This past week I’ve been seeing a lot of articles about the Democrats who are jumping in the ring for the 2020 Presidential primaries. I’m glad that a lot of the candidates are younger than 70. I have one thing that I hope for in a Democratic candidate: can that person bridge the divide between the working class whites who support Trump and the minority communities that feel threatened by Trump? I deeply worry about the racial divisions in this country that threaten America’s social fabric.
I have two models from history that I look to: Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 run and Jesse Jackson’s 1988 run. Both Kennedy and Jackson reached out to both working class whites and minority communities to try to heal some of the divisions in this country.
In 1968, Kennedy went to the Appalachians to reach out to struggling white communities who were seeing their mining jobs slowly disappear. RFK went to inner city ghettos to reach out to poor black communities. He went to Native American reservations to witness the poverty in Native American communities. Kennedy appeared with striking Mexican American and Filipino American farmworkers to show his support to their cause.
In 1988 Jesse Jackson held picket signs to show his support of striking blue collar workers. Jackson went to poor white farming communities to show his support of struggling farmers who were facing farm foreclosures. He went to inner city minority communities to help black and hispanic communities struggling with drugs and poverty. Jackson went to AIDS clinics to show his support of AIDS patients at a time of rampant homophobia and when they were being shunned.
One of the important functions of liberals in history (from Eleanor Roosevelt to the Kennedys to Jesse Jackson to Paul Wellstone) has been to bridge the divides between working class white and minority communities. That is one of the reasons I am a liberal Democrat.
Here is a video of Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 campaign
Here is a video of Jesse Jackson’s 1988 campaign