Bernie Sanders had an enormous challenge in gaining traction among black voters. Historically, blacks have not felt that they were important to many Progressive groups. The usual response from some Progressive groups is that the issue being discussed impacts the poor, blacks are poor, they will benefit from our program, The Progressive assumption is well-intentioned, but it lacks nuance. A prime example of this miscommunication is Sanders plan for free education.Influential politician James Clyburn complemented Sanders on the dedicated to poverty and unemployment
On the other hand, Clyburn had misgivings about Sanders plan for free education because Clyburn felt that program would not get through Congress. Secondly, if the plan was it into practice, it would lead to the closing of many private HBCUs. Clyburn voiced his concerns, but never got a response from Sanders campaign.
Clyburn endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.Hillary had a long term connection with Clyburn. Clyburn met Sanders in 2015. The two men talked, but Sanders never asked for an endorsement. Perhaps Sanders felt there was little hope of an endorsement. At any rate, Hillary got the endorsement.
Black legislators had no deep connection with Sanders. The idea that the members of the Black Congressional Caucus supported Hillary because they were bought off is distasteful. Sanders could have responded to Clyburn's statement about the free college plan. There is an argument that despite the private HBCU blind spot, it would still benefit a significant number of black students.
Instead, Sanders gave away an opportunity to explain his plan to the black community.