The black intellectual critique of Hillary Clinton - Vox

"Because [Sanders is] an upstart in terms of national-level politics, he's much more willing to bring in innovative thinkers. You can see by some of the people who have backed him that some of these are people who are leading the way when it comes to black political thought in the modern era. In thinking about mass incarceration, black wealth accumulation, political voice, things of that nature. Whereas Hillary Clinton has found a niche with more of the traditional leadership infrastructure."

The Sanders embrace of scholars like Cornel West, for example, is something of a virtuous cycle. West has been an asset for Sanders on the campaign trail — he headlined the event before the Nevada caucuses, and multiple attendees said his presence had gotten them to support Sanders. But West and the other pro-Sanders black intellectuals already shared Sanders' belief that the fundamental threat to black dignity in the US is economic inequality.

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The fact that the black intellectuals and the black establishment are two different arms of the community, and have supported two different candidates, isn't lost on the intellectuals themselves. But they resist the implication that anyone with a brain should support Sanders.

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"It's called 'vote capture,'" Whitt said at the Doolittle event. "The Republicans don't want nothing to do with us. And the Democrats take us for granted.'"

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Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have addressed these issues. Coming from Clinton, black intellectuals dismiss this as another campaign tactic to be forgotten once she has working-class whites to woo. Coming from Sanders, it's a symbol of his listening. But listening is not leading, and Sanders, on his own, can't wake up the Democratic Party to the problem of vote capture. Maybe it will take a black-led, electorally independent movement to do that.

Select passages from A deep dive into the black-bloc for Democratic party and a recommended read.