Here is why Jesse Jackson endorsed Bernie Sanders

Mohammed Awal March 09, 2020
Bernie Sanders and Jesse Jackson. Image: New York Times

Civil rights leader and former Democratic Party presidential candidate, Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. has endorsed the candidature of Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is in a heated battle with former Vice President Joe Bidden for the Democratic Party’s nomination to face President Donald J. Trump in this year’s presidential election.

Jackson’s endorsement comes on the back of Biden’s strong showing during Super Tuesday where Sanders lost 10 of the 14 states, including the Southern States.

Jackson’s support for Sanders was no surprise as the latter supported the former during his bid to be America’s first African American president in 1988. 

Biden, then as a senator from Delaware, dropped out of the race as a result of a plagiarism scandal and dismissal polling numbers.

“I stand with Bernie Sanders today because he stood with me. I stand with him because he’s never lost his taste for justice for the people. I stand with him because he stands with you,” Jackson told the crowd in Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday. 

In an earlier statement, Jackson glowingly eulogized the former Vice president as “fine and decent man” but was quick to add that he could not defeat Trump.

“With the exception of Native Americans, African Americans are the people who are most behind socially and economically in the United States and our needs are not moderate.

“A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path. The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path. That’s why I choose to endorse him today,” Jackson said in the statement.

The Sanders campaign made a series of commitments to Jackson, including the senator pushing for a right to vote constitutional amendment in Congress, supporting a wealth tax and allocating $50 billion to historically black colleges and universities, CNN reported. 

The outlet further reported that Sanders made a commitment to nominate an African-American woman to the Supreme Court and endorsing a two-state solution in the Middle East.

For Jackson more is needed to be done than defeat Trump. “We need structural and progressive change, not just moderate change if black, brown, red, poor, workers and the middle class are going to catch up and that will cost money,” Jackson said.

Sanders was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after 16 years as Vermont’s sole congressman in the House of Representatives. He is now serving his third term in the U.S. Senate after winning re-election in 2018 with 67 percent of the vote. 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, he attended James Madison High School, Brooklyn College, and the University of Chicago. After graduating, he moved to Vermont where he worked as a carpenter and documentary filmmaker. In 1981, he was elected as mayor of Burlington, the state’s largest city, by a mere 10 votes.

In Congress, Sanders has fought tirelessly for working families, focusing on the shrinking middle class and growing gap between the rich and everyone else. 

“Bernie has been called a “practical and successful legislator” and he was dubbed the “amendment king” in the House of Representatives for passing more amendments than any other member of Congress,” according to a profile of him on his website.

Despite Jackson’s endorsement, Sanders has a long way to go to appeal to the Democratic party establishment as former Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton noted the Vermont Senator would not be the Democrats’ “strongest nominee against Donald Trump”.

Despite telling CNN on Sunday that she wasn’t endorsing anyone yet, she stated: “I think what Joe’s victories on Super Tuesday showed is that he is building the kind of coalition that I had basically.

“It’s a broad-based coalition. [In 2016] I finished, you know, most of the work I needed to do for the nomination on Super Tuesday, and then it kind of lingered on. And I think Joe is on track to doing exactly the same thing: putting together a coalition of voters who are energized.”

She was also hopeful Sanders would back Biden if the former vice-president wins the nomination, as he secured the endorsement of Kamala Harris on Sunday.

“I hope so because his failure and the behavior of a lot of his top aides, and certainly many of his supporters – up to the convention, at the convention, and even up to election day was not helpful.

 “I had thought we would unify, that’s what we’d always done before and that’s what I expected. I certainly tried to do that when I ran against Barack Obama [in 2008] and worked very hard for him,” Clinton said.

Last Edited by:Kent Mensah Updated: March 9, 2020


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