Why Sanders Got Twice as Much Applause as Clinton When He Spoke to La Raza
Elizabeth talking about the Inside Game (start at 14:30), and playing it quite well as well. As you watch, look for the layers; notice what she's doing (at 20:50 for example) from her own insider position.
by Gaius Publius
It's conventional wisdom at this point that Sanders has the "white liberal" vote in his pocket, or at least the subset of "liberals" who are in the so-called Warren wing of the party. That, according to Nate Silver, could even get him wins in Iowa and New Hampshire.
But what about the rest of the races? Silver (and almost everyone else) says he'll need the black and Latino communities to win.
So let's start here, with Sanders speaking to La Raza (my emphasis throughout):
Why Bernie Sanders Got Twice as Much Applause as Hillary Clinton When He Spoke to La RazaA few of those excerpts (read the rest at the link):
Sanders connects at the Latino civil rights group's big convention.
On Monday [July 13], three Democratic presidential candidates—Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Martin O’Malley—gave half-hour speeches at the National Council of La Raza’s annual convention in Kansas City.
While Clinton spoke with familiarity to an audience she’s long known, it was Sanders whose speech was the most riveting, drawing twice as many applause interruptions as Clinton's.
Sanders' speech to the nation's largest Latino civil rights organization was notable because he confronted the "stain of racism," his father’s immigrant experience and his impoverished upbringing, and he went into greater detail than Clinton about what federal government could and should do to create more dignity and economic security for individuals and families.
Many pundits have written that Sanders has a problem addressing audiences of color, because he comes from nearly all-white Vermont. But Sanders’ La Raza speech shows that he can deeply connect with Latino audiences. What follows is a transcript of excerpts from his remarks that prompted 45 applauses and a concluding standing ovation.
These are tough times for our country. And it is absolutely essential that we involve more people in the political process, that we provide a voice for those people who have no voice, for those people who are in the shadows, and that we engage in serious debate on serious issues—and that is exactly what La Raza has been doing and will do. (applause)And:
I want to focus on three issues. I want to talk about the stain of racism in this country. I want to talk about the need for real immigration reform. (applause) And I want to talk about economic policies that address the grotesque levels of income and wealth inequality in America (applause) and the need to create an economy that works for all of us and not just a handful of billionaires. (applause)And:
America becomes a greater nation, a stronger nation, when we stand together as one people and in a very loud and clear voice, we say no to all forms of racism and bigotry. (applause)And about his own immigrant past:
I know something about immigration, because my dad came to this country from Poland at the age of 17 without a nickel in his pocket, without much of an education, and without knowing the English language. Like immigrants before and since, he worked hard to give his family a better life in the United States. He never made much money. We lived in a three-and-a-half-room rent-controlled apartment in Brooklyn, New York. But he worked hard. My mom worked hard. And they were able to create a situation where their two kids went to college. (applause)He's not talking like a man who's "stuck on economics," and I think you'll find he'll find his voice on justice issues as well. And yes, it's true that without undocumented workers, "it is likely that our agricultural system would collapse." And the big (Republican) growers know it.
When we talk about the Latino community, and in fact, when we talk about America, one critical piece that must be talked about is the need for comprehensive immigration reform. (applause)
Let us be frank. Today’s undocumented workers play an extraordinarily important role in our economy. Without these folks, it is likely that our agricultural system would collapse. (applause)
If Sanders Is So Good with these Crowds, Why Is Clinton Ahead?
It's true that Sanders is "winning the crowds," both in size (the "packing the house" factor) and in their enthusiasm. And it's also true that Clinton has had a huge lead for a while and much greater name recognition. We could point to other factors as well.
But one writer at Vox has an interesting addition. Bernie's a better campaigner, but Clinton is a better "insider." Jonathan Allen, who addresses the Netroots Nation event as well to make his main point:
The 2015 Netroots Nation conference was a disaster for Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. But it was a win for Hillary Clinton.That's not a denigration of Clinton. Playing to win means playing the inside game as well as the outside game. In the outside game, Sanders has the decided edge. Can he use that edge to force changes to the inside game?
Interrupted by #BlackLivesMatter activists, Sanders began talking about his record on civil rights issues over the last 50 years. It was awkward enough that he was later mocked mercilessly on Twitter with the hashtag #BernieSoBlack. O'Malley got in hot water, too, when he responded to the #BlackLivesMatter folks by saying "all lives matter." He apologized for it Sunday.
That's because Sanders and O'Malley are rookies.
Neither candidate has run a presidential campaign before. This is Clinton's fourth, counting the two she was engaged in when her husband sought and won the presidency. One of the ways she's shown her savvy as an inside player is to avoid the common pitfalls that take out lesser candidates. Trying to win an argument at Netroots Nation is one of them. Clinton remembers her appearance in 2007, when she was booed by the liberal, Obama-leaning crowd for saying that not all lobbyists are the scum of the earth.
So she skipped Netroots Nation and watched the ensuing controversy. Two days later, in a Facebook Q&A session, Clinton gave a carefully constructed response to a query about #BlackLivesMatter.
"Black lives matter. Everyone in this country should stand firmly behind that," Clinton said. "We need to acknowledge some hard truths about race and justice in this country, and one of those hard truths is that racial inequality is not merely a symptom of economic inequality. Black people across America still experience racism every day."
Those were the words activists were looking for.
The reason Clinton didn't fall prey to the Netroots Nation trap is the same reason that she has lined up a majority of Democratic voters, nearly half of the Democratic members of Congress, economists and education experts who can hardly stand each other, and major identity constituencies within the party: She knows how to play the inside game.
This is something people often forget after watching Hillary Clinton's uninspiring appearances on the stump: She's not a great campaigner, but she's a damn good candidate.
I've often said that "Warren wing" progressives needed a place to "park a vote" in 2016 — not just an opportunity to answer opinion polls — if neo-liberal-enabling Democrats were to be forced to take notice and bend to the "Piketty" forces within their own party. Otherwise, frankly, they'll risk defeat, since those forces are growing. You can buy all the electoral media love you want, but you have to still get the votes to get into office. For me, that's the lesson of 1968 as it applies to today. With the vote comes power, if votes can be leveraged.
Can Sanders harness actual votes to topple the reigning favorite? We'll see. To do that, though, he'll need more than just a couple of wins in Iowa and New Hampshire. After those contests (early February) come South Carolina, Nevada and the March 1 Super Tuesday vote (calendar here).