention in the party?” They’re politicians, not activists. Again, I digress.

Progressives, or rather, the “Bernie or Bust” crowd, is really on my last nerve. To this day, they continue to gripe that Hillary Clinton is our candidate. Even in light of some DNC employees plotting ways to discredit the political revolution and Bernie Sanders — still, Hillary Clinton won fair and square. Clinton received five million more votes than Sanders.

Look, I’m all for political rebellion against a warped and corrupt establishment, and I respect Cornel West tremendously and uphold the values of the Constitution of “one man, one vote.” However, with Trump winning the Republican party nomination, I cannot for the life of me understand why West, a black man, is risking Trump winning over Hillary Clinton. Could it be that Mr. West has drunk too much “Bernie or Bust” Kool-Aid? I believe he has.

I somewhat get the attraction to Jill Stein’s candidacy, but let’s get real — she is jumping on the Sanders bandwagon. She didn’t earn progressives’ votes like Sanders did. Let’s also acknowledge the dangers of voting for Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton. It will ensure Donald Trump becomes President.

Trump cannot become president.

Trump is an egotistical, sexist, oligarchical, racist, Islamophobic maniac whom should never have the honor, glory, or privilege of being the United States’ next president. Hillary Clinton isn’t perfect, but she isn’t Trump. Unlike Trump, Clinton isn’t a racist, sexist, or Islamophobe. Unlike Trump, Clinton has decades of public service behind her belt. Clinton fights for America’s future — even as she’s enriched herself along the way (which isn’t a crime, but the outcome of living in a capitalist society).

Clinton, unlike Trump, spent years fighting for universal healthcare. She won the battle to ensure children had access to adequate healthcare. And whether you support the Bill Clinton’s crime bill or not, know that Clinton’s intention was to clean the streets, in particular, black communities, from drugs and gangs. That’s commendable, even if the system found a way to incorporate systematic racism to it — which Clinton admits the policy became corrupted and is in need of reform.

Clinton, unlike Trump, speaks to minority communities, and she understands the issues they face. While Trump was in a war-of-words battle with Khizr Khan and Mrs. Khan, a Muslim couple who lost their son in the Iraq War. ABC News reported Clinton commended the Khan family for their bravery to speak out against bigotry towards Muslims.

“I was very moved to see Ghazala Khan stand bravely and with dignity in support of her son on Thursday night. And I was very moved to hear her speak last night, bravely and with dignity, about her son’s life and the ultimate sacrifice he made for his country.”

To this day, as the New Daily News writes, Trump and his camp are merciless in spreading vicious lies against the Gold Star family.

In light of all the negative remarks said by Trump about Muslims, Mexicans, women, and blacks — in addition to, his support of Putin, and desire to use nuclear weapons — the “Bernie or Bust” movement thrives. This movement is living in a bubble like Cornel West. What is clear, there is a division between privileged activists on the left (mostly white Democrats) and blacks and other minority Democrats.

Issac J. Bailey of Politico writes about the apparent division that idles in the left’s political revolution.

“… Just what revolution are they talking about? And for whom?”

Bailey, like me, notices the racial makeup or rather racial disparity of the “Bernie or Bust” congregation.

“A look at the Sanders rooting section, or a Green Party rally, is a striking picture: They are every bit as white as the typical Trump rally.”

In the Politico article, Bailey expresses concern, a concern that I carry too, about the lack of empathy and reality from the “Bernie or Bust” movement that could further endanger the lives of minorities — minority lives progressives long have championed.

“Black people’s absence raises an important—and uncomfortable question for the uber-progressives who see themselves at the heart of Sanders’ movement, which continues to march on. If you look at who’s really on the bottom of the American economic hierarchy, you realize that any genuine revolution is going to have to be a campaign to lift up people of color. This isn’t just a critique of the Sanders movement for not being diverse enough (though that’s a problem, too). The absence of black and brown people is a genuine impediment to their movement. It’s black Americans, not would-be white revolutionaries, who’ve led a successful movement to claim power and rights in this country. And it’s black people who are going to be the beneficiaries. If they’re missing—which they are—it suggests both that the movement is getting something wrong, and isn’t long for the political world.”

Sebastian, a delegate, spoke with Vox, and he too, is concerned about the outcome of the election if the “Bernie or Bust” folks don’t come around and accept the stark reality we face as a nation with Trump just a heartbeat away from securing the White House possibly.

“If Donald Trump wins, he’s more likely to appoint judges who oppose Black Lives Matter and criminal justice reform, and who think that police officers — who can kill black people without being charged — already don’t have enough power. That means if my kids get shot, the officers who did it would become less likely to be charged,” he says. “This isn’t theory for us. It’s reality.”

In my opinion, it’s time for Cornel West to remember he’s a black man living in America and for white progressives to get with the program. A Trump presidency will likely have no impact on white folks lives, but for minorities, well, we don’t have the luxury of being “Bernie or Bust” supporters. Our lives are in peril this election cycle.

[Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]