Fresh off of his New Hampshire primaries victory, Sen. Bernie Sanders has scored a nod from one of the most influential Black voices of the 21st century: author Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Speaking to Democracy Now!, the Between the World and Me author said that he would be voting for Sanders, despite Sanders’s opposition toward reparations, though he was hesitant to use the word “endorse.”
“I have tried to avoid this question, but yes, I will be voting for Sen. Sanders,” Coates said. “…I’m not going to make any calls. I’m not going to volunteer. I’m not doing anything. I answered the question because I was asked the question…I reject the term supporter. I reject the term endorsement. I’m a voter.”
Adding that his 15-year-old son was a supporter of Sanders, Coates said that he was impressed by the New Hampshire senator’s ascension in the polls, as well as his mission of easing college debt and making tuition free for students.
“For me, I think the idea that somebody is standing up as an avowed socialist and is actually contending—it doesn’t matter if that person wins or not from some perspectives because folks will see that and say damn things that we thought we couldn’t say, we actually can,” Coates said.
Coates told the New York Times yesterday that Hillary Clinton’s support of strict criminal justice bills passed in the 1990s was problematic, and he didn’t support her financial connections to Wall Street.
“I came up in the early 1990s; the crime bill from 1994 is huge,” Coates said of the infamous bill, which Clinton has recently apologized for. “…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.”
Coates's vote of confidence for Sanders comes just weeks after Erica Garner, the daughter of Eric Garner who died after an NYPD officer placed him in an illegal chokehold, endorsed Sanders.