Breakfast with Bernie

Mere hours after Senator Bernie Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire Democratic primary, the old fellow sat down for a celebratory breakfast. The meal itself was no surprise — a man his age needs to keep his alimentary tract on a pretty regular schedule. But his dining companion was a bit of a shocker. Joining the world’s oldest living communist at Sylvia’s Restaurant in Harlem was frequent White House guest and purported “Reverend,” Al Sharpton.

Sanders made a special trip to get his grub on in a state in which he has absolutely no chance of winning. To the untrained eye, Sanders’s Harlem handshake with the mastermind behind the Freddy’s Fashion Mart arson-and-murder might seem as sensible as — say — pitching the bona fides of a doddering septuagenarian socialist on Tinder. But there’s a method to Bernie’s madness.

Sanders is riding a bit of a wave, coming off resounding victories in both New Hampshire and Iowa. But the road ahead would be daunting to even a young man. His next stop is the semi-forgettable Nevada caucus, in which he may have a fighting chance. And then, the potential bellwether in South Carolina will toll on the 27th. Three weeks is a long time for a senior citizen to keep up the momentum; a veritable eternity in a contested primary. Hillary currently holds polling margins wide enough for their own pantsuits. Even if the polls even up, Bernie is still likely to wind up on the business end of the S.C. primary. Add to that the fact that the Democratic powers-that-be have rigged the game for Madame Clinton — she left New Hampshire with 15 delegates to Sanders’s 13 despite a 22-point Sanders win — and Bernie should probably mark up a concession speech for about lunchtime on Super Tuesday.

Even if you’ve convinced yourself that Sanders’s motives are pure, Sharpton doesn’t get out of bed without an angle. And that means he and Bernie were doing more than just sampling Sylvia’s world-famous food. For Sharpton, the payoff is obvious: a nod from Bernie puts him back in the public eye after his washout at MSNBC. Moreover, it gives Sharpton credibility as a major league player; credibility which has taken a major hit since his issues with the tax man became common knowledge.

No matter what the two men discussed, neither would have made the time unless the other had something worthwhile to offer. Even if Sharpton was seeking a pass on the nearly $6 million he owes the rest of us, he would need to have something other than hair-styling tips. And what could a guy like Sharpton possibly have to offer a guy like Sanders?

Perhaps Sanders thinks Sharpton can work some kind of racist magic in the Palmetto State. The Democratic Party’s demographic skews heavily African-American, a demographic Sanders has had trouble denting. The only way Sanders can recover before Hillary buries him alive on Super Tuesday would be to dig out some of her dominance in the black community. And he apparently thinks Sharpton can help him swing the hammer and sickle against Hillary’s “Southern strategy.”

So Sanders, supposedly the most “progressive” candidate to challenge for the Democrats’ nomination in ages, made a hole in his schedule for New York’s top race pimp Sharpton on the assumption that Sharpton can “deliver” the black voters of South Carolina. If that’s not marginalizing an entire racial subgroup, then I need to update my Webster’s.

Of course, the competition is playing their own pc games. Madeline Albright claims “there’s a special place in hell” for women who turn their backs on Hillary. Gloria Steinem even intimated Sanders’s younger female supporters are whores. “When you’re young, you’re thinking ‘where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie.” Both remarks would have earned the pair a parasol upside the head from Susan B. Anthony.

The suffragette sisters didn’t risk it all just to have their descendants reduce a woman’s value to their “lady parts.” And it ought to go without saying that Al Sharpton is not the designated spokesman for black people. And yet, that’s precisely the message from both the Sanders and Clinton camps. They don’t just patronize women and minorities, they treat them with pure contempt; as either are foregone conclusions or brainless sheep.

 –Ben Crystal

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