Posted on November 9, 2018

Bernie Sanders Clarifies Comments About Racism Hurting Black Candidates

Scott Detrow, NPR, November 8, 2018


{snip} But Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders insists Democrats’ takeover of the House of Representatives and other key wins are a vindication of the progressive posture he’s long advocated for.

“Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum ran brilliant campaigns. Created enormous excitement at the grassroots level, and were running in states that are tough states for Democrats,” Sanders told NPR. {snip}

In an earlier interview with the Daily Beast, Sanders appeared to have placed part of the blame for Gillum and Abrams’ apparent losses on the fact that neither state had ever elected an African-American governor. “You know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American.”

Sanders’ spokesman insists those remarks were taken out of context. Speaking to NPR, Sanders said any votes Gillum or Abrams lost over their race were entirely due to what he called “racist” campaigns run by their Republican opponents.

“There’s no question that in Georgia and in Florida racism has reared its ugly head. And you have candidates who ran against Gillum and ran against Stacey Abrams who were racist and were doing everything they could to try to play whites against blacks,” he said. “And that is an outrage, and we have got to continue doing everything that we can to fight all forms of racism.”

Gillum’s campaign repeatedly pointed to what they deemed racist statements by Rep. Ron DeSantis and his supporters, a charge DeSantis vehemently denied. In a memorable moment, Gillum turned to DeSantis during a debate and said, “I’m not calling Mr. DeSantis a racist. I’m simply saying the racist believe he’s a racist.”


“Trump became president because he lost the popular vote, but he won the Electoral College in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Well, three out of four of those states elected Democratic governors, and all four of those states elected Democratic United States Senators,” Sanders said. “So I think Trump’s victories in those very important states may not be longstanding.”