Hours after his triumph in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders flew to NYC to have breakfast with Al Sharpton at Sylvia’s in Harlem.
Politics, particuarly presidential politics, compels candidates to make nice with unsavory people. Sharpton is a particularly unsavory character who ought to have been shunned out of polite society decades ago. But the Democratic Party is such that any Democrat who wants to be President must have Reverend Al’s blessings. And Bernie Sanders needs the African-American vote in South Carolina and elsewhere south of the Mason-Dixon. So what choice does he have?
Yet with all that, one would think that Sharpton’s anti-Semitism would give pause to someone of even nominal Jewish identity. I can think of no public figure that has done more damage to relations between African-Americans and Jews (outside of Louis Farrakhan) than Sharpton.
But Bernie Sanders is a socialist first and a Jew second, maybe third or fourth if that. He wants to be President of the United States, not President of B’nai Brith. So he breaks bread with Sharpton. It remains to be seen if it will earn him 4 years in the White House or 40 years in the desert.