Tony Kendall

While I enjoy circular political firing squads, I hope the ones the Democrats are currently having doesn’t leave lasting scars in the minds of potential voters in 2020, the way some things did in 2016.

Among the myriad of reasons why Hillary Clintin isn’t president is that many die-hard Bernie Sanders supporters were mad at the way their candidate was treated by the leaders of the Democratic Party and stayed at home on election day.

The same was true with some urban black voters in tightly contested Midwestern states that Donald Trump barely won.

They were bothered by words Hillary used in the mid-1990s to describe young black gang members and her support for the 1994 crime bill her husband, President Bill Clinton, signed into law.

If Hillary calling black gang members, some of whom were committing awfully violent crimes, “predators” drew the ire of some young black activists, how will they react to learning that then-Sen. Joe Biden voted for the same crime bill, as did then-Vermont Rep. Bernie Sanders?

We’ve already seen how some on the progressive left have reacted to learning that in the 1970s, Biden voted against federal involvement in state and local school busing.

The disgust I still feel toward “so-called” Christians who voted for and still support President Trump pales in comparison to the feelings I’ll always have for the Sanders supporters who claimed that politically there was no difference between Hillary and Trump, or the Black Lives Matter activists who believed that conditions for black folks wouldn’t change under either candidate.

If enough of these alleged progressive voters come out of the 2020 primaries feeling that they can’t support the Democratic nominee based on positions they took on issues five, 10, 20, 30 and 40 years ago, woe be to us all who aren’t enamored with der current Leader in Chief.

My takeaway from the first Democratic debates is this: Some of the 20-plus Democrats running need to go back to their regular jobs ASAP.

If the Democratic field was an NCAA tournament contest, I’d say that the four out should be the ones who didn’t make the stages for the first debates and Marianne Williamson, Andrew Yang, Tim Ryan and the Johns — Delaney and Inslee — should be on the bubble.

While I plan to support whomever the Democratic nominee is in the 2020 general election, I’d have to hold a gun on myself and close my eyes in order to vote for any of the candidates mentioned in the previous paragraph.

It also would be difficult to support or vote for a Democratic nominee who a makes a big deal out of regaining the votes from the working class.

In political terms, the phrase working class voters means white voters, and that ticks me off.

Contrary to what some think, black and brown voters are part of the working class and too often have to work harder for less pay than our white working colleagues.

I’m also bothered by Democratic candidates and pundits who talk about getting the working class (white) vote back. It’s not happening.

The reason many of these voters turned levers or punched ballots for Trump in 2016 wasn’t the reason we were led to believe.

The reason blue-collar working-class whites in those battleground states voted for Trump, we were told, was that they had been overlooked for years and left behind by the economic recovery of the last 10 years.

Not so, according to polling data compiled by the Pew Research Group.

The overwhelming reason that most whites, regardless of the color of their collars, voted for and still support Trump is cultural, not economic.

According to Pew, 66 percent of white non-college-educated Republicans and 61 percent of white college-educated Republicans believe that the United States becoming a majority-minority country will weaken American customs and values.

Among all Americans, the numbers on that question were split 50/50.

On whether the country today pays too much attention to race, 75 percent of Republicans said yes, we do. Only 40 percent of all Americans agreed with that sentiment.

When asked if the country had done enough to give black Americans equal rights with white Americans, only one in six non-college-educated white Republicans and one in eight of those with a degree said yes, compared to nearly half of all Americans.

More than three-fourths of both college-educated and non-college-educated white Republicans agreed that “people seeing discrimination where it does not really exist” is a greater problem than “people not seeing racial discrimination where it really does exist.”

Nearly three-fifths of all Americans say the greater problem is people not seeing actual discrimination.

From the Bottom where I see things, with Trump approval ratings among Republican voters consistently above 90 percent and his continually doubling down on his racially divisive and xenophobic policies, those numbers won’t change much any time soon.



What can I say about the crisis on the border and images of men, women and children being held in cages under such inhumane conditions?

How bout this, Trump supporters: How would you feel if we were seeing images of English-speaking white people who entered the country through our eastern and northern borders being treated in this manner?

Leave it to Trump and his “celebrate America rally” to make me more disinterested in celebrating the Fourth of July.

Being a descendent of people who had little or no reason to celebrate this day, it always puzzled me why any black person would get hyped about the Fourth.

We weren’t freed that day. As a kid, the fireworks were more in anger than celebration.

The summer before entering high school, I found a way to channel my anger about the Fourth.

I came across the speech Frederick Douglass gave to those gathered at the 1852 Fourth of July celebration in Rochester, N.Y., in which he asked the question: What to the slave is the Fourth of July?

Here are a couple of my favorite portions, read it and think about what’s happening in those detention camps on our southern border as you do:

“Fellow citizens, pardon me, allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I, or those I represent, to do with your national independence?

“Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us?

“And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us? …

“What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: A day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim.

“To him, your celebration is a sham; … your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; … your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery;

“Your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to Him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy — a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.

“There is not a nation on the earth guilty of practices, more shocking and bloody, than are the people of these United States, at this very hour.”

Hi, Momma Lois.


TONY KENDALL of Hazel is a writer, teacher, actor, playwright and sports fanatic. He can be reached by email at

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