From the New York Times:
Yamiche Alcindor 1:12 PM ET Wed Feb 10 2016 05:12:11 GMT-0800 (PST)Have all that many South Carolina blacks actually heard of Genius T. Coates? I would guess he has more fans per capita in Boulder, Colo.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the award-winning writer who has become one of the nation’s most influential voices on cultural and political issues, particularly touching on race relations, said Wednesday that he would be voting for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
The decision by Mr. Coates, the recipient of a MacArthur “genius grant” and the author of “Between the World and Me,” winner of the National Book Award, came as something of a surprise: Last month, Mr. Coates, author of a widely read 2014 Atlantic essay, “The Case for Reparations,” wrote two articles sharply criticizing Mr. Sanders over his opposition to reparations for slavery. …
Backing from Mr. Coates, 40, could bolster Mr. Sanders’s efforts to court black voters as the Democratic primary contest moves into more diverse primary states, where African-Americans make up an enormously important constituency.
In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Coates said he was concerned about Mrs. Clinton’s ties to Wall Street and her past stances on criminal justice. …Nobody actually called Genius himself a “superpredator.” The other black kids called him “Urkel” and the like before punching him, which was the fault of FDR’s racist redlining.
He added that he was also concerned about the criminal justice bills passed under President Bill Clinton. “I’m a kid born in the 1970s,” Mr. Coates said. “I came up in the early 1990s, the crime bill from 1994 is huge. I understand, Senator Sanders voted for the crime bill. I got that. But there’s a clip of Secretary Clinton. They are talking about criminal justice policy and she uses a term that — it just chills me when I hear it — and that is super predator. I am of that generation of super predators. That’s where I come from and our current policy today has been an absolute, absolute disaster.”
Mr. Coates’s announcement comes as Mr. Sanders is pushing hard to broaden his support among African-Americans. He met Wednesday morning with the Rev. Al Sharpton in New York. Last week, he won the endorsement of Benjamin T. Jealous, a former N.A.A.C.P. president, who vowed to campaign for him in South Carolina.Ben Jealous’s endorsement should galvanize the Certain People community of his native Monterey Peninsula, CA.