It looks like Bernie Sanders learned something from his recent run-in with #BlackLivesMatter in Seattle because he’s now taking great pains to reach out to black voters.

Vanessa Williams of the Washington Post:

Bernie Sanders looks to broaden his appeal in South Carolina

Bernie Sanders fired up a lively crowd of supporters Friday as he began a campaign swing through this early primary state that seven years ago helped to boost the candidacy of another senator who many thought couldn’t beat the odds of winning the presidency.

Sanders even made reference to President Obama’s historic election in 2008 as evidence that the country “has in fact made real progress of overcoming our legacy of historical racism … But the bad news is racism still remains a much too real part of American life.”

The reference to Obama and the acknowledgement of the need to continue working to vanquish racism was applauded by the predominantly white crowd, which was far smaller than the throngs that turned out for a series of Sanders events on the West coast, but no less enthusiastic. The campaign said between 2,600 and 2,800 people attended the event at the TD Convention Center. Greenville is close to the North Carolina border and several people in the crowd had driven in from the Tar Heel State.

Sanders, a self described socialist democrat, has struggled to attract black supporters and twice young activists from the Black Lives Matter movement have disrupted his campaign appearances.

The Associated Press video below is from Sanders’ event in South Carolina. Take note of how Sanders rails angrily about the high unemployment rate for black youth without blaming the current administration:

Associated Press writer Bill Barrow notes that despite Bernie’s new outreach program, most of the progressive fans showing up to hear him speak are still white:

Sanders gets raucous, but mostly white welcome in South Carolina as he works for black support

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders sought to broaden his appeal with black voters Friday in speeches denouncing “institutional racism” in the American political and economic system.

The Vermont senator addressed an overwhelmingly white crowd in the Republican stronghold of Greenville, South Carolina, as he made his case that “racism still remains a much too real part of American life.” He’s expected to meet privately with black leaders while in the state.

“There is no one who will fight harder not only to end institutional racism, but to make fundamental changes in our broken criminal justice system,” he said, drawing roars from the crowd of almost 3,000.

He struck a similar chord Friday evening in front of another 2,000-plus people in the capital city of Columbia. That crowd was younger than in Greenville, but no more racially diverse.

Featured image via YouTube.


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