Did dodging foreign policy doom Bernie Sanders? Reply

Predictably, foreign policy is not a major area of concern to the Left. The article by Ta-Neshi Coates linked to in this piece by Peter Feld posted below also provides evidence of a cleavage between minorities and Sanders supporters who are mostly white (the “liberal gentry” as John Derbyshire has called them).

By Peter Feld

Mondweiss.Net

For a few magic weeks, Bernie Sanders was taken seriously as a presidential candidate with a chance to win – a huge watershed for a self-avowed socialist. But after falling short (even if slightly) in Iowa and Nevada, and with no friendly states on the horizon, Sanders is back in protest candidacy territory.

Could taking on Hillary Clinton’s warlike foreign policy, which Sanders stubbornly refused to do, have changed the game?

Ta-Nehisi Coates argues that Sanders’s avoidance of racial justice issues says a lot about “how the left prioritizes its various radicalisms.” (It astounded me that a progressive would launch a presidential campaign in April 2015 without one reference to Black Lives Matter, the year’s most animating issue on the left.) The same can be said of Sanders’s refusal to seriously critique Hillary’s hawkishness, or her support for Israel.

Though Sanders opposed both Iraq invasions and has a clearly dovish record (except, of course, on Israel), his campaign is a potential setback to the movement to stop America’s repeated drift toward war in the Middle East. His success suggests that war and Palestine aren’t vital issues to the left, and that a progressive challenge can thrive while avoiding them entirely.

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