I thought this would happen.
As Democrats begin to deal with the severe emotional reality of a Donald Trump presidency and a conservative Congress, they need someone to blame. They are good at that.
No doubt, many people blew this election, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic establishment chief among them, but black folk and Bernie Sanders supporters simply don’t deserve one iota of blame.
No single demographic in this country showed up bigger for Hillary than African-Americans. At least 88% of black voters supported her. That’s more than any other ethnic group in America. So when I hear people criticizing Colin Kaepernick for saying he didn’t vote for either candidate, as if that had anything whatsoever to do with the outcome of the election, I call scapegoating.
Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush looked at their choices for President and drew the same conclusion that Colin Kaepernick came to. They didn’t vote for any presidential candidates either, despite voting in other races, but little criticism came their way.
In essence, if 100% of African-Americans don’t vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, blame and criticism is assigned. It’s ridiculous.
I don’t know if any single ethnic group has ever backed one particular party as much as black folk have supported the Democratic Party in modern American history.
Black folk did their part. If a few outliers like Colin Kaepernick don’t vote or if informed black leaders like Marc Lamont Hill or Cornel West opted to vote for Jill Stein, pointing at them as the cause of Hillary’s loss is not just foolhardy, it’s insulting.
The rules applied to black folk, with universal allegiance to a particular party being expected, are simply not applied to any other groups.
I also see similar scapegoating going on with supporters of Bernie Sanders being blamed for Hillary’s loss. This is almost as ridiculous as blaming black folk.
First off, with as poorly as Bernie was treated by the Democratic establishment, it took real guts for Bernie to put his feelings aside and campaign all over the country for Hillary. The man worked his butt off, sometimes speaking several times a day, criss-crossing the nation, encouraging people to cast their votes for Hillary. From the Democratic Convention forward, Bernie Sanders did his part.
I did my part.
On June 9th, almost right after the end of the Democratic primaries, I wrote this column on how no true supporter of Bernie Sanders could ever vote for Hillary Clinton.
On July 26th, I made it publicly clear, that after a year of being a full time critic of her campaign, that I was going to cast my vote for Hillary.
On August 1st, I wrote this piece on why I thought stopping Donald Trump was a national emergency.
On September 23rd, I wrote how our nation would absolutely regret it if it did not vote against Donald Trump.
On October 21st, I went on Democracy Now and said why I would be supporting Hillary Clinton and how essential I thought it was to stop Trump. I was widely criticized by many on my statement that I believed Hillary Clinton had evolved on the issue of police brutality.
On November 6th, just two days before the election, I wrote an emergency piece on why I thought stopping Donald Trump and voting for Hillary Clinton was essential to the well-being of millions of people — including my own family.
On the morning of Election Day, I went on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show to encourage people to get out to vote for Hillary and to stop Donald Trump.
Also, I voted for Hillary Clinton.
Mind you, nobody asked me to do any of that. Clinton’s campaign never reached out to me and asked me to step up. I did that on my own because I believed it needed to be done.
Staunch Bernie Sanders supporters like Congressman Keith Ellison campaigned for her.
Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP, who campaigned his heart out for Bernie, campaigned widely for Hillary.
Even actors and actresses like Tim Robbins and Sarah Silverman, who campaigned for a year for Bernie, eventually came around and endorsed her. Silverman even spoke at the Democratic convention.
These men and women were all major voices in Bernie’s movement, but they all came around and did their part.
But, here we are anyway, with the two groups of people the Democratic Party needs to be coming to with their hat in hand, black folk and progressives, getting weird blowback for something they didn’t cause.
The Democratic Party, and many of its most dedicated supporters, are being strangely self-righteous and arrogant right now, in the moment when a little humility is certainly called for.