Issac Bailey is a long-time journalist based in South Carolina and the Batten Professor for Communication Studies at Davidson College. He’s the author of “My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Face of Crime, Poverty and Racism in the American South.” His next book, “A Black Man in Trumpland: Why We Didn’t Riot — But Should Have,” will be released by Other Press in 2020. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.
(CNN)Black voters, particularly those in South Carolina and a handful of other southern states on Super Tuesday, led — and the Democratic establishment followed. That’s why former Vice President Joe Biden is on the verge of becoming the Democratic front-runner. And while there are numerous reasons why voters do what they do, what was true at the beginning of the primary process remains true today — that the top priority is defeating President Donald Trump in November, and Biden is still considered the best positioned to make that happen.
As exit polling data from South Carolina and beyond have shown, black voters want
some form of improved health care, too. Many black voters are intrigued
by the calls of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders to level the economic playing field, which is why he saw traction among black voters in recent national polls. Many would give Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren high marks for what she has done on that score, including the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that became a key part of President Barack Obama’s efforts to reform Wall Street. (Full disclosure: I voted for Warren in my home state South Carolina.) Even Andrew Yang’s $1,000 a month gambit and Marianne Williamson’s eloquent talk of the need for racial justice and reparations were attractive to black voters in the South.
What’s happening now isn’t evidence that southern black voters oppose any particular candidate in the Democratic field — except maybe Michael Bloomberg with his history of stop-and-frisk and pathetic quasi-apology for the egregious practice. This is why not even $60 billion in wealth will likely be enough to get him a major party nomination.
It is true that we are among the most moderate and conservative voters
in the party. And we are more closely aligned with moderate Republicans than hard left liberals on issues such as abortion
. But not even Sanders’ progressivism would be a tur