Momentum has shifted in Bernie Sanders’ favor, with landslide victories this weekend in Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Record-setting attendance at campaign rallies was followed by high voter turnouts, and Mr. Sanders won by huge margins in five out of the last six states to vote—with Hillary Clinton’s Arizona’s victory marred by blatant voter suppression in the state’s most populous county.
One of the biggest obstacles Mr. Sanders’ campaign has had to overcome—especially with a victory in Hawaii—is the slanderous narrative that his supporters are all white and predominantly male. Just a week ago, as Ms. Clinton swept five states, her supporters attacked anyone daring to proclaim, “Bernie or Bust,” maintaining she is the champion of race issues—despite failing to make reforms to fight racism in America.
Hawaii‘s population of white voters is a mere 26.7 percent, yet Mr. Sanders crushed Ms. Clinton in the state. He also won big in every county in Alaska, including a neighborhood in Anchorage CNN called “the most diverse census tract in all of America.” In Michigan, Mr. Sanders won big in America’s largest Arab community.
“A number of media commentators wondered why the first viable Jewish contender for the presidency would be winning support from Arab and Muslim Americans,” wrote Zaid Jilani for The Intercept. “The answer appears to be simple. Sanders won Dearborn the same way any candidate wins any constituency: by listening to its members and responding to their concerns.” This is something Ms. Clinton has severely lacked during her presidential campaign.
Instead of being empathetic to the concerns of minorities, Ms. Clinton has shown nothing but abrasiveness. When she was confronted by an African American protester during an elite $500-per-plate fundraiser, Ms. Clinton yelled at the girl and had her removed by security. Clinton supporters booed the protester for asking Ms. Clinton to clarify overtly racist remarks she made about super-predators in support of a 1994 crime bill. The bill, signed into law by President Bill Clinton, was disastrous—increasing the rate of mass incarceration for minorities in the 1990s. Shortly after the confrontation, a young Somalian girl approached Ms. Clinton in Minnesota, and she again refused to listen—abrasively responding that the girl should run for office herself.
The narrative that Mr. Sanders’ campaign lacks diversity is not only erroneous, but ignores the voices of minorities who support him. His campaign has relied on grassroots organizing—historically led by African Americans—and his speeches have rendered unprecedented attendance at political rallies. The anti-diversity smear has inspired many of his supporters identifying as African American, Latino, and other diverse demographics to respond with the hashtag #BernieMadeMeWhite.
After he lost five out of five states on March 15, Mr. Sanders’ supporters remained steadfast and loyal in their support of his campaign, helping him win five out of the next six states. Mr. Sanders has now won fourteen states so far—many by wide margins—and is taking on the Establishment. Although an uphill battle lies ahead, Bernie Sanders’ supporters have carried his historic and unprecedented campaign closer presidency than anyone believed to be possible.