Just hours after his victory in the New Hampshire primaries Tuesday, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders swept into New York City’s predominantly Black community of Harlem to meet MSNBC host and civil rights leader the Rev. Al Sharpton in an effort to help garner support from African-American voters.
He also won an endorsement from prominent African-American scholar and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who recently slammed Sanders for his failure to support reparations for slavery.
The two events come as the candidates head to critical primary races in South Carolina and Nevada, where Black voters are key to winning. Whites make up about 64 percent of the population in South Carolina and 51.5 percent of the population in Nevada. By comparison, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the first races were held, are more than 90 percent White, according to Salon.
Democratic rival Hillary Clinton has long enjoyed the support of Black voters because of her husband’s presidential legacy. But that support is beginning to show wear, as scholars like Michelle Alexander question Black voters’ automatic backing of the politician. She wrote a blistering piece in The Nation Tuesday that condemns Clinton for supporting policies enacted by Bill Clinton, including the crime bill and welfare reform, which have “decimated Black America.”
Meanwhile, popular Black Democratic Sen. Hakeem Jeffries reaffirmed his support for Clinton Wednesday on a conference call after her defeat in New Hampshire. He was joined on the call by Hazel Dukes, president of the NAACP New York State Conference and a member of the NAACP National Board of Directors, and Todd Rutherford, South Carolina’s Minority House Leader.
“As we move toward South Carolina and Nevada, two diverse states relative to New Hampshire and Iowa,” Jeffries said, “we understand that issues significant to communities of color will be discussed and debated. When you match up the record of Hillary Clinton to the record of Bernie Sanders, there simply is no comparison.”
“Hillary Clinton has been at the dance from the very beginning of her career as a young lawyer at the Children’s Defense Fund, through her time as partner with Gov. and President Clinton, then as a senator from New York for eight years and into her post-senatorial career,” he continued. “For the last 40-plus years, Bernie Sanders has been missing in action on issues of importance to the African-American community.”
And so it begins. Have you selected a candidate? Let us know in the comments.
SOURCE: Salon | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter