First, in this post, I suggest that when talking politics “white” sometimes literally means people of European descent, but other times means what I dubbed the “Red Tribe”, very loosely corresponding to Republican voters, but also with connotations of southern, poor, uneducated, religious, and exaggeratedly patriotic. This seems to be one of those second times. Even if Donald Trump had 100% support from all minorities, he would still be “the white people candidate”, or even, as some people have called him, “the white power candidate”. Likewise, even if 100% of Sanders’ supporters were white and no black or Hispanic person had ever had the tiniest positive thought about him, we would never get the same kind of “is Bernie Sanders a demagogue harnessing white voters?” story that Trump inspires every day. Sanders supporters aren’t white! They have degrees from Ivy League colleges! They’re the good guys!
Second, in this post, I argue against the theory that groups with few black members are necessarily racist or exclusive (frequently seen as “Silicon Valley is problematic because of how few black techies there are”). I note that black people are severely underrepresented in groups as diverse as runners, BDSM participants, atheists, fanfiction readers, Unitarian Universalists, furries, and bird watchers. They’re also underrepresented in movements with apparently impeccable leftist and anti-racist credentials, like Occupy Wall Street and the US Communist Party. Given the frequency with which the “your group has few minorities, that means you’re racist and need to become more explicitly leftist in order to shrieve yourself” argument gets used to punch down at nonconformist or “weird” groups, there can never be too many counterexamples. And Bernie Sanders’ campaign is such a counterexample. It fits poorly with the “low nonwhite representation is caused by insufficiently strong social justice orientation” theory, but very well with the counter-theory I propose in that post: nonwhites are just generally less eager to join weird intellectual signaling-laden countercultural movements.
I take immense schadenfreude in imagining the people who like to write thinkpieces that “call out” polyamory or atheism for their insufficient minority representation, fidgeting and sweating and trying to justify their support for Sanders.