Twilight of Identity Politics

The NY Times finally asked a good question: “Why aren’t black voters supporting the black presidential candidates?
What they discovered warms my heart. Just look at these quotes.

“I want black women in office, I do, and I love Kamala Harris and think she’s amazing, but I’m just more policy-focused,” said Amber Lowe, 29, a pastor and community activist in Atlanta. She was backing Ms. Warren.

“You need to focus on things beyond relating to me,” she said. “I want to talk about the stuff that affects me. What are you going to do for me?”
...
Aqil Shakur, a 53-year-old Atlanta-area barber, said, “If I had a Kamala Harris or a Cory Booker that sounded like Bernie Sanders, of course I would choose them, because they’re closer to my lived experience.”

“But the Kamalas and the Corys aren’t discussing the issues he’s discussing,” he added.
...While he respects the former president, he said Mr. Obama failed to deliver the disruptive change that he desired. The experience changed his political priorities.

“We heard social justice talk, but he protected Wall Street, not Main Street,” Mr. Shakur said of Mr. Obama. He’s supporting Mr. Sanders this time. “I’m not falling for that again.”

“Of course black people want to be pro-black, but I feel like their records are anti-black,” said Jesiah Osbourne, a 19-year-old political science student at Morehouse College.

“Black voters are being asked, again, to roll along so we can get along,” Ms. Peoples said, “but those days are over.”
...
“What I’m sensing is not some openness to someone new. What I’m seeing is an openness to me,” Mr. Patrick said, invoking his background as a black man who grew up on the South Side of Chicago.

He had just landed in Atlanta, and was on his way to an event at Morehouse. Three hours later it was canceled: Only two people had shown up.

The Democratic elites wanted to recreate the Obama Coalition, but there is no Obama Coalition left. It's gone.
What will they do at TOP?

Meanwhile, it's not just wealthy white liberals that are out of touch with the grassroots AA community. It's black leaders as well.

During the primary process, black leaders weighed in — on the side of the establishment candidate.

In February 2016, fairly early in the primary season, the Congressional Black Caucus’s PAC formally endorsed Clinton. Eight black caucus members have endorsed Biden this year. None are behind Warren or Sanders...Ten black caucus members have backed Harris, another candidate whose politics are best described as center-left establishment. (More on her in a bit.) And Biden and Harris are also getting the vast majority of endorsements from other high-profile black figures, such as state representatives and prominent mayors.

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Azazello's picture

Identity Politics is the last refuge of a Neoliberal.

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We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

@Azazello
And neoliberalism is being rejected all over the globe.
Which kills IDPolitics with it.

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Bollox Ref's picture

@Azazello

is tired of identity politics.'

(A Boswell footnote.)

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

Cassiodorus's picture

He's given dreadful reviews every time he goes in public, and the billionaires are deserting him, but he's still scoring high poll numbers. So who are they?

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus
"Hello Facebook, I need a list of at least 400 likely Biden AA supporters. That's right, old, don't know anything but what NBC tells them, scared of The Man, but has never been arrested or had a family member shot by the cops. $1 million? That's cheap. Do you take AmEx?"

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On to Biden since 1973

@doh1304 I imagine with all the data mining they can pretty much poll outcomes by zip code. Or.... RUSSIA!

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I’m so sick of identity politics.

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dystopian's picture

Funny how Obama is soooooo vain he still sees himself as some great coalition builder. When in reality he destroyed the Democratic Party. Lost a thousand seats under his mis-leadership, his queen of the DNC he chose had to resign in shame, and his chosen successor was told to F off. And he still needs some kind of sign. Meanwhile he waits in the shadows for the chance to pounce and beat any progressive movement like Bernie's back.

And they wonder why the next new Obama 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0 aren't taking off?????????? Obama screwed many away from the party for good. I hope he is satisfied with his con, bank, and houses, for he destroyed it for many, not the least of which is black candidates behind him. Especially if they sound like a neolib.

He woke a lot of people up to how easy it is for a con to bamboozle you. He is a pro con.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

Bollox Ref's picture

@dystopian

Jimmy Carter builds homes for others. Obama has others build a temple for him on park land.

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Gëzuar!!
from a reasonably stable genius.

dystopian's picture

@Bollox Ref I am so sickened by Obama's seizing the commons for personal grandiosity. How pompous can you be? I think 'your people' are experts on that? Smile Cutting down 500 year old oak trees for some ugly concrete monolith to his vanity. At the best migratory bird stopover on the whole south shore of Lake Michigan. Disgusting. May the seagulls that ate the bad anchovys find his house on Martha's Vinyard.

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We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.
Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
both - Albert Einstein

janis b's picture

@dystopian

your exchange with Bollox ... especially this line - "May the seagulls that ate the bad anchovys find his house on Martha's Vinyard."

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@dystopian

end his "all about me" war against the environment on the lake shore. This whole project disgusts me more than I can even express.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

@dystopian

“Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.”
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WaterLily's picture

@gjohnsit Obama, not you.

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ppnortney's picture

@gjohnsit @

Obama would speak up to stop him.

A large swathe of voters have already pegged to the fact that Obama betrayed their trust nine ways from Sunday. Speaking out against Bernie - which in essence is speaking out against the people who support Bernie because they're suffering from the elitist's decades-long war against them - may well put a final nail in the coffin of whatever remains of Obama's "legacy." Which would be karmic justice.

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The smaller the mind the greater the conceit. --Aesop

Cassiodorus's picture

@ppnortney everyone thinks he's awesome even though they all ought to know better. And if they don't think he's awesome they think he's "flawed," which is equally stupid. No, people. He's your political enemy pretending to be your friend, and he's carried this act into 2020 in hopes of guaranteeing a Trump victory.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/26/upshot/democratic-trump-voters-2020.html

I scrolled down and looked at the numbers themselves. Warren doesn't look so strong in many places. I think this one will be hard to poll also, lots of seldom voters or stay at homes skewing the numbers.

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dervish's picture

@ban nock If you are allowed to read it, then it's just another form of advertising.

2016 killed polling, permanently.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

edg's picture

I'm holding out for a left-handed 6' 5" white male aged 63 who's descended from a combination of Polish, Finish, Irish, and Seminole Indian ancestors and whose favorite things to do are computer programming, playing rock music on bass guitar, reading escapist novels, and playing with his two long-hair Chihuahuas. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if he felt exactly the way I do on every issue, was born in Detroit, and is an Army veteran. That's not much to ask for, now is it?

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Shahryar's picture

@edg

I'd hate to have that job. My perfect candidate is a potted plant. I'm not the only one!

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longtalldrink's picture

@edg "and Seminole Indian ancestors" Just wondering...do your ancestors know Liz Warren's people? Smile

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Well done is better than well said-Ben Franklin

edg's picture

@longtalldrink

All native Americans hung out together, just sitting around waiting for Europeans to invade and occupy and bring the real God to these shores.

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It's what people have in common. It's so far off from what the politicians are pushing. Resentment politics is easy, but doesn't put a roof over your head unless you're a politician. I am so glad Bloomberg and Deval Patrick are running. Two flavors of Ritchie Rich to choose from.

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mimi's picture

Around 1982 (new arrival to the US) I got in a discussion with my 'black enough black husband' about a news anchor, who was 'too white a black man' for me and a 'black enough black man' for him (my husband). He asked me: "Can't you see he is a black man?" "No", I said, "I see him as white enough to be a white man". (We both started laughing at that point) I have forgotten what the political issue was the anchor had talked about.

When Obama came along to campaign for President, the question of a black person, whose analysis I always listen to carefully - Dr. Cornel West - got me in troubles.

Dr. West - back then - asked the question: "Is Obama black enough"? Oh my, how did Cornel West confused my guts with that question. I got mental diarrhea. Was Cornel West asking a racist question?

Can't be, I thought. Dr. West tried to help voters with their potential guts' feelings to hesitate to support Obama. Obama might a presidential candidate, who was too black for a white voter and not black enough for a black voter. After all this is a reasonable assumption. I concluded that Cornell's question was a a non-racist attempt to hint that a refusal of Obama's candidacy is not a racist feeling. Tricky, tricky, Dr. West. I still am not over that question, but I do love my "dear brother Cornell" for what he says. And I am lily white and blonde. Definitely too white for supporting a black enough intellectual like Dr. West.(forgive me folks, it is just too much fun to spew out shitty snark)

I found this article: Black public intellectuals: from du bois to the present. I am a weak, fainting, pale, pearl clutching woman and have not enough stamina to read through the article right now, but I assume and hope there is something in it for you, that helps you to cure any mental diarrhea you might have over the 'blackishness issues'. (Oops, apparently the article was disappeared through the last hour or so. Sigh).

(For that matter I always was somewhat glad to not be allowed to vote in the US as a legal permanent resident green card holder, because I hate making decisions between two not-evil enough, but still not too-good enough options).

What about this question?

"Why are not all women supporting their female candidates?"

It leads me back to remember my feelings towards Hillary Clinton.
Why didn't I trust HER? And since when did I have these guts' feelings about HER?

Ah, you know, like always, there are the little nuggets of outbreaks of the candidate's feelings that might have the most impact on voters to make up their mind. Young Hillary Clinton sitting aside from her 'igitt=ugh', but highly talented, white enough, but wanna-be a little blackisher, husband'. She told the world that she won't sit back silently and bake cookies. I couldn't help thinking, but that's exactly what you do, sitting aside him, and try to profit from him. Who cares about the damn cookies anyway? Damned I was.I know, you know the video clip by heart by now. So, do I need to post it? I hope not.

(OT. BTW, It reminded me, that I was the one, who always made the coffee for my too black husband, and it took me some time to realize that actually he could make the coffee for me too, some day, right? Equal justice for the working woman, seufz. So... at least my coffee was blacker and more tasty than what he could ever have cooked up...)

So, now we have three (oops I forgot one, no even two, sorry) women to choose from. All good things are three (oops four, oops five, sorry Amy and Marianne)

Warren, Harris, Gabbard.. So little time to think, but enough time to have guts's feelings for a too white voter like me.

Warren: For me she is too fuzzy running around being too white, and then black enough and not having a clear home base to work from. She is nice, but still not convincing or trust-worthy enough to really stand up for me, a 'white stockholme syndrome afflicted female black folks supporter'. (damn be my English)

Harris: She wants to signal that her melanine makes her black enough, but not black enough to be considered a traitor for the white voter? Then she needs to hide her smirky smiles and inner arrogance. Harris is a too white a candidate in black clothing. My guts' feeling just give me another mental diarrhea. I need some medication, doctor. Help me, I don't want to be a racially-challenged voter. And I don't want to be mean, either.

Gabbard: Ha, people say she is a woman of color (but not that other color which is just too much of a color) and that's the reason they would vote for her. I rubbed my eyes again. Is Tulsi black or is she white? I ask that in all seriousness of a silly person. "None of the above", folks say, she has something like Asian or some sort of watery-colored slightly beige-brown anchestors.

Who cares about Tulsi's melanine? My guts are tellng me she has a fighting spirit. And I like that. It's kind of a relief that people never know, if folks with a mish-mash asian-indian melanine level are too black or too white or may be too 'non-transparent' colorwise. Grey is my favorite 'non-colored and non-transparent' color now.

(You remember the story of too evil to be a black enough do gooder, Idi Amin? How he used the not white enough and not black enough people of India? I mean those people in Uganda, who were from India and Indians with portuguese descent. He played and sold them out against white folks and the black folks of African peasants, you know those farming in 'shithole countries'. Yeah, he managed to oppress, kill, threaten and upset them all. End of story. Never look back, it's something you wouldn't be happy to have witnessed in person).

Now, I have to admit, as I said above already, I like the grey people, like me. I trust the Old White Haired man, because he was consistant in his fights for social justice during his life-time. Like Tulsi, he is a fighter. He has white enough hair and she has black enough hair, but her strain of grey is just too graciously delicate to not be mentioned. So all my colored desires are met within the two of them. 'Black lives matter'? Of course, who didn't know that? Was it necessary to point that out to the old man? I never felt it would have been necessary. But you know, may be being safe than better sorry is the motto.

Say something.

I got grey hair too by now, and the only question lingering in my mind writing this comment is:

Was I racist enough to please you? If not, consider me a not good-enough German.

Nothing for Ungood.
Peace.

I have to cook me a coffee now. My lazy butt husband is dead and he wouldn't have cooked me one anyhow. That's life.

Do you love life like I do?

Love this place for letting me talk my mind. Thanks to JtC and Joe, no matter how much the C99p-ers may dislike my 'not-being-nice enough'. Smile

This wanted to come out.

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mimi

@mimi I don't ever think of her as "black", but I am nonplussed when she's describes as a "person of color". Her mother is white. Her father is "of Samoan, American, and European descent". Is this one of those "one drop and you's black" scenarios? In any case, I DON'T CARE.

And neither should anyone else.

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gulfgal98's picture

@tle Tulsi is 1/4 Samoan with her grandmother on her father's side being Samoan. According to Tulsi, when her father was young, he was not allowed to drink from a whites only water fountain. Tulsi has also stated that she is very opposed to identity politics.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

gulfgal98's picture

@gulfgal98 has played the race card as a factor in her downfall. In reality, race had nothing to do with Harris' decline in the polls, but rather her record and lackluster performances in the debates appear to be the main reasons for her decline.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

edg's picture

@mimi

Great comment. I love the way you poke fun at yourself and everyone else. I needed a good laugh today and you gave it to me. Danke!

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mimi's picture

@edg
Wink
at least there are two of us who can smile together. Thanks for the kind words.

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mimi

Centaurea's picture

@mimi

I was born 8 years after WWII ended. When I was a little girl, people in the US were still talking a lot about the war. I heard about this guy named Adolf Hitler, and on the TV I saw old films of people saying "Heil Hitler". For a while, I thought there were two of them, the Hitler brothers, Adolf and Heil.

Then I got a bit older and read some more and learned what heil means in the German language.

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"Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep ... Don't go back to sleep."
~Rumi

"If you want revolution, be it."
~Caitlin Johnstone

mimi's picture

@Centaurea @lotlizard, @edg, @gjohnsit @joe shikspack @lookout
(edited some minor grammar or spelling errors)
...we (my family) watched one of the first film/documentary (questionable if it was a real fact based documentary or not) about a captured (German) soldier fleeing from a Russian POW camp in Siberia after wwII (the film was broadcasted in 1959) to the West in direction 'home' , ie Germany. These were the times you still had black and white TV in Germany, and TV was still a new and exiting thing. The title (in German) was: "So weit die Füße tragen", which means in English round about "As far as your feet can carry you". You can watch it here.

It was the first movie that left a huge impression on me as a kid.

(I remember that as a five year old I saw my first movie ever, ie 'Bambi' (Walt Disney) and that ironically in the territory of what became the former East Germany, where some extended family members of my father's father generation happened to be stuck after wwII. We crossed the territory of former East Germany as kids and later as students several times and visited East German family members.)

I also remember some in my mother's parent generation. One happened to work in the most racist bureaucracy during the the Third Reich, the "Rasseamt der SS für Hygiene".

For more about that 'office of 'German-style public health hygiene' of that time period, this link may get you an idea: In the Name of Public Health — Nazi Racial Hygiene.

How he (my grandfather) ended up in that establishement can only be explained by his poverty caused in his 'job' in Germany's wwI military as simple soldier. He was poor and more poor and all that was left for him was to become a soldier during wwI.(must ring a bell to many Americans, or not?)

When his own son in the 1930ies became Hitler supporter at age 16, he was devastated and tried to 'bring his son to his senses'. But he failed. That guy (my uncle) was also my godfather later on. He was nice to the kids, though, but otherwise - in my mind - an unbelievable stubborn idiot with regards to social and racial politics. (Once having a racist mind set - always a racist mindset - I have witnessed that too often, it's just a question how much you are scared to admit it to yourself and the others and how you talk about your thoughts and feelings openly).

Strangely he, (my grandfather on the mother side) was the one in my mothers family, who opposed privately the Nazi regime and Hitler (he quarrelled with his wife about it), but not to the degree that he would sacrifice his job to feed his then five living kids. They were poor had it not been for his job at the Rasseamt.

His wife sleepwalked through that time and was scared, when her kids 'asked questions' of why their 'Jewish classmates disappeared' all of the sudden. The kids were told to not talk about it and be silent. That was how scared the folks were to confront realities, so they rather 'didn't' talk about it. Parents who wanted to protect their children ... sigh.

So, yes it is possible to work in a racist bureaucratic governmental office and not being a racist yourself. Usually people can't believe that. (Like people can't imagine a black African working for the IMF, must be as bad as the politics promoted by the IMF with regards to African countries. I understand it's hard, but those, who make these judgements, also can't imagine how humiliating an experience it is).

Here comes to mind my experience I had, when I visited my son, then a little airman of the US Air Force, while he was stationed in Seoul (Korea) around 2004. I was pretty bored, but talked to an elderly Korean woman, who complained intensely about the humiliation of having been a 'comfort women for the Japanese in WWII. It was the first time I heard about that and was perplexed how deep their memories and resentments still were. So, yes, people don't forget what has touched or pained their feelings personally. And as a listener you just wonder what you haven't known or considered in your own mind before.

I remember too, that a classmate of my father, who became my godfather when I was born in 1948, had himself a father, who was a medical doctor and who was 'part of the medical community dealing with racial hygiene'. When his son, my godfather and my father's classmate, Dr, Widukind Lenz understood what his father was involved with, he became a quite famous geneticist hiself in his own life, who tried in fact 'to make up for his father's sins'.

Too long a story to explain here, but enough material out there to explain it. He found out the relationship to the severe physical deformities caused in embryos by the 'sleeping pills Thalidomide'. (The Contergan Story) This article and Dr. Almut Lenz, his wife, talk about it. (I met auntie Almut in her late age of around at least 85 years again)...

Oder erfüllte er eine Art "lebensgeschichtlicher Auftrag", wie Luhman meint? Widukind Lenz ist der Sohn von Fritz Lenz, einem der führenden Rassenhygieniker und Eugeniker im Dritten Reich. Er wird wie sein Vater Humangenetiker, meidet aber politische Ideologien. Luhmann: "Für mich ist sein Verhalten ganz klar eine Wiedergutmachung, und zwar genau an der richtigen Stelle.(English translation = He becomes a human geneticist like his father, but avoids political ideologies. Luhmann: "For me, his behavior is clearly a compensation, right in the right place."

To make things worse, Dr. Lenz' kid, a highly intelligent son, who I played with, when the son was around eight years old, later killed himself, leaving a letter to his parents behind, saying he can't bear 'the evil in the world's mankind'. So, it never stops haunting us. I am 71 years old now, the kid could have lived to his mid sixties by now. But he didn't. Because of his 'grandfather's sins'.

I remember - at the age of around fourteen - reading all books from our local library about holocaust survivors' biographies. My mother was the only one, who realized what I was reading. And she was a bit concerned, but said nothing. I read these books in bed at night. They left an long-lasting impression on me as a teenager. I never discussed what I read, because I knew my father would start crying.

At age 19 to 20 I was confronted with racial animosity towards a black man, whom I happened to have met and dated. I read a lot about Germans in wwI and colonialism and discovered that my date's father, probably born around the 1890ies in German-colonialized and occupied Cameroon, was working as what we would call a 'medic aid' to a German medical doctor in Cameroon around the 1910 or so. There was only one photo of his father, taken before my date/later husband was born (ie the photo was taken around the 1940ies. My husband lost his father at age 12 due to probably Alzheimers and nobody knows more about him.)

That made me think about people like Idi Amin, Mugabe, Paul Biya a bit more in my life.

(I even still remember Paul Biya's predecessor Ahmadou AHIDJO

- both Presidents were there for life ... I try to get rid of my minds' confusions. I am still confused though just a little less I guess ...(if just the Presidents were as good as their music it were less painful to think about all of it) - I am sorry to not find a video clip in English for this.

So, that's the reason why I more often have allergic reactions when folks on blogs or other places talk 'about race, nazis and neo-liberalism' too fast. I am kind of tired of the issues.

Considering how many times I talk here about people who were scared to 'say something', I just put it here to suggest, that you all 'SAY somthimg' if you have something you want to talk about and don't be upset or pained or irked, if others can't understand you.

Peace.

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mimi

Maybe it's of those privilege things I keep hearing about but I was never under the illusion that electing someone who looked like me was going to make things better for people like me because of their looks. It's no doubt true for the greedheads and their symbiotes but for the ready of us not so much. How long do you think it'll be before the media symbiotes stop peddling such nonsense?

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edg's picture

@MinuteMan

Until the 5th of Never. We've got two parties of identity politics. Repubs play on anxiety and fear of the other color (no brothers from another mother in that party). And Dems play on inclusiveness and compassion for the downtrodden rainbow-hued peoples of the world (so long as they vote early and often for Democrats).

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I had a problem with an NYT article in the same vein (I can't find it now, and I dont remember if it was this or another article).

They interviewed a black CA voter who said something like 'I like Harris, but I dont think people in Iowa will vote for an African American'. I found this troubling, since if not for IA Hillary would have been the nominee over Obama in 2008 - CA voted for Hillary even after Obama had all but won in 2008. Its not one isolated person, as NYT and much of big media keeps repeating that people outside NY/CA wont vote for assorted minorities, when the reality has been the exact opposite in recent D primaries.

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black voters in inner city Milwaukee who just didn't vote. They were interviewed and many of these voters said that they were big time disappointed in Obama and thought Hillary was just more of the same. And, of course, they couldn't vote for Trump so they just stayed home. Isn't it interesting that the first "black President" was the one who pushed black voters away from the Dem party?

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

snoopydawg's picture

It's a yes or no question, Liz. But there you have it. Warren on record saying that she is Native American. Sorry if this has been posted before, but I haven't seen it.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.