Civil Rights icon Rev Jesse Jackson has long held off making a formal endorsement in the Democratic primary, but he’s gone out of his way in the past to praise the tone of the Sanders campaign compared to Clinton’s efforts, as well as defending Sanders from dishonest attacks by Clinton surrogates looking to tarnish his record of civil rights activism.
He is meeting with both the Sanders campaign and the Clinton campaign before the voting kicks off in Illinois. I had expected this to be a non-partisan affair, with Jackson trying to push both candidates to support policies which could help the African American community and help boost voter registration and turnout.
Instead, when Jesse Jackson introduced Sanders, he praised his campaign’s civility and focus on “the issues that matter.” He told his audience to “choose hope, not fear,” mentioned a few of the issues highlighted by the Sanders campaign, and then, concluding his remarks, Jackson told his audience “say feel the Bern.” Both Sanders and Jackson’s faces light up with big smiles.
The tone of the statement and the audience reaction made it clear that this was an endorsement — or at in the very least, an endorsement in all but name.
I’m not surprised that Jackson is backing Sanders. Bernie has spent his entire life standing up for civil rights for oppressed people. As his most recent ad concludes, now its time for us to stand with him.