A while back, I made a list of some of the key differences in the coalition which supported Corbyn compared that which backed Sanders. I left to the side the more or less separate question of their policies and how these are reflected in their rhetoric. It now occurs to me dealing with these is an easier job in that there is one which make all the difference in the world. Namely, that Corbyn makes direct appeal to working class unity largely undiluted by identity politics. To take a key example, Corbyn consistently referred to the victims of the Grenfell catastrophe as poor and working class-not “persons of color.”
While Corbyn certainly pointed to the race, ethnicity and nationality of the Grenfell victims, his main rhetorical focus was always on the fact that they were victims of generations of public sector austerity. In doing so he united behind him a broad constituency who have suffered under it, one which has the potential to install him as prime minister over the next few years.
Had Sanders encountered something similar, e.g. a fire at one of the remaining public housing units in New York or Chicago, the issue of race would have immediately had to have been referenced. And the remedy for it which much of the left would have been on the streets for would be to address “institutional racism” rather than a decades long war of the rich against the poor-as even Warren Buffet recognizes.
This is what accounts for the fact that, while it remains a possibility (if we fight for it-which we damn well should be doing), the Sanders insurgency won’t become a governing coalition any time soon.
While I don’t have any solution to it, this seems to me to be the clear fact of the matter.