Daily Archives: March 12, 2016

Bernie and the black vote

Here’s something I don’t write very often: Chuck Todd, NBC’s intellectual manifestation of the Beltway mindset, offered a real insight on the Democratic primary race.

On the night of March 8, during MSNBC’s coverage of the Mississippi and Michigan primaries, he noted that this would be an entirely different campaign if Bernie Sanders were simply holding his own among black voters.

It’s true. It’s damn true, as Kurt Angle would say. The number-one reason Hillary Clinton has a substantial lead among pledged delegates, and in total votes cast, is her overwhelming support from African-Americans. In Southern states, she’s drawing 80 percent or more of the black vote. In Michigan, she drew a “disappointing” 68 percent — still holding a better than two-to-one margin over Sanders.

That’s the single biggest handicap to Bernie’s candidacy. Bigger than the mainstream media coverage or lack thereof; bigger than the superdelegate system; bigger even than the occasional sniping of Your Obedient Servant.

This problem goes back to the very beginning, before the mainstream media even began to underplay Bernie’s chances or “anoint” Hillary. It goes back to sometime before that first confrontation with Black Lives Matter, when a couple of black activists usurped the microphone at a Bernie rally. That event was a symptom of a pre-existing ailment.

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“Lock ‘em Up” Lauzon

The mayor of Barre is not known for keeping a cool head. Thom Lauzon once tossed the city manager’s cellphone across the room when it rang during a City Council meeting. Then there was the time a guy in a Santa suit threw a pie in then-Gov. Jim Douglas’ face; Lauzon ran him down and engaged in fisticuffs with the perp.

Oh, and he once chased down a hit-and-run driver, stepping in front of the vehicle to get the driver to stop. Guess how the driver reacted? Fortunately, Lauzon received only minor injuries on that one.

He has, to be fair, done a lot of good stuff as well. He is truly passionate about his city, beyond his own self-interest as an investor in downtown real estate. Although he’s a conservative Republican, he hasn’t shied away from using government resources whenever possible to help pull the city out of its decades-long funk. And he’s made substantial progress. It’s just that his passion sometimes gets a little unhinged.

Now, he seems to be channeling the ghost of Nancy Reagan. VTDigger’s Mark Johnson:

Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon laid down the hammer on opiate dealers Thursday, saying anyone caught selling should receive an automatic 50-year jail sentence.

… Lauzon said he supports treatment programs and wants to see them expanded even further. But he said a greater deterrence is needed to stop people from selling, which he said would cut the supply.

…Lauzon said his proposal would apply to any amount sold, even small amounts. The only exception, he said, should be if an addict requests treatment, is turned away and then sells to maintain his habit.

Let’s pause for a moment and understand a couple of things. Lauzon loves his city. He has seen the effects of the drug trade. Barre is also weighed down by the fact that a fair number of parolees and ex-inmates end up living there — and sometimes re-offending.

Fair enough. But a fifty-year automatic sentence for selling any amount of drugs?

Batshit crazy.

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