Bernie Sanders and the “Blame-Games” of Racism and Abortion

Jonathan Culbreath
6 min readJan 17, 2020

In a recent interview with the editorial board of The New York Times, Senator Bernie Sanders made some salient observations about the causes of institutional racism in the United States. As might be expected, Sanders explains the phenomenon of racism with reference to the socioeconomic crises that currently afflict the country and form the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. Prompted by a question from Brent Staples, referring to Donald Trump’s racism, Sanders claims that the socioeconomic ills of our time — or of any time — lead those with an agenda to play “the blame game.” Minorities wind up taking all the blame for the manifold ills which afflict the country, while all the while the true causes go unacknowledged.

Here is the excerpt:

Brent Staples: I think it’s — how about the fact that Trump has touched a chord in 40 to 44 percent of the people? I mean, what about that issue is that Trump is a symptom of a widespread problem. I mean, how do you address that? The problem exists whether Trump is president or not is what I’m saying.

I wish I could give you a great answer, brilliant answer to that. But this is what I will tell you, because that’s, you’re right. What is the issue? How did Trump become president? O.K. And I think it speaks to something that I talk about a lot and that is the fact that the — not everybody, but tens and tens of millions of Americans feel that the political establishment, Republican and Democrat, have failed them. Maybe The New York Times has failed them, too.

BStaples: That explains the appeal of racism?

Yeah. O.K. What you have is that people are, in many cases in this country, working longer hours for low wages. You are aware of the fact that in an unprecedented way life expectancy has actually gone down in America because of diseases of despair. People have lost hope and they are drinking. They’re doing drugs. They’re committing suicide. O.K. They are worried about their kids. I have been to southern West Virginia where the level of hopelessness is very, very high. And when that condition arises, whether it was the 1930s in Germany, then people are susceptible to the blame game.

To say that it is the undocumented people in this country who are the cause of…

Jonathan Culbreath

I write about Philosophy, Politics, Economics, Culture, and Religion.