As the Democratic primary process has progressed, upstart candidate Bernie Sanders has been making slow, steady progress in attracting non-white voters, but that progress may have just come to an abrupt end.
One piece of the Samsonite showroom worth of baggage that Hillary Clinton had to shed with Obama coalition voters, and particularly black voters, was this comment by Bill Clinton on the day of the South Carolina primary in 2008:
The suggestion that South Carolina's heavily black electorate was politically marginal could not have been clearer, and turned many voters, black, brown, and white, against the Clintons for a good stretch.
At a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Monday, actor Tim Robbins, ex-husband of fellow Bernie or Buster Susan Sarandon, went Bubba one better by disrespecting those same voters, and suggesting that the Berners are just harder workers:
Who’s foolin’ who? Winning South Carolina in a Democratic primary is about as significant as winning Guam. No Democrat is gonna win in South Carolina in the general election. Why does these victories have so much significance? Who is winning independents? Not Hillary. Who is winning the young vote, that will do the hard work of canvassing and organizing and turning out the vote? Not Hillary.
He might not have meant it that way, but that's how this stuff works. As Hillary Clinton supporter and former South Carolina legislator Bakari Sellers pointed out, Robbins’ attack on the state’s Democratic voters is all the more vile when you consider the state’s recent past. Not being aware of that makes it worse, not better.
Robbins thinks he’s getting a raw deal, but there really is no context in which it’s okay to make any point by saying that Walter Scott and the Emanuel 9 don’t count. There just isn’t one. Robbins says he didn’t mean any disrespect to South Carolina, but now he’s retweeting people who are accusing those offended of “playing the race card.”
Despite his habit of standing by his idiot surrogates, Sanders needs to cut this one loose, especially if he thinks he's going to be the nominee. It's going to take more than white millennial hipsters to carry him over the top, and at this rate, that's all he's going to get.