Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson offered his endorsement for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier today. The vote of support comes as Sanders hopes to regain his front-runner status after former Vice President Joe Biden‘s major win on Super Tuesday.
“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,” Jackson wrote in a statement, according to CNN.
“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,” he added.
But Jackson’s statement of endorsement was not just centered on Sanders. It also included an attack on Joe Biden, who has long been seen as the candidate favored by African Americans, a vital voting bloc in Democratic — and American — politics.
“The Biden campaign has not reached out to me or asked for my support,” Jackson wrote. “The Sanders campaign has, and they responded to the issues I raised.”
The rebuke comes months after a video surfaced showing Jackson seemingly refuse to return an embrace from Biden after the former vice president gave a speech on his civil rights record, via The Hill.
In another backhanded charge at Biden, Jackson emphasized a number specific policy points that he had discussed with Sanders as a major reason for his decision. Examples of those included the promise to impose a wealth tax that would help fund historically black colleges, nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court, and implement a single-payer health care system throughout the country.
New: Jesse Jackson endorses Bernie Sanders.
He says Biden didn’t reach out to him, then gives 13 reasons why he chose Sanders: pic.twitter.com/j3H6v8U68G
— Greg Krieg (@GregJKrieg) March 8, 2020
The endorsement is a major win for the Sanders campaign, as it could help put the Vermont senator on the map for more black Americans. Many politicos believe that it was support of South Carolina congressman James Clyburn that helped propel Biden to his big win in the primary; it remains to be seen whether Sanders will benefit from a similar boost.
Not an overstatement to say he singlehandedly changed the trajectory of this entire race. https://t.co/wH9yQ9TbRG
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 4, 2020
In hoping to take advantage of the Jackson endorsement, Sanders’ campaign and campaign surrogates were quick to highlight that the 78-year-old had previously endorsed Jackson in his own bid for president in 1988 — when he ironically ran against Joe Biden.
Bernie Sanders supported @RevJJackson in 1988. Bernie was physically assaulted for this speech.
Jesse Jackson went on to win Vermont. pic.twitter.com/0W8mzVBPtt
— People for Bernie (@People4Bernie) March 8, 2020
Meanwhile, though Sanders won Jesse Jackson’s endorsement, he did not win endorsement from Kamala Harris. The California senator and former presidential candidate added herself to the list of Biden supporters, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.