“I’m not dismissive,” Sanders told Meet the Press in late July. A week earlier “Black Lives Matter” activists interrupted a town hall forum featuring Sanders and fellow presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley. “I’ve been involved in the civil rights movement all of my life, and I believe that we have to deal with this issue of institutional racism.”
Sanders’ is struggling to reach Black and Latino voters. His somewhat terse response to protesters at the Netroots Nation gathering in Phoenix didn’t help win many converts. Hillary Clinton, anxiously eyeing Sanders looming in her rear view mirror quickly seized the initiative before an audience of 400 at the Brookland Baptist Church in West Columbia, South Carolina that the US needs to confront a history of systemic racism.
“I think we first have to acknowledge and believe that black lives matter. This is not just a slogan, this should be a guiding principle,” she told the crowd(http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/23/politics/hillary-clinton-black-lives-matter/index.html).
The incident illustrates how the campaign, at least on the Left has evolved into predominantly domestic social and economic issues. With a world more integrated than any other time in history, and amid a slew of growing international issues, keeping the election about domestic issues alone seems unlikely. That is the reality every sitting president faces on a day to day basis, a full menu of domestic and international issues.
The Right is weak on domestic issues. Perennial meddling in social welfare programs, failure to hold banks accountable, the loss of manufacturing jobs and so-called trickle-down economics have all help reverse gains made against poverty. While those issues are paramount to the nation the insinuation of international affairs into national politics cannot be over-stated. The nation and the Bush administration discovered that painfully on September 11, 2001, in which focus on domestic issues blinded officials to looming threats overseas.
At the top of that list are a number of critical events. Earlier that summer the Chinese economy, was rocked as the stock market appeared to be in freefall, driven in part by a steep slide in commodity prices, a negative for an export economy. That has a ripple effect around the world. It also predicts all manner of internal ramifications for China, who has little or no experience in dealing with this sort of free market calamity. A one day loss in the Chinese market cost US investors an estimated $60 billion. Then there are global climate concerns, Iran post nuclear deal, Russia and Ukraine, the war in Yemen and the widening conflict with ISIS. The ISIS issue took an ominous turn at the end of July.
Looking back it seemed inevitable that Turkey would be drawn into the fight against ISIS in neighboring Syria. NATO member Turkey, who has struggled with the Kurdish PKK for decades stood by in as ISIS besieged the predominantly Kurdish Syrian border town of Kobani. The US, banned from undertaking airstrikes from Turkish bases, attacked ISIS in support of the Kurds. Reports persisted that Turkey was playing a duplicitous game attempting to appease the ISIS threat on its borders. Turkey was earlier accused of purchasing black market oil from ISIS and in paying ransoms for kidnapped Turks. ISIS drew a large share of its wealth from such schemes. On July 20th all of that changed.
That day an ISIS linked suicide bomber killed 32 and wounded 104 during a press conference in the Turkish border town of Suruc (pronounced Shur-ooch). Turkey responded quickly with large scale counter-terrorism operations against ISIS. Seizing an opportunity Turkey also attacked Kurdish targets and arrested a large number of Kurds.
The event is significant since the necessity of Kurds in the region as the primary bulwark against ISIS has given Kurdish dreams of a homeland greater legitimacy. The Kurds ostensibly would drawn their greater Kurdistan across regions of Northern Iraq, Syria and Eastern Turkey. Complicating the issue, Turkey struck at ISIS targets in Syria and Kurdish forces battling ISIS in northern Iraq. NATO was quick to support Turkey, condemning terrorism in Turkey and cautioning on a proportional response by Turkey against Kurdish separatists. That sets up a potentially dangerous and unpredictable situation on the ground in the war against ISIS, which the US and coalition partners have struggled to contain in the region. It is likely the next president will step into office dealing with a conflict more chaotic and problematic than ever.
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail Bernie Sanders drew 4500 enthusiastic supporters in Kenner Louisiana, near New Orleans, eclipsing the 1000 Republican governor Bobby Jindal drew in his home state. Mitt Romney took Louisiana in 2012 with 58% to Obama’s 40%, although Obama took 80% of the vote in New Orleans. That speech was very much about domestic issues, which is what many on the Left are demanding to hear, but at some point it will prove necessary to understand how Clinton and Sanders stand on key international issues.
The key is whether or not anyone will hear Sander’s positions, given the lack of Press coverage. It begs the question that if tens of thousands of trees cheer in the forest and CNN and FOX refuse to cover them, do they actually make a sound? That remains to be seen.
Listen Saturday’s from 11am-1pm to WC Turck, Brian Murray and guests on Chicago’s real alternative media, AM1680, Q4 radio, streaming at www.que4.org.
WC Turck is an author, artist, playwright and talk radio host in Chicago. He has been called the most dangerous voice on the Left. His new book “A Tragic Fate: is an unflinching look at the events leading up to the shooting down of Malaysia Air Flight 17.” His first novel, “Broken” was recommended by NAMI for its treatment of PTSD. In 2006 he published “Everything for Love,” a memoir of his experiences during the siege of Sarajevo. He wrote and produced two critically acclaimed plays, “Occupy my Heart” and “The People’s Republic of Edward Snowden.” He works with the homeless and foreclosure victims in Chicago. He partners in a weekly radio show dedicated to issues, society and politics with cohost, activist and artist Brian Murray For more information, past shows, videos and articles, visit www.revolutioandbeer.com