The media is raving (“Perfect“; “Magnificent“)about the new ad by Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders that features a song from a half-century ago by Sixties folk-rock icons Simon and Garfunkel called, “America.” The ad is reportedly targeted at voters in the first-in the-nation states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
The studiously crafted one minute ad has no voice over–just edits from ‘America’ over staged scenes and shots from Sanders campaign events.
The Simon and Garfunkel song is an ancient classic. Its use by Sanders is a revealing choice by the aging (74 years old) Sixties radical who is trying to appeal to voters who are focused on their future in the 21st Century.
More revealing is the choice of people featured and not featured in the one-minute ad.
There are no Americans in uniform featured in the Sanders ad; no military, no police and no firefighters. The war on terror and those serving on the frontlines including servicemen and women and first responders don’t matter in Bernie Sanders’ America. (Note: two police officers can be briefly glimpsed behind Sanders in one scene.)
The people in the Sanders ad, whether in tight staged shots or crowd shots, are overwhelmingly white with just a handful of token minorities featured in mostly tight shots.
The first twenty seconds of the ad features only white people. There are nine staged ‘day in the life’ scenes that open the ad–all featuring white men, women and children–including five scenes of white families. Then four campaign crowd scenes are shown with white people.
It is not until the eighteenth scene in the Sanders ad that the first minority is seen with a quick shot of a minority female campaign volunteer working a crowd.
It takes another twenty seconds for other minorities to be prominently seen in the Sanders ad. Then in a span of seven seconds five scenes with minorities are shown interspersed with a shot of Sanders walking in a parade with his white family: A lone Black person at a Sanders rope line surrounded by white people; Sanders hugging a Black woman; Sanders standing with a minority woman; a tight Sanders rally crowd scene featuring four minority men and women and finally a tight shot of a minority man holding his child.
The rest of the ad is crowd shots of Sanders rallies that are filled with white people, including the closing scene of a smiling Sanders on stage with a crowd of white people (with one minority) behind him.
The ad would fit right in the Sixties of Sanders’ radical youth when minorities were used as tokens by grandstanding white liberals.
Sanders has had a race problem from the beginning of his campaign that he has being trying to fix, as CNN reported in a July 3, 2015 report entitled, Bernie Sanders adds race, civil rights to his stump speech.
“Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator currently rising in polls against Hillary Clinton as they vie for the Democratic presidential nomination, responded to critics who say he hasn’t done enough to appeal to non-white voters during his raucous rally in Madison, Wisconsin, on Wednesday…”
One month later on August 8 in Seattle, Sanders infamously let Black Lives Matter activists charge the stage and take over his rally while he meekly stood by.
Oh and by the way: There are no Muslims in Bernie Sanders’ ‘America.’