Shades of gray


I was surprised to notice a few weeks ago that a lot of black people on Twitter really hate Bernie Sanders. Turns out they resent him leading the charge against trusting Obama with fast-track authority. This is a big problem, since black Democrats make up the bulk of our base:

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is climbing in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, and he has drawn thousands of people to rallies for his presidential campaign recently in Denver and Minneapolis. But the shooting last week in Charleston, S.C., has highlighted a daunting obstacle he faces in the Democratic primary contest: Black voters have shown little interest in him.

Even his own campaign advisers acknowledge that Mr. Sanders is virtually unknown to many African-Americans, an enormously important Democratic constituency.

Though he led sit-ins as a civil rights activist in the 1960s, helped the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr. pull off a surprising campaign victory in Vermont in 1988, and espouses liberal policy ideas broadly popular with many Democrats, Mr. Sanders has had little direct experience with black voters as a politician in a state that is 95 percent white. And they have been largely absent from his campaign events so far.

Mr. Sanders, 73, had planned to start introducing himself to larger numbers of African-Americans last Sunday at a large gathering in Charleston, but he quickly postponed the event after the church killings. The massacre also revived debate over a highly charged issue on which Mr. Sanders has a mixed record: gun control.