- The CNN anchor John King asked after Tuesday’s Democratic debate whether endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders from the party’s freshman congresswomen of color could be seen as “too urban.”
- He said that endorsements from Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib would “certainly help” Sanders but that other candidates would ask: “Is this too far left? Is this too uncompromising? Is it too urban?”
- King later tweeted that his use of the word had “nothing to do with color” and that he was speaking about the debate and the state of the Democratic Party, where “some candidates argue parts of the party are too liberal, too urban.”
- “Urban,” while nominally used to refer to densely populated areas like cities, is sometimes used to refer to black or Latinx people and communities.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The CNN anchor John King asked after Tuesday’s Democratic debate whether endorsements of Sen. Bernie Sanders from the party’s most famous freshman congresswomen of color could be “too urban.”
He was responding to a Washington Post report that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York would endorse Sanders, and a CNN report that Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib would also do so. Since the debate, Omar has officially endorsed Sanders.
King said that these endorsements would “certainly help” Sanders. “But it will also, I think … have some of the other candidates say: ‘Wait a minute, is this too far left? Is this too uncompromising? Is it too urban? Is it too internet? Does the Democratic Party need to find a broader audience?”
King tweeted on Wednesday that his use of the word “urban” had “nothing to do with color.”
“Please don’t take a snippet and twist my words,” he wrote. “I said they are leading new voices in the party but also part of the debate we saw on stage tonight …. some candidates argue parts of the party are too liberal, too urban. Was a policy point. Nothing to do with color.”
—John King (@JohnKingCNN) October 16, 2019
“Urban,” while nominally used to refer to densely populated areas like cities, is sometimes used to refer to black or Latinx people and communities.
Some Twitter users highlighted this usage. One wrote that “‘urban’ and ‘inner cities’ has always been a dog whistle for POC and you know this.”
King said that the endorsements would be an “extension” of the debate on Tuesday — “a debate about not only who is going to lead the party, but where is the party going to go, which part of the party is going to lead the party into the 2020 election.”
He described the congresswomen as “more of the younger, fresher face, more aggressive, more liberal, less compromising, less talk about working with Republicans.”
“And one of the questions for Bernie Sanders has been, in a very different race this time, can he find a lane to victory?” King said. “There is no doubting his fundraising. There is no doubting the depth of his support across the country. But is it in the teens? Can he get into 20s? How do you win?”
—Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) October 16, 2019
Omar, who represents a district in Minnesota, and Tlaib, who represents Michigan, are members of a group of progressive freshman congresswomen of color, alongside Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, often referred to as “the squad.”
The congresswomen have sparred with some of the older Democrats about the direction of the party and have been more outspoken about topics like impeaching President Donald Trump — sometimes appearing to set, or at least influence, the party’s agenda.
None of the congresswomen has addressed King’s analysis, but Ocasio-Cortez shared criticism of the debate on Twitter — she retweeted Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington, a former presidential candidate, who said it was “completely inexcusable” that there was “not one single question about the climate crisis.”
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