Quick Takes

* If anyone is having trouble understanding why Bernie Sanders is failing to connect with African American voters, they should read Jonathan Capehart. A lot of it has to do with choosing people like Cornel West (who has viciously attacked President Obama by saying things like, he “has a certain fear of free black men”) to do outreach with African Americans.

I have little patience for the “Blacker than thou” crowd under normal circumstances. So you better believe I have zero patience for it on the presidential campaign trail. That’s why I can’t possibly take Sanders’s outreach to African American voters seriously. Adding to that sense was his “when the African American community becomes familiar with my congressional record” response to a question at the Charleston, S.C., debate about his lack of black support…

Our nation’s first African American president is wildly popular among African Americans. He was elected with 95 percent of their vote in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012. His job approval rating among blacks stood at 91 percent, according to the weekly tally conducted by Gallup and completed the night of the Charleston debate.

The subtext of all this is that, if asked to chose between supporting someone who aligns themselves with President Obama and someone who aligns themselves with Cornel West, that is an easy call for a lot of African Americans.

* Just days after an article in Politico suggested that Donald Trump could win over African Americans and Latinos, the same news organization was reporting this:

Donald Trump on Friday retweeted a message from a Twitter user with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM…

The user’s profile has a black banner photo with red lettering that says “Get the f— out of my country.” The name attached to the profile is Donald Trumpovitz and the location is “Jewmerica,” with a link to a page promoting a pro-Adolf Hitler documentary.

The profile picture is the cover of the October 1961 issue “The National Police Gazette,” featuring a picture of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party, thumbing his nose, and the subhead “The Man who wants to be Hitler.”

* We often hear the case made that “elections matter” because presidents appoint Supreme Court Justices. It is also important to keep in mind that they nominate people to fill positions like Secretary of State. Those people not only have the potential to negotiate agreements about nuclear weapons and climate change, they also have the opportunity to say things like this on the world stage.

Warning that corruption fuels violent extremism, Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that the U.S. would redouble its commitment to fighting it, deeming it a national security priority.

“We have to acknowledge in all quarters of leadership that the plagues of violent extremism, greed, lust for power and sectarian exploitation often find their nourishment where governments are fragile and leaders are incompetent or dishonest,” Kerry said in a keynote address to the World Economic Forum taking place in Davos.

Just try and imagine a Republican president’s Secretary of State saying something like that. I’ll save you the trouble…it would never happen.

* On the sixth anniversary of the Citizens United ruling at the Supreme Court, Elizabeth Warren gave a speech on the Senate floor about the need to root out the influence of money in politics and Hillary Clinton wrote an op-ed on the same topic. Both are worth reading/listening to.

* Finally, today is the 43rd anniversary of Roe v Wade. Here is President Obama’s statement to mark the occasion:

Today, we mark the 43rd anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling in Roe v. Wade, which affirmed a woman’s freedom to make her own choices about her body and her health. The decision supports the broader principle that the government should not intrude on private decisions made between a woman and her doctor. As we commemorate this day, we also redouble our commitment to protecting these constitutional rights, including protecting a woman’s access to safe, affordable health care and her right to reproductive freedom from efforts to undermine or overturn them. In America, every single one of us deserves the rights, freedoms, and opportunities to fulfill our dreams.

For a lot of us pro-choice old-timers, this pretty much captures how we feel about all of the recent efforts to undermine Roe v Wade.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.