Uh-Oh...Do Some Liberals Think Bernie Sanders Is a Republican?

06/12/2015 02:14 pm ET | Updated Jun 12, 2016

The candidate who raises the most money wins an overwhelming percentage of the time in national U.S. politics. This means that true progressive (and as I've written previously, mainstream, too!) candidate Bernie Sanders has an uphill battle to climb in his 2016 Presidential primary race. As a result, I was particularly trouble when I came across data showing that Bernie Sanders is not doing nearly as well as Hillary Clinton among minority voters. I discussed some possibilities about why this might be on The David Pakman Show:

I received a deluge of feedback with hypotheses about what might be causing this disconnected. Certainly, it's not logical. Bernie Sanders has a rating of over 90 percent on civil rights issues from the American Civil Liberties Union, and is the candidate most feverently (sic) campaigning around issues of wealth inequality, single payer healthcare, climate change as a result of big corporations, education and many other issues that disproportionately affect minority voters. The reality is that Bernie Sanders should have the strongest minority following, based on his policy platforms and positions.

In the midst of the feedback I was receiving, I woke up one day this week to a voicemail from an African-American woman hoping to explain to me why minority communities aren't strongly rallying behind Bernie Sanders, and I admit that her voicemail was disturbing. It wasn't disturbing because she made invalid points about the priorities of minority voting groups, nor because she had any naive misunderstandings about the sad reality of campaign finance or other issues. I was disturbed because the caller seemed to think Bernie Sanders was a Republican. Take a listen:

If voters don't even realize that Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat, this is real problem, and one that the Sanders campaign should be aware of. A longtime viewer of ours, Jason, wrote in with one idea about this call. As the female caller mentioned, she's from South Carolina. Jason suggested that there is a strong tradition in the south of conservative politicians running as "independents," like Sanders, when there was a strong "Dixiecrat" contingency of voters who would reflexively vote against any candidate running as a Republican. Could the caller have been falling prey to some level of confusion around Bernie Sanders being an "independent" who happens to caucus with Democrats in the Senate?

Whatever the cause, we know that Bernie Sanders has a steep hill to climb in terms of financing his campaign as well as name recognition. Not to mention the antisemitic undertones that are starting, too. Why do you think he's struggling with minorities? What do you make of this woman's confusion in her call to our show? Let me know on Twitter @dpakman or on our Reddit discussion forum.