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“Something Is Wrong in America”: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor & Michael Eric Dyson Debate Sanders v Biden

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Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders faced off in their first one-on-one debate Sunday night in the midst of an unprecedented national crisis, with 3,600 reported COVID-19 cases, 61 deaths so far, 33 states closing schools and mass shutdowns in major cities. The rivals clashed on how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare for All, the climate crisis, Joe Biden’s record and whether or not the U.S. needs a revolution. We play highlights from the debate and get responses from scholars Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor and Michael Eric Dyson. Taylor is assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton who has endorsed Sanders, and Dyson is a Georgetown University professor, political analyst and author who has endorsed Biden.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has topped 6,500 with at least 170,000 confirmed cases worldwide and 77,000 people now recovering. In the United States, amidst an unprecedented national crisis with 3,600 reported COVID-19 cases, there are 61 deaths so far, 33 states closing schools, and mass shutdowns in major cities Los Angeles and New York City.

Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders faced off in their first one-on-one debate Sunday night. They clashed on how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Medicare for All, the climate crisis, Joe Biden’s record and whether or not the U.S. needs a revolution. Practicing social distancing, that would have been unimaginable even a week ago, the candidates did not shake hands; they touched elbows when they greeted each other. They stood six feet apart at the CNN-Univision debate, which was held with no audience in Washington, D.C., instead of Phoenix, Arizona, due to concerns about the pandemic.

In the course of the two-hour debate, Joe Biden promised his running mate would be a woman. Bernie Sanders said, in all likelihood, so would his running mate be. Much of the night was dedicated to the coronavirus pandemic. The two also faced off on immigration, authoritarianism around the globe, and appealing to African-American and Latinx voters. They did not discuss the upcoming primaries in Arizona, Illinois, Florida and Ohio this Tuesday, where elections will go on despite all four states having confirmed coronavirus cases. Georgia and Louisiana have already pushed back their primary dates due to the pandemic. Puerto Rico has also said it plans to postpone its primary to next month.

We’re turning now to two guests to respond to last night’s debate and the situation we’re in today. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is with us, and Michael Eric Dyson joins us, as well.

Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University. She’s the author of Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership and From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation. She has endorsed Senator Bernie Sanders for president. She just wrote a piece for The New York Times headlined “Why Sanders Isn’t Winning Over Black Voters.”

And Michael Eric Dyson joins us. He is a Georgetown University professor, political analyst and author. He endorsed Vice President Joe Biden for president. His books include JAY-Z: Made in America and What Truth Sounds Like: RFK, James Baldwin, and Our Unfinished Conversation About Race in America.

We welcome you both to Democracy Now! We originally scheduled you both for studios in Philadelphia as well as Washington, D.C., but you’re both at home now because of this pandemic. I was wondering, before we even respond to the presidential debate last night, if you could just talk about your thoughts right now about yourselves, your family and the community. Let’s begin with professor Michael Eric Dyson. And, Professor Dyson, thanks so much for joining us and taking this time, speaking to us from your home.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Ms. Goodman, always great to be on with you and, of course, with the equally brilliant Professor Taylor. Yeah, it is a devastating pandemic that we’re confronting. There’s no question that the besieging of our resources as a result of this pandemic has exposed flaws in our system, has forced us to not only socially distance ourselves from situations and circumstances that cause us harm, but also the reality is that we live in a culture where those who are least able to afford a sustained distancing of themselves from their workplaces face dire consequences. And as —

AMY GOODMAN: Professor Dyson, we’re going to go over to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor because we’re having a little trouble hearing you, and we’re going to fix that situation. Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, you’re talking to us from your home, as well. Talk about what we’re facing today. I mean, we are certainly not in normal circumstances right now. In fact, I would venture to guess that the majority of people who are watching and listening to this broadcast or going to be reading it are now at home.

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Yeah. Thanks, Amy, for having me on. I’m glad to be able to talk to you guys under these strange, surreal circumstances. I mean, this is completely unprecedented, that — a situation that is affecting every single person in this country, some more than others. I think, you know, for myself, my child’s daycare ended on Friday for — you know, everyone is doing everything in two-week intervals. I think most of us know that the situation is going to get probably a lot worse before it gets better. This will not be resolved in the next two weeks. So we’re dealing with that. I have an underlying respiratory condition, which means that I am being particularly mindful and alert in staying at home. And so, you know, my wife and I are both working from home, parenting our child. And —

AMY GOODMAN: And Princeton University is now online only?

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Yeah. We have spring break this week, and then Princeton resumes next week. But, you know, administrations across the — college, university administrations across the country had to improvise. And I think that we’ll see how it works. I’m not sure how it’s going to work. I just got an email from a student of mine this morning from Tokyo, who was in Princeton, New Jersey, last week and now is in Tokyo asking me how is he supposed to tune in to the class. So, these are unprecedented situations that we’re going to have to try to figure out. But I think the main thing is that it really is pointing to the complete absurdity and dysfunctionality of entire aspects of our society that we have to begin to deal with in a serious way.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Professor Michael Eric Dyson, I believe we have you back right now. We’re going to go to break in just one minute, but if you could pick up where Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor left off? Disagree on your choice of presidential candidate in the Democratic Party, but, overall, the situation we’re in right now with this growing pandemic?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: No question about it. There is the reality, as Professor Taylor said, about the dysfunctionality and absurdity of vast reaches of our public sector, that have failed fundamental — the fundamental rights of citizens and put us at greater risk. It has exposed gaping holes in the logic of supplying needs for those most vulnerable, shredding the safety net, and those who are most able to retreat into our wombs of protection reveal that there are economic disparities that need to be addressed, so that the healthcare crisis that has been revealed through the pandemic also reveals a crisis of capital, a crisis of conscience and a crisis of provision for those are the most vulnerable. There’s no question about that. And our choice of different candidates here is a matter of strategy and pragmatism, not about the philosophical commitment to the reconstruction of American society along lines that would benefit the most vulnerable.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to go to break, and then we’ll be rejoined by our guests and play clips from the Democratic presidential primary that was held last night in a CNN studio, instead of before a live audience, with the candidates Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden standing six feet apart from each other for safety reasons in this coronavirus pandemic. Stay with us.


AMY GOODMAN: That’s quarantined Italian tenor Maurizio Marchini passionately singing — well, in English, it translates “None Shall Sleep,” from his balcony in Florence, Italy, while Italy is under lockdown from the coronavirus. At the end of the song, his little boy jumps into his arms and put his hands on his ears, and his father stops singing. This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re spending the hour discussing Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate. It took place in the studios of CNN in Washington, D.C., instead of in Phoenix, Arizona, before a live audience, because of the pandemic. At the beginning of the night, Senator Bernie Sanders and Vice President Joe Biden, after doing elbow bumps instead of handshakes, were asked about how they would respond to the coronavirus pandemic, and quickly began to debate Medicare for All. This is a part of their exchange, beginning with Joe Biden.

JOE BIDEN: With all due respect to Medicare for All, you have a single-payer system in Italy. It doesn’t work there. It has nothing to do with Medicare for All. That would not solve the problem at all. We can take care of that right now by making sure that no one has to pay for treatment, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for whatever drugs are needed, period, because of the crisis. No one has to pay for hospitalization because of the crisis, period. That is a national emergency, and that’s how it’s handled. It is not working in Italy right now, and they have a single-payer system.

Now, with regard to what else I would do, the fact is that we’re in a position where I would bring together the leading experts in the world, instead of doing this — in the United States. Instead of doing this piecemeal, sit down and do what we did before with the Ebola crisis, what is needed, and have one voice, one voice, like we did every day we met in that crisis in the Situation Room, laying out — so we lay out, overall, for all the nation, what the best proposal is and how to move forward. In the absence of that, governors are making some sound decisions. They’re doing the best they can by going out and getting the healthcare experts in their communities and their states to move. But it should be directed from the White House, from the Situation Room, laying out in detail, like we did in the Ebola crisis. And we beat it.

DANA BASH: Thank you. Thank you. Senator Sanders, your response?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: Well, first of all, the dysfunctionality of the current healthcare system is obviously apparent. As I said earlier, there are people who hesitate, go to the doctor. You’re going to have a maze of regulations. Well, if this is my income, if that’s my income, can I get it, can I not get it? Clearly, we are not prepared. And Trump only exacerbates the crisis. When we spend twice as much per capita on healthcare as any other nation, one might expect that we would have enough doctors all over this country. One might expect that we would have affordable prescription drugs. One might expect that we are preparing effectively for a pandemic, that we were ready with the ventilators, with the ICUs, with the test kits that we need. We are not.

And bottom line here is, in terms of Medicare for All, despite what the vice president is saying, what the experts tell us is that one of the reasons that we are unprepared and have been unprepared is we don’t have a system. We’ve got thousands of private insurance plans. That is not a system that is prepared to provide healthcare to all people. In a good year, without the epidemic, we’re losing up to 60,000 people who die every year because they don’t get to a doctor on time. It’s clearly this crisis is only making a bad situation worse.

JOE BIDEN: That has nothing to do when you’re in a national crisis. The national crisis says we’re responding. It’s all free. You don’t have to pay for a thing. That has nothing to do with whether or not you have an insurance policy. This is a crisis. We’re at war with a virus. We’re at war with a virus. It has nothing to do with copays or anything. We just pass a law saying that you do not have to pay for any of this, period. Period.

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: That’s not true. As a matter of fact, that’s not true. That law has enormous loopholes. I understand that Nancy Pelosi did her best. The Republicans prevented it. What you’re —

JOE BIDEN: No, I’m —

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: What you’re talking about, Joe, here is enormous loopholes within that, that in fact it is not necessarily covering treatment for all people in America, and that people are going to be stuck with a bill, unless we change that. And we’re going to offer legislation to in fact change that.

JOE BIDEN: If I may, I offered legislation. I laid out in my plan that it would cover exactly what is not covered by the House. I laid out in the plan that I laid out for how we would deal with this crisis. Nobody — nobody will pay for anything having to do with the crisis. This is a national emergency. There isn’t a question of whether or not this is something that could be covered by insurance or anything else. We, out of the Treasury, are going to pay for this. It’s a national emergency.

AMY GOODMAN: So that’s Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. That’s last night’s debate. For more, we’re continuing with Yamahtta Taylor, who is assistant professor of African-American studies at Princeton University, has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor, political analyst and author, has endorsed Vice President Joe Biden for president. Michael Eric Dyson, let’s begin with you. If you could explain how you came to the decision to support Vice President Biden, and his response on the issue of Medicare for All, which he said, only recently, in the last few weeks, that he, if he was president, would veto if it came to his desk as president?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Yeah. Well, look, I have great respect for both of these men, who are battling it out — excuse me — you know, to become the Democratic nominee for the presidency of the United States of America. I came to my decision about Joe Biden because I thought he had the best and most effective methodology to deploy to become successful to become president of the United States of America, to embody some of the progressive principles that I hold and that we hold in common. Obviously, nobody agrees completely with the person he or she selects as a nominee, but I think that Joe Biden possesses the ability to get elected, which is critical, then to work with vast numbers of people in consultation to make certain that the widest range of ideas are available under the, quote, “big umbrella” of the Democratic Party and to forge connection and conversation with those people to get things done.

Even on stage last night, when you saw Bernie Sanders and Biden exhibiting, in some cases, sharply contrasting methodologies, philosophies and approaches to what they might do, the ultimate goal that they share in common, that something is wrong in America, that Trump’s Trumpnopia, his hostility to the vulnerable, his indifference to those who are most likely to suffer, and his racist, sexist, xenophobic practices have to be defeated. And I think we have more in common in that sense than we do that divides us, though the gulf, the yawning abyss that divides us on some issues, is undeniable.

Mine is a very pragmatic and practical approach as a black progressive in America to suggest that Joe Biden possesses the electability, the foresight, the insight and the ability to generate a consensus among vast numbers of African-American people. Now, we know that the black vote is not homogenous. We know that there is a heterogeneity to black interests, that older black Southerners may believe one thing, that black centrists have one thing in mind, that black progressives have another. But we can’t stereotype. We know that there are younger people who are more moderate, and we know that there are older people, like Auntie Maxine and, you know, Barbara Lee of California are progressive. They were woke before woke got awaken. So, the reality is, is that there is a broad variety of constituencies constituted within black America alone and more broadly within the Democratic tent.

And I think Joe Biden has the best possibility of articulating nuanced conceptions of philosophical ideas that a person like a Bernie Sanders would hold, that Bernie has pushed him, I think, in progressive fashion, but also invited Biden to articulate what it is about his own particular practices that would get him elected. So, in that sense, I think I arrived with Joe Biden because Joe Biden has the possibility of becoming president and enacting in real time the ideals, some of which he shares with Bernie Sanders.

AMY GOODMAN: Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, if you would respond — you are a Bernie Sanders supporter — on both issues, as support — respond on the issue of Medicare for All and also that Joe Biden recently said he would veto a Medicare for All bill that landed on his desk as president. But also you did just write this piece in The New York Times, the op-ed piece, that says “Why Sanders Isn’t Winning Over Black Voters.”

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Yeah, a couple of things. I came to support Sanders because I think that his politics and his political program actually capture the depths of the problem and crises in the United States right now, even before the coronavirus hit the U.S., the problems with the grotesque amount of economic inequality in this country, the way that that manifests itself particularly in black communities in terms of underemployment, the issues with racial justice, injustice with the criminal justice system in this country, the issues with housing insecurity. The entirety of Bernie Sanders’ program captures the abiding problems of inequality in the United States right now that have disproportionate impact in African-American communities. And so, for me, this was not a difficult decision. I am someone who is deeply cynical about electoral politics, and have been for some time. In many ways, I remain that way. But Sanders’ candidacy in 2016, where someone who identifies as a socialist for the first time in a mainstream election garnered 13 million votes, that I think spoke to the deep problems in this society and the deep desire to do something about them.

But beyond issue of the program, I think that — of Sanders’ program, I think that there are two things that are really important: his commitment to solidarity, that is exemplified by his campaign slogan, “Us, not me,” and the political revolution, which is really just about saying that — is an understanding that in order to pass the kind of dramatic legislation that is necessary to transform the lives of people in this country, that it’s not just going to come from Washington, D.C. It most likely won’t come from Washington, D.C., but that it actually has to be pursued by social movements on the ground. It has to be pursued by organizing on the ground. And Bernie Sanders is clearly, by far and away, the only candidate that understands that. So, when people talk about his political program as pie in the sky, as unrealistic, not only is that betraying their own cynicism — and, for that matter, ignorance — about the way that progress has been achieved in this country, but it dismisses what I think is very different and fundamental about how he sees the enactment of these policies, which is through broad social movements on the ground that have the ability to politically coerce a Congress that is filled with millionaires, that is filled with self-interested politicians who have very little interest — many of whom have very little — who have displayed very little interest in the conditions of the people who are worst off in this country.

And I think, now more than ever, we see the absolute necessity for universal healthcare in this country. That Joe Biden can show his face in public and talk still about affordable healthcare, when we have a convergence of a public healthcare crisis and an economic crisis, and the solution to the public healthcare crisis is what will drive the economic crisis — isolation, quarantining, putting the country on lockdown will exacerbate the economic crisis that is about to be unleashed in this country. So, the notion that healthcare should be affordable, that prescriptions should be affordable, in a time where people’s ability to afford anything, for ordinary working-class people, their ability to afford anything will be thrown into absolute peril, makes no sense. And I think that what Sanders said over the weekend, that we are as safe as the least insured person, has never made more sense than it does in this moment.

And so, I think that the crisis that we are confronted with as a society right now not only highlights the vast inequality that is the underbelly of U.S. society, that is usually and typically hidden — the lives of poor people are almost always papered over and hidden in this country, and in moments of crisis they come bubbling to the surface. And so we have to ask as a society: Are we going to use this opportunity, to use this moment, to actually implement fundamental change, or are we going to continue to kick this can down the road and acting as if there is some normal to get back to? This thing is going to forever alter the way that we interact with each other. It will forever alter probably life as we know it and have understood it to be in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break —

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: And that means that we have to think about things fundamentally differently.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to break and then come back to this discussion with Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University professor, has endorsed Bernie Sanders, speaking to us from her home in Philadelphia, as so many are now at their homes all over this country and around the world. In many cases, their countries are locked down. In other cases, they’re in self-quarantine. In other cases, they’re simply protecting themselves and their communities. Michael Eric Dyson, the same, speaking to us from his home, Georgetown University professor, endorsed Vice President Joe Biden. We’ll be back with them in a minute.


AMY GOODMAN: The Statler Brothers performing “Flowers on the Wall.” This is Democracy Now! I’m Amy Goodman. We’re spending the hour discussing Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate in the midst of the pandemic and playing highlights of Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. At one point, Joe Biden said if he wins the nomination, he’ll pick a woman to be his vice president. Debate moderator CNN’s Dana Bash asked Sanders if he would do the same. This is the exchange, beginning with Biden.

JOE BIDEN: If I’m elected president, my Cabinet, my administration will look like the country. And I commit that I will in fact appoint a — I’ll pick a woman to be vice president. There are a number of women who are qualified to be president tomorrow. I would pick a woman to be my vice president.

DANA BASH: If I could just follow up, just to be clear, you just committed here tonight that your running mate, if you get the nomination, will be a woman?


DANA BASH: Just to be clear, the vice president committed to picking a woman as his running mate. If you get the nomination, will you?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: In all likelihood, I will. For me, it’s not just nominating a woman. It is making sure that we have a progressive woman. And there are progressive women out there. So, my very strong tendency is to move in that direction.

AMY GOODMAN: We are joined by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor of Princeton University and Michael Eric Dyson of Georgetown. When you heard this, Keeanga, what was your response?

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: I mean, you know, it matters what the woman’s politics are. Is Joe Biden picking Condoleezza Rice? You know? Is he picking Kamala Harris? Is he picking, you know, a woman whose politics reflect his, which are, you know, based in the logic of market capitalism? So, I think that Sanders gave a more honest answer, is that I think, you know, it’s important he’s thinking about choosing a woman as a running mate, but that it actually matters what her politics would be.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Michael Eric Dyson, your response to Joe Biden, the man you’re supporting for president, saying he would absolutely choose a vice-presidential running mate, a woman?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Yeah. I think this, ironically enough, given the brilliant genealogy given by Professor Taylor about the vast inequality that exists, the rising rates of unemployment, even in a ostensibly strong economy inherited from a previous administration, that is now — whose coattails have been ridden by President Trump. When we look at fracking, when we look at healthcare, when we look at Medicare for All, when we look at the vast educational disparities that exist in this country and the degree to which the fundamental forces of inequality continue to punish those at the lower end of the totem poll, all that is true. But the reason Joe Biden can show his face, so to speak, is that Joe Biden has been trusted by the very people who have been the victims of white supremacy, social injustice, economic inequality in America. The irony is that the very people whose backs have been most against the wall, those among the most vulnerable citizens in this culture, vastly and by and large, seem to orient themselves toward a man who is capable of transmitting the ideals, the vision, the power, the energy for social revolution and transformation that Bernie Sanders has supplied, that he has certainly evoked, that he has stoked up in the masses of people who support him, that those people have contended that Joe Biden might be a greater vehicle.

Now, when it comes to gender, how is this not the same business as usual that Professor Taylor spoke about? Joe Biden is giving an unequivocal break with the past. Only two women, Geraldine Ferraro in '84 and Hillary Clinton in 2016, have been on a national ticket — and, of course, Sarah Palin in running with John McCain. So the reality is, is that, in a sense, Bernie Sanders' inability to grapple with the existential dilemmas introduced by the “scourge” of identity politics has been one of the banes of his political existence, that at the end of the day, when the revolution he wants to imagine occurs, it seems to place an unrestricted embrace of an undifferentiated class above issues of gender and race and the like. And what ends up happening is that gender exacerbates class. Race exacerbates class. So, yes, you want to find a woman who is in ideological sympatico with you. There’s no question about that. But why not presume — why presume that only a man would fill that spot? Why —

AMY GOODMAN: Well, let’s put that question to Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Well, let me just — yeah, let me just very quickly say that the reality—

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: Yeah, this is the actual — the irony —

AMY GOODMAN: Just one sec. All right, Professor Dyson, 10 seconds.


MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Yeah. All I’m saying is that the presumption that women won’t automatically do that, that you’ll automatically have a woman who will find ideological equivalence with you, is part of the problem of toxic masculinity and unconscious bias toward women. The question is — all people have to have that question put to him, not just women.

AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s put that question — let’s put that question to Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor.

KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR: I mean, there are a couple of things. One is, the actual irony is that Joe Biden, who has spent his entire career, up until this very moment, really up until he was picked by Obama, manipulating white racial resentment, whether it’s blessing, whether it’s the war on drugs, whether it’s his authorship of the crime bill, whether it was his fervent support for Bill Clinton’s welfare reform in 1996, is manipulating the racial resentments of white voters in order to curry favor with white suburban voters at the expense of African Americans. That has been the read on Joe Biden before Obama picked him. And in fact, you know, most people — you know, many people think that Biden actually picked — or, Obama actually picked Biden as a signal to those same voters that he wasn’t as dangerous as the Republicans were making him out to be. So, this kind of resurrected history of Joe Biden as the kind of mouthpiece for black America actually makes no sense.

We know that, you know, Joe Biden has no discernible policy that anyone can actually state. People, African-American voters in particular, those who have voted for Biden, I think, do so because of his former proximity to Barack Obama and due to questions about electability. I think, politically, many African-American voters support Bernie Sanders’ program. The story that was hidden in February because of the way that Michael Bloomberg crashed into the primary was the way in which Bernie Sanders’ support among black voters had dramatically increased, with one poll having him overtaken Joe Biden. A year ago, Joe Biden had a 30-point lead on Bernie Sanders among black voters. And that had almost disappeared. And I think that for a variety of reasons, that include the onset of the coronavirus as a thing in the United States, that included the consolidation of moderates around Joe Biden, and that unfortunately also included Elizabeth Warren for a week talking about how Bernie Sanders can’t get anything done, all coalesced at the same time to raise this question of electability. But I think that’s different from saying that black voters have gravitated to Joe Biden because of his political program. No one knows what his actual political program is. It’s almost impossible to find a single distinguishing policy that Joe Biden stands for. So there are all these other reasons that have been attached to Biden that I think explain his popularity among black voters right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, all right, Michael Eric Dyson, your response?

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: Yeah, I wouldn’t dismiss the legitimacy of African-American voters as being done. I wouldn’t undercut the ability of African-American people to make sophisticated distinctions and wise differences between candidates. This is a rearticulation of a logic that I think is especially pernicious, the doubt and skepticism about black intelligence and the ability of black prudence to be able to adjudicate competing claims about what’s good and bad for black America. This is a rearticulation of that in more sophisticated terms, but it undercuts the ability to believe that black voters know what the hell they’re doing, so that when black people were assaulted, oh my god, they’re orienting toward a centrist candidate who has no understanding of what the existential dilemmas have been of black people, none of the political hurts and hardships that they’ve endured. To reduce black people’s support for Joe Biden to his proximity to Barack Obama is misled. Now, Professor Taylor has already laid out the fact that she thought that — or the argument was that Obama was signaling to white resentment and the cast of white people who —

AMY GOODMAN: We have 10 seconds.

MICHAEL ERIC DYSON: — strip black progress, that he was embracing them. You can’t have it both ways. So you’re undercutting black voters either way. I think black voters are intelligent. They’re wise. They understand what it takes to win. And the Sanders idealism cannot truck with what Joe Biden has been able to do to convince that very constituency that he has their best interests at heart.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to have to leave it there, but this is a discussion we want to continue, and we will certainly get you both back on, we hope in studio, as we deal, though, with this pandemic. We thank you both for spending this time from your homes. Michael Eric Dyson, Georgetown University professor, has endorsed Vice President Joe Biden. And we want to thank Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, professor of African-American studies at Princeton University. I’m Amy Goodman. This is Democracy Now! Thanks so much for joining us.

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