How Some Corporate Democrats Are Exploiting Race And Gender For Political Gain
- The schism within the Democratic Party rose to the surface again last week with a report that Bernie Sanders supporters are suspicious of Sen. Kamala Harris, a rising star within the party.
A Mic story highlights a decision by Harris to let former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin, now Treasury Secretary, off the hook during the financial crisis.
The defensive spin from corporate Democrats backing Harris is that white Bernie supporters are biased on both gender and race fronts. The Bernie wing didn’t like presidential candidate Hillary Clinton because she was a woman and they don’t like Harris because she is a woman and Black.
I take issue with expecting the Bernie-wing of the DNC to suddenly start supporting corporate candidates based on racial or gender variables. Instead they should continue to remain consistent, backing candidates who fit with their policy prescriptions and values.
Asked whether she would support Kamala Harris for the Democratic presidential primary in 2020, one Bernie Sanders supporter said “follow the money”:
“The Democrats will not win until they address income inequality, no matter how they dress up their next candidate,” said Nomiki Konst, who serves on the Democratic National Committee’s Unity Commission. “If that candidate is in bed with Wall Street, you may as well lay a tombstone out for the Democratic Party now. Voters are smart; they can follow the money.”
Konst’s skepticism about Harris’s alleged ties to Wall Street and insufficient commitment to populist economic issues reflect a broader trend among the residents of Bernieland. In a recent New York Times profile of Harris, another high-profile Sanders supporter, executive director of National Nurses United RoseAnn DeMoro dismissed Harris’s prospects as a progressive 2020 contender, saying, “She’s not on our radar.”“She’s one of the people the Democratic party is putting up,” DeMoro told the Times. “In terms of where the progressives live, I don’t think there’s any ‘there’ there.”
Harris opposed Mnuchin’s nomination for treasury secretary, but when she was California attorney general, Harris was criticized for essentially letting Mnuchin’s bank off the hook during the foreclosure crisis:
“In 2013, prosecutors in her office drafted a memo that claimed they had ‘uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct’ at Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank. According to the Intercept’s David Dayen, who first reported the memo, those prosecutors recommended Harris file a civil enforcement action against the bank. Instead, Harris did nothing. Later, it was revealed that Harris was the only 2016 Democratic senate candidate to receive a donation from Mnuchin.”
Most Black voters have been extremely loyal to the DNC establishment. Many Black voters are going to vote for the establishment Democratic candidate regardless of whether they are under the control and influence of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, or some other big interest groups. One way to push a more corporate candidate through is to play the race and gender cards and throw some bait to Black voters that there is a racist wing within the Democratic party, the supporters of Bernie Sanders. These same Sander supporters actually have been the most consistent advocates for the poor and in fighting corporations compromising our Democracy.
For some, if Silicon Valley buys part of the democracy from the Obama administration, no big deal. If Clinton gets a big paycheck from Goldman Sachs and wants to keep the transcripts secret from the public, no big deal. If the corporate democrats such as Donna Brazile are cheating and giving debate questions to Clinton before the game, no big deal. If the corporate democrats are cheating and manipulating the game on the inside against Bernie Sanders, no big deal. This apathy towards “swampy” political behavior on both sides of the aisle is part of the reason the country got Donald Trump as president so it would be wise for Democrats to think carefully about what type of candidates they want to run in 2020.
The same Bernie supporters who are not excited about Kamala Harris were excited about Rep. Keith Ellison and supported him for chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Minnesota Congressman Ellison has been deputy chairman of the DNC since 2017.
Is this a gender or a policy thing? Most of these Bernie supporters were supporting Ellison because of his unique policy prescriptions and values that align with theirs, not because of his race or gender.
It doesn’t matter how you dress up a corporate candidate with different flavors of race and gender. He or she is still a corporate candidate.
Bernie voters shouldn’t be expected to start supporting corporate candidates based on racial or gender variables but should continue to remain consistent and back candidates who fit with their policy prescriptions and values.
The fact is, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Deval Patrick all have corporate-friendly profiles that make progressives nervous about their loyalties to the donor class. Kamala Harris letting a former Goldman Sachs banker off the hook while committing an alleged corporate crime and then getting checks to her campaign should give anyone pause on turning into a Kamala Harris cult member who thinks anyone who doesn’t back her is automatically racist or sexist.
This ain’t a race or gender thing as much as a democracy thing.