The dueling press conferences on the State House steps Wednesday morning, one for Hillary Clinton and one for Bernie Sanders, were, in part, about race.
The Sanders gathering was hosted by a group calling itself “Latinos for Bernie.”
The Clinton gathering was a who’s-who of Boston-area black politicians: state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, Boston City Councilors Ayanna Pressley and Tito Jackson, Suffolk County Sheriff Steve Tompkins, former state secretary of public safety Andrea Cabral.
There was plenty of talk about who would serve what constituency. Cabral called Clinton’s Harlem speech Tuesday laying out a program for racial equality a “remarkable” thing: “A presidential candidate,” she said, “laid out an agenda specific to African-Americans.”
Patricia Montes, a Honduran immigrant and activist speaking at the Sanders event, said Sanders offered a refreshing vision that recognized the impact of American foreign policy on the immigration crisis in the United States.
But the events also spoke to another divide. The speakers at the Clinton event, backed by two full rows of supporters, are a part of the new political establishment in Boston. And they spoke for an establishment candidate.
They felt compelled, several times, to say that they were “not taking anything for granted” in the Massachusetts presidential primary and that they would campaign for every vote.
The Sanders press conference, a smaller affair, included a couple of elected Latino officials — Suffolk County Register of Probate and Family Court Felix D. Arroyo and Lawrence City Council president Kendrys Vasquez. But they spoke in a language Sanders would recognize.
Vasquez said Sanders first “shocked the world” when he won the mayoralty of Burlington, Vt., in 1981.
“We will once again shock the whole world.” he said, “when we win the presidency of the United States.”