Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders suggested that some white voters were “uncomfortable” voting for black candidates in Tuesday's elections.
Discussing the potential losses by black gubernatorial candidates Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacey Abrams in Georgia, Sanders told The Daily Beast that race played a big factor in their race. Both candidates are still waiting for votes to be finished counting. Florida's race looks like it is headed for a recount.
“I think you know there are a lot of white folks out there who are not necessarily racist who felt uncomfortable for the first time in their lives about whether or not they wanted to vote for an African-American,” Sanders told the Daily Beast. “I think next time around, by the way, it will be a lot easier for them to do that.”
After catching heat from the left, where critics pointed out that “many would define not supporting someone based solely on race as racist,” Sanders issued a statement on Twitter.
“Let me be absolutely clear: Donald Trump, Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis ran racist campaigns” he wrote.
“They used racist rhetoric to divide people and advance agendas that would harm the majority of Americans,” he added. “We’ve got to continue doing everything that we can to fight all forms of racism.”
Sanders comment condemned by the left:
"Not necessarily racist?" asked CNN commentator Keith Boykin. "Not wanting to vote for someone because they are black is kinda the very definition of racist. Come on, Bernie Sanders."
"'Race' isn’t why Gillum and Abrams lost. Racism is," added writer Jill Filipovic. "For a guy who bills himself as a straight shooter and a true progressive, why is it so hard for Bernie say that people who 'felt uncomfortable' voting for black candidates are, by definition, racist?"
Sanders comment condemned by the right:
Just as liberals heard Sanders say that "uncomfortable" voters were not racist, all conservatives heard was Sanders suggesting they are racist.
"State that voted for Obama twice is suddenly totes racist! Sure thing, Bernie. Whatever you say," wrote former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.
"It's almost as if Bernie Sanders forgets that Barack Obama was elected. Twice," added former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh.