Pandering in South Carolina and Beyond

If it even needs to be said, Democrats don’t have a monopoly on pandering. It’s part of the DNA of all sorts of politicians. But when it comes to matters involving race, Democrats are in a class by themselves.

Republicans won’t speak hard truths about race in America out of fear. Democrats won’t speak hard truths out of a deeply held concern for their own self-preservation.

Republicans are afraid they’ll be called racists if they talk about the kind of behavior that leads to poverty – dropping out of school, committing crimes, having babies when you’re a child yourself.

Democrats desperately need black votes to win so they tell African Americans what they think they want to hear – that racism and white privilege are what’s holding them back.

If racial pandering were an Olympic sport, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders would be vying for the gold, especially with so many primaries coming up in the South where African American votes hold the key to victory.

In Columbia, South Carolina, Bernie Sanders recently said, “We have got to achieve the day when young black males and women can walk the streets without being worried about being harassed by a police officer.”

Fair enough. There are some bad cops out there and they should be held accountable when they cross the line. But does Bernie Sanders really think that rogue cops are a bigger problem in black neighborhoods than black thugs?   Does he think that the many good, decent black people who live in those communities worry more about bad cops with guns than they worry about fatherless young black men with guns?

And then there’s Hillary, who says that, “We have to begin by facing up to the reality of systemic racism. For many white Americans it’s tempting to believe that bigotry is largely behind us. Race still plays a significant role in determining who gets ahead in America and who gets left behind.”

Is there racism in America in 2016? Unfortunately, yes, some still exists. In a country of more than 300 million people, it would be nothing less than a miracle if it didn’t exist to some extent. Is it systemic? Does it permeate all our institutions? Does it run through the very bloodstream of America? No.

But here again, a Democrat seeking black votes figures she’s better off talking about systemic racism than systemic dysfunctional behavior in the poorer parts of black and white America.

Neither Clinton nor Sanders will tell black voters that a 72 percent out of wedlock birth rate in black America is a prescription for hard times. Neither will they tell black voters that the federal government – or even the most powerful person in the world, the President of the United States — can’t do much to stop 15-year old girls from having sex with irresponsible men and having babies who statistically are likely to grow up in poverty.

Instead they talk about white privilege; a philosophy (of sorts) that says the deck is stacked against black people. But, as the always thoughtful columnist Dennis Prager points out, “If you are raised by a father and mother, you enter adulthood with more privileges than anyone else in American society, irrespective of race, ethnicity or sex. That’s why the poverty rate among two-parent black families is only 7 percent. Compare that to a 22 percent poverty rate among whites in single-parent homes. Obviously, the two-parent home is the decisive privilege.”

I’m not suggesting that Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders don’t care about the well being of black people in this country. I’m sure they do, as do all people of good faith. But keeping people  in a perpetual state of grievance doesn’t help anybody – except the liberal white politicians who are doing the pandering.

So every chance they get they deliver a simple message: Vote for me and I’ll make life better for you.

Pandering might work in politics. But it’s a lousy solution to real problems that desperately need to be fixed.