Sanders in Michigan

One summer, I was one of four white college boys working as summer interns for the Corps of Engineers in Maryland. Most of our coworkers were white folk, but one engineer was Asian and one secretary was African-American. We had a very dignified lady for a boss, who treated us well. A lot of good ol’ boys from other departments would wander in with jokes or stories or just to shoot the breeze. We were taken aback when some hound dog joked about making our boss mother of the year if she’d only let him. She was an attractive woman, but they were both married, and not to each other. She would just smile, and though I was embarrassed for her, she simply knew better than to make a fuss. And I guess I did, too.

The four of us were young and eager, and glad to have jobs during stagflation, but one engineer did almost no work at all. In the morning, he would read the Post and some congressional minutes publication, and clip out the articles he liked and put them into a scrapbook. At lunchtime sometimes he and I would play Go. After lunch he dozed off. He would get very put out when the boss lady would ask what he had accomplished. He got so annoyed that he showed her by transferring out, and used to sing, “there’ll be some changes made,” during his last two weeks. The guy next to him read the Sports page in the morning, but seemed to work the rest of the day.

One secretary, or Clerk/Typist, was pretty, younger than us, and already married. She was a good worker, but one day she went with us to the Ale House for lunch. She got tipsy, started laughing, then started crying in the car – a Pacer, sheesh – that she’d be fired for being drunk at work. We formed a scrum around her to get her back to her desk, and it all worked out. The other secretary was a middle-aged black woman. She was always very calm, and once was when I was worrying about getting something done, she told me don’t work too hard today, or you might not have something to do tomorrow. She was dead serious. I couldn’t grok that then.

One day we young guys were all talking about the election. Despite being shot in 1972, George Wallace was once again in the Democratic race. He had been born again, and had disavowed his segregationist past, but was still against busing. We didn’t think he had a chance, but the black secretary piped up to say she was voting for Wallace. Four jaws almost hit the vinyl asbestos tile. We couldn’t believe that any black person would vote for Wallace, but she said she knew all about him, and said what she knew she could expect from him was better than what she could expect from people she didn’t know.

Update 20160308:

Governor George Wallace ran for President as a Democrat in 1964, and made some noise in the primary.

He was a third party candidate in 1968. He was a very strong factor among North and South white working class voters for a while, but eventually mostly hurt Humphrey in the South. He didn’t get many non-white votes because they voted Democrat.

He renounced segregation before entering the 1972 Democratic race, and was doing very well, and may have been a power broker but was shot and paralyzed by a man seeking fame.

In the summer of 1975, we all knew Wallace was going to run for President as a Democrat again. My secretary friend may well have heard of Wallace’s born-again status at her church. She may have been aware that Jerry Brown was the young governor of California, but I doubt she thought of him as a Democratic heavyweight. She may well not have heard of Governor Jimmy Carter, who went unrecognized on What’s My Line? in 1974, and entered the primary race in 1976.

So as a loyal Democrat, (and to our astonishment) she was prepared to ignore Wallace’s past, and vote the party line. In return, she expected that he and the party would take care of her interests. But Wallace was not much of a factor in 1976, so I assume she voted for Carter, as did I. I wouldn’t have voted for Wallace, but she would have.

Doug Johnson Hatlem had an article, Bernie’s Narrow Path to Victory: a Statistical Analysis, on Counterpunch a few days ago. I posted it to Facebook, but after the almost dead heat this weekend, I think the key paragraph is here:

Michigan (March 8th), Illinois and Ohio (March 15), and Pennsylvania (April 26) may well be the deciding factor in whether Sanders can survive the lead built by Clinton with the Southern Firewall. Each of the states has a black population roughly equivalent to the U.S.’s overall black population of 12-13% and Michigan and Illinois also have Latino populations which qualify it for The Latino Gauntlet (11 of the top 20 Latino states by population that vote within a single month during the primary and caucus cycle in 2016). I am projecting that Sanders needs to win these states by an average of 15% to have a chance at the nomination.

… The Sanders campaign has bet big on Illinois and Michigan showing a different face of the African American community. We simply have no idea if a 15% average win in these states is possible as no voting has taken place in similar states yet and polling is virtually non-existent in three of the four states. …

Despite her neoliberal record, black voters know Hillary and seem to be satisfied with what they can expect from her. FiveThirtyEight has Clinton winning 60% in Michigan, but that is all based on polls. Sanders has to hope that his campaigning has given Michigan’s black voters a reason to trust him, too.


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4 responses to “Sanders in Michigan”

  1. trkingmomoe says :

    At the end of Clinton’s term there was a build up of a housing bubble here in the south. That put to work many minority groups doing the hard work. I honestly think they associate those few years as a good economy because it gave them jobs to the Clintons. The bottom fell out of the south before it reached Wall St. Big slow downs started at the beginning of Bush’s second term.

    Michigan did not have that housing boom they were in decline and that started after NAFTA. There is plenty of anger in that state and they chose to vote for Synder twice, They tried out fascism as a way to feel more secure. I don’t know what to think about that state. Sanders did spend time talking about trade treaties that gave jobs away. That is in his favor even if the AA vote is not. Latinos around here are working hard to get him elected. They dislike Clinton more then I do.

    Watching Clinton at the debate Sunday reminded me more of Margaret Thatcher. I haven’t put my finger on why.

    Sanders will stay in it for all the states and keep Clinton running left ward. He is not going to let her off the hook any time soon.


  2. trkingmomoe says :

    I had to block JM off my FB. That was the only one I blocked because I was being stalked. R was bad too but not nasty. I just took her off my feed. She would pop up once in a while. So this is the first time I have seen JM today on your post about MIchigan since the block. I have found this going on all over. The Bernie supporters have to stop posting criticism against Hillary after Mar. 15 on Daily Kos. No more Bernie Blogs. The nasty people were really bad against Bernie posts no matter how well done they were with only info on the campaign.

    Marcos has a list of words like oligarchy or stating you won’t vote for her will get you banned that was put in a blog Friday. I mostly just read the daily Bernie News Review each day there because it had lots of info the black out in the media ignored. Some of the writers started a reddit page and a Caucus99 page this weekend. Over 700 signed up by Monday on the reddit sites. DKos has usually more views per day then Fox gets each day. There is a place on the net that keeps track of the hits on a daily bases on major sites. What was posted on one of the new sites that DKos lost 61 thousand hits last weekend compared to recent past weekends. Now he is back peddling on the March 15 date.

    My point is the support for Sanders is large and the bulling is a mistake which has consequences. People must of come for a front page story with their androids and face book page but stayed for the Bernie Blogs. All that increase in traffic that Marcos used to cash in was not for the click bait on the front page or the traffic would have stayed up. Marcos appears to have insulted his readers He underestimated the size of support for Sanders and how it would hurt his clicks.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Donal says :

      Yeah, I unfriended her, but I might have to block since she took it over to dagblog.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trkingmomoe says :

        I have been staying away from dag and just dropping in to make short comments to Mr. Smith and Richard for the last few months. Too much Hillary love there. I am the “odd girl out.”

        Oh. Marcos at DKos apologized yesterday to his members that were Bernie supporters. It looks like he lost most of them or their clicks because they moved their gotv over to reddit. They are free to communicate without harassment as a sub group on reddit. They air their blogs first there and then the group suggest if it should be cross posted at DKos so millions can read it.

        I guess it shows how fast change is now moving. Marcos was going to move DKos into full Hillary support after the 15th for the general election. He is going to have to delay it until the fat lady sings.

        Liked by 1 person

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