Coates: Sanders Shouldn’t ‘Dismiss Reparations,’ Should Put Forward Ideas That May Not Get Through Congress ‘Across the Board’

The Atlantic National Correspondent and author Ta-Nehisi Coates stated that Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) decision to “dismiss reparations, simply because it is not politically doable” “felt completely off” and that Sanders should put forward things that he thinks don’t have a good chance of getting through Congress “across the board” in an interview aired on Wednesday’s “All In with Chris Hayes” on MSNBC.

Coates said, “I simply didn’t understand his answer, to be blunt. The senator, whose campaign I respect, who I respect, who I’ve considered very, very courageous, who some people in my household that are a lot younger than me actually support, and have been very vocal about supporting I think has inspired quite a number of people with his willingness to put solutions on the table that a lot of folks consider outside of the politically doable. And so then to see him dismiss reparations, simply because it is not politically doable in his opinion, just — it just felt completely off. It felt out of tune with the entire, you know, spirit of his campaign. You know, he mentioned that the chances for getting reparations through Congress are nil. In fact, the senator advocates several things whose chances in Congress are also nil. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be advocating those things, by the way, my point is that he should. You need that — those ideas out into the world. That should be part of the political debate. I’m a fan of that, but I’m a fan of doing it across the board, and not being selective about it.”

Later, he added, “I think what you call yourself matters. Bernie Sanders is the candidate who calls himself a radical. Bernie Sanders is the Democratic Socialist. Bernie Sanders is the candidate that is representing the left wing of the Democratic Party, or hopes to represent the left wing of the Democratic Party, the radical wing. It is then fair to ask what radical proposals you support of the radical candidate. That Hillary Clinton is against reparations is absolutely news to no one. No one would be really surprised by that. I think it’s fair to be somewhat surprised by Senator Sanders’ reaction. The second point is, you know, saying, ‘Why don’t you ask Hillary Clinton the same question?’ Is not, in fact, an answer to the question that I pose. The question I pose is, why does Senator Bernie Sanders not support reparations?  And I called and tried to get an answer to that. Those who support him then responded by saying, ‘Yes, but Hillary Clinton doesn’t support it either’ is a way of changing the subject.”

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