On April 18, the day before the New York Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton stood in a Brooklyn church with five of her supporters, all of them women whose children had been killed in altercations with the police. One of them was Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner.
One woman who was not there, however, was Garner’s daughter, Erica Garner. That’s because she’s voting for Bernie Sanders.
The political divide in the Garner family has been clear ever since Feb. 11, when the Bernie Sanders campaign released a powerful video ad in which Erica Garner made an emotional case for the senator.
“I’m behind anyone who’s going to listen and speak up for us,” she said in the ad. “And that’s why I’m for Bernie.”
Meanwhile, Carr, Erica Garner's grandmother, has campaigned for Clinton in South Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, and now New York.
But this divide is not just limited to the Garners. A number of events over the course of the campaign—particularly Bill Clinton’s confrontation with Black Lives Matter protesters at a rally for his wife—have underscored a political generation gap among African-American voters.
While black voters old enough to remember the Clinton presidency tend to support the Clintons, their descendants are much more critical—especially of the 1994 Crime Bill that President Clinton passed and Hillary Clinton supported. It was an argument over that law, for example, that sparked Bill Clinton’s confrontation with the Black Lives Matters protesters.
And this difference has been borne out in the exit polls of the primaries. In South Carolina, for example, Hillary Clinton received a whopping 86 percent of the total black vote, but only 56 percent of black voters under 30—not too big a lead over Sanders’s 43 percent.
So while these differences may not tear apart Eric Garner’s family, they matter a lot to Clinton and Sanders.