News & Politics

Game Changer? Jesse Jackson Endorses Bernie Sanders

Rev. Jesse Jackson listens as Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., speaks to the Progressive National Baptist Convention in New Orleans, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The strength of Joe Biden’s candidacy has come largely from the support he gets from African-American voters. Despite the strength and enthusiasm of Bernie’s supporters, he’s struggled to make inroads with that demographic. Joe Biden’s big victory in South Carolina, thanks to African-American voters, propelled him to a stunning comeback on Super Tuesday after many considered his candidacy to be on life support. While the 2020 Democratic primary has now shaped up to be a two-man race between Biden and Bernie Sanders, the latter’s inability to connect with black voters was increasingly seen as a liability for him going forward.

Is that about to change?

Politico reports that Rev. Jesse Jackson will officially endorse Bernie Sanders at a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., on Sunday.

“Later on today we’re going to have the support, I believe here in Grand Rapids, of Jesse Jackson,” Sanders revealed on ABC’s “This Week” Sunday morning. “Jesse has been one of the great civil rights leaders in the modern history of this country. He changed American politics.”

Jesse Jackson also released a statement: “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.”

According to Jackson, the Biden campaign never reached out to him to ask for his support. “The Sanders campaign has,” he said, “and they responded to the issues I raised.”

I can’t help wondering why Sanders is getting this endorsement now, instead of before South Carolina and Super Tuesday, when it may have helped him close the gap with Biden in a number of Super Tuesday states. Does this endorsement come too late, or is it a game-changer for Bernie Sanders?

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis