Hillary Clinton may have won the Nevada Democratic Caucus on Saturday, but one of the true tests of her and rival Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaigns will come in the next few weeks when voters head to the polls for “Super Tuesday.” Especially in the American South, where the party is well represented among African-America voters. Hence why both candidates were courting Rev. Al Sharpton’s favor a week and a half ago, and why Sanders supporter Cornel West attacked Clinton during Monday’s episode of CNN’s New Day.
West — a prominent public intellectual, activist and philosopher at Princeton University — has supported Sanders’ campaign since August, so his surrogacy for the Vermont senator on CNN should come as no surprise. Nor should his comments, by which he compared Clinton to the infamous Milli Vanilli, the late ’80s musical duo whose 1989 Grammy Award for Best New Artist was revoked following the revelation that pseudo singers Robert Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan never actually sang on the album.
“Sister Hillary Clinton is the Milli Vanilli of American politics,” West told New Day host Chris Cuomo. “She lip-syncs, she gives lip service. But when it comes to policy, who supported the crime bill? Who supported, not just the deregulating of banks, but also pulled the rug from under welfare?”
West’s charge came after Cuomo asked whether or not it was fair to criticize Sanders for his record’s apparent lack of involvement in political affairs pertaining to the African-American community. “The presumption from the Clinton campaign is… about what has been done,” he said. “While Bernie Sanders says the right things, he’s had a lot of years in the Senate [and] he has not done things for the African community the way Hillary Clinton has.”
In response, West offered Sanders’ involvement in the 1988 presidential campaign of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, stating that the senator was “one of the two white public officials who supported” him. He even went so far as to suggest that now-74-year-old politician was the reason Jackson won the Vermont primary that same year. He also offered prepared examples of Clinton’s racially charged language in the early ’90s — calling black youths “super predators” in a speech on urban crime.