I can appreciate some of the logic behind your essay.
I believe that Sanders disenfranchised groups of people by centralizing the concept of economics and class without treating the racism which is baked into our economics with the same gravity. Because most black people and many POC’s believe that race is the central issue in the US — or at least equally relevant to class/economics — Sanders general, chronic stance appeared to many POC to marginalize racial issues.
Because POC”s are more inclined to centralize race than are white people, who are more inclined to centralize class/wealth, any white person who focuses on class will seem to exclude race, relatively speaking, to many of the POC”s observing.
Based on my own experiences (anecdotal) and what I’ve read, here are the main groups who seem to feel disenfranchised by Sanders, and for whom his stance towards race may seem less progressive than his stance towards class:
- African-Americans. Understandably, given the last 400 years and the history of the TransAtlantic Slave Trade, many AA centralize the concept of race because race is the basis of white supremacy — -ie resource distribution — in the US. Thus, race and economics are intertwined in the minds of many AA and POC: our history confirms this is accurate. So, any candidate that does not centralize it, like Sanders, appears to be actively marginalizing it to many black people. On the other hand, Biden has a direct connection to an AA president.
2. POC who Agree: Non black POC who agree that race is central to American politics — such as me — also agree that race should be a central issue. So, the focus that Sanders puts on class seems to be a marginalization of racial issues to many other POC, because we all deal with some degree of racism, if only in the form of microaggressions (but usually more that that), even if we don’t all deal with the potent anti-blackness of white supremacy. In fact, because white people don’t have to deal with racism, this factor is effectively neutralized for them. For POC, reality dictates that race will be a deforming and highly determinative factor, that it will damage our opportunity. The fact that POC are not white is felt as a permanent lack of opportunity. So, again, Sanders seems to push this to the side. So, Biden is at least connected to an AA president, a POC.
3. Upper-Middle Class/Wealthy POC: These are people who have succeeded despite white supremacy: typically, the stories behind these successes include monumental and herculean efforts. Thus, a candidate that erases the reality of racism for ALL POC, regardless of economic level, essentially appears to erase the primary determinant of opportunity for wealthy POC. Wealthy POC still deal with racism, regardless of how rich they become: race is a permanent benefit (white) or disadvantage (not white). Money, on the other hand, can make a poor person rich. This may not happen much in an oligarchy, but it happens more than a racial switch because that happens 0% of the time: it is impossible. Sanders completely marginalizes this group by assuming that ONLY economics alters one’s quality of life, when it doesn’t alter the erosive reality of racism at all. This group, possibly also somewhat less ‘left’ due to economic advantage, will be less likely to see Sanders as appealing because their primary disadvantage is marginalized. He appears to criticize wealthy POC for being rich without acknowledging the attendant burden of being not white.
Many POC perceive Sanders as being the candidate of working class white people, because he focuses on class first, and then racism. The above groups will find this incongruent. Biden, on the other hand, is so dull that he ends up being a default or, as you point out, eliminates any motive to vote at all.