Political Party/527

Jesse Jackson 1988 Presidential Campaign

Left-wing activist and preacher Jesse Jackson ran two campaigns for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1984 and 1988. The 1988 race was the more successful of the two attempts, with Jackson briefly taking first place in the delegate race after a strong showing in the 12-state “Super Tuesday” primaries. [1] He finished a strong second to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D) after winning 13 state primaries or caucuses and 29 percent of all votes cast in a race that featured five candidates winning at least one million votes. [2] [3] A 2019 NBC News history of the campaign observed that Jackson “emerged from the race as a pre-eminent force in Democratic politics.” [4] Just a few weeks after the 1988 general election, Jackson was invited to visit the White House for a meeting with Republican Vice President (and President-elect) George H.W. Bush—a meeting Bush prioritized two days before he gave a similar audience to Gov. Dukakis, the defeated Democratic nominee. [5]

Jackson’s 1988 campaign was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America;[6] democratic socialist[7] U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who was then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont;[8] and The Nation, a left-of-center opinion magazine. [9] On issues such as health care,[10] [11] national defense,[12] [13] social welfare spending,[14] abortion,[15] and U.S. relations with Israel,[16] Jackson advocated positions to the left of most or all other rivals for the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination. More than a quarter-century afterward, Jackson’s 1988 campaign is often credited with pushing the Democratic Party to the ideological left: a 2015 commentary in the Chicago Tribune noted that Democrats had largely abandoned the centrist positions on “free trade, balanced budgets, tougher crime laws, charter schools, [and] welfare restrictions” that had propelled Democratic President Bill Clinton to electoral success in the 1990s, and that “the Democratic Party is now closer to Jesse Jackson’s platform than Bill Clinton’s.” [17]

The election of President Barack Obama and the emergence of Bernie Sanders as a serious contender in Democratic Presidential politics are among the other enduring legacies often credited to Jackson’s 1988 race. Speaking to an Iowa newspaper in 2016, Sanders noted the historically important contribution Jackson’s 1988 campaign made in a state with few African Americans: “People forget about this, but Barack Obama would not be president today if Jesse Jackson didn’t come to Iowa.” [18] When asked in 2016 to name past campaigns he might learn from Sanders cited those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the 1988 Jesse Jackson effort. [19] When endorsing Jackson’s 1988 effort, Sanders declared it “the most significant presidential campaign in at least 50 years.” [20]

Background

Jesse Jackson is a left-wing activist, preacher, former associate of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and Democratic Party politician. He was born in 1941 and ordained a Baptist minister in 1968. He ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 1984 and 1988, and founded and leads the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. [21] [22]

1984 Campaign

Jackson first ran for President in 1984. In the 1984 Democratic Presidential primaries and caucuses, he finished with nearly 3.3 million votes, third in popular votes behind the eventual Democratic nominee, former Vice President Walter Mondale (6.8 million), and U.S. Senator Gary Hart of Colorado (6.5 million votes). [23]

One of Jackson’s motivations for running in 1984 was the fallout from the acrimonious 1980 Democratic Presidential primary contest in which incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter narrowly fended off a challenge from U.S. Sen. Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA). A 2019 NBC analysis of the race later stated that while the two white Democrats battled to win over the votes of African Americans, a “consensus” emerged that the Democratic Party was ignoring them:[24]

More broadly, though, the 1980 Democratic race convinced much of the black political community that it was being ignored, a sentiment that reached critical mass when both Carter and Kennedy — and every Republican candidate — skipped the late-February National Conference on a Black Agenda for the ’80s, which attracted 1,500 black leaders and activists from around the country. [25]

Civil rights leader and former Carter administration Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young addressed this gathering in place of the President and was booed by the audience. “If you boo, who the hell are you?” Young replied. “I’m going for Jimmy Carter. You can make up your own damn minds!”[26]

But NBC said the same crowd gave “one of the loudest ovations” for a speech made by Jackson, who told them the “presidential race” was “a three-ring circus between the Democrats, the Republicans and the media” and “an exercise in entertainment and a diversion from the real issues that affect the lives of Americans, especially black Americans.” [27]

Jackson has said his frustrations with the liberal wing of the Democratic party increased shortly afterward, during the 1983 Chicago mayoral race. Jackson, whose own activist outfits were based in Chicago, was a local organizer for the campaign of then-U.S. Congressman Harold Washington (D-IL), the eventual winner who became Chicago’s first African-American mayor. Washington’s rivals in the closely contested race were Richard Daley and Jane Byrne, both white Democrats who respectively received endorsements and campaign visits from U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and former Vice President Walter Mondale (then widely assumed to be a heavy favorite for the 1984 Democratic Presidential nomination). [28]

Jackson has said he had originally assumed Mondale and Kennedy would not get involved in the Chicago race, let alone line up so conspicuously against a promising African-American candidate. When proved wrong, he decided the liberal Democratic Party establishment needed to be sent a message: “If this is what liberal number one and liberal number two will do, we need to go in a new direction. Someone needs to run in the Presidential primary to challenge the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which had become morally bankrupt and began taking black voters for granted.” [29]

According to the NBC News analysis, the 1984 Jackson campaign was particularly successful at increasing African-American turnout in Democratic Presidential primaries:[30]

The Jackson campaign also featured an extensive voter registration drive, which increased black turnout and changed the composition of the Democratic electorate. In New Jersey, for example, black voters represented 20 percent of the June Democratic primary electorate — nearly triple the 7 percent they’d accounted for in 1980. [31]

The New York Times later reported Jackson had received 77 percent of all African-American votes cast in the 1984 primary race. [32]

1988 Decision

Jackson’s strong showing in the 1984 primaries placed him in a healthy position for the 1988 Democratic nomination contest. When he made his formal announcement in October 1987, a Gallup national poll of Democratic voters placed him first among likely 1988 Democratic Presidential candidates, with 19 percent support. Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D), the eventual Democratic nominee, finished second with 13 percent, and no other Democrat exceeded 8 percent. [33]

However, Jackson’s campaign was still considered a challenge to much of the Democratic establishment and even many prominent African-American Democrats who were part of that establishment.

Following the 1984 Presidential election, in which incumbent Republican President Ronald Reagan had won 49 of 50 states, a group of Democratic politicians formed the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) as an organization seeking to steer the Democratic Party toward a more centrist and business-friendly economic agenda. With the membership of future President Bill Clinton and future Democratic Vice Presidential nominees Al Gore and Joe Lieberman, the DLC swiftly grew in influence. Gore, for example, emerged as another strong contender for the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination. [34]

According to NBC News, Jackson was an “unabashed liberal often at odds with the DLC,” and began disparaging it as “Democrats for the Leisure Class.” [35]

And despite his success with African-American voters during the 1984 Democratic Presidential primaries, Jackson’s 1984 campaign was not warmly embraced by many prominent African American civil rights and Democratic Party figures. Among these were Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and Coretta Scott King, widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., who refused to endorse him. Jackson dismissed these detractors, saying “Gandhi didn’t go to the leaders for approval for his movement. Neither did Jesus.” [36]

This concern with prominent African-American Democrats carried over into the beginning of Jackson’s 1988 campaign. Coleman Young, the often glib and quotable mayor of Detroit, was particularly dismissive: “Jesse never ran nothing but his mouth.” [37]

1988 Campaign

Jackson finished second in the 1988 Democratic Presidential primary race, winning 13 state primaries or caucuses and almost 7 million votes—29 percent of all votes cast in a race that featured five candidates winning at least one million votes. The eventual Democratic nominee was Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis (D). [38] [39]

Jackson’s strong showing in many of the earliest state contests—and six outright victories—briefly propelled him into first place, ahead of Dukakis.

The 1988 Democratic Presidential primaries featured the first appearance of what has become known as “Super Tuesday,” a dozen mostly southern state primaries front-loaded onto a single day early in the nomination contest. According to NBC News, Super Tuesday was the “brainchild of the Democratic Leadership Council,” which hoped that biasing the process toward southern Democrats would “propel a moderate to the nomination.” [40]

Instead, the biggest winner was the left-leaning Jackson. In the multi-candidate Democratic field, he won an average of 10 percent of the white vote in the twelve states and tallied up huge percentages with African Americans—90 percent or better in ten of the twelve states. He won five of the Super Tuesday states, putting him a close second behind Dukakis. [41]

Shortly after Super Tuesday, Jackson won what NBC News characterized as a “landslide victory in Michigan’s caucuses,” which put him in first place and caused “Democratic leaders to confront the previously unimaginable possibility that Jackson might secure the nomination.” [42]

Polling

A Harris poll released in April 1988 revealed that 72 percent of Democratic voters agreed with the statement that Jackson was “the one candidate who is unafraid to speak up for the poor, the working people, and farmers who are having a hard time, for all the disadvantaged.” Additionally, 58 percent of Democrats polled agreed with the statement that Jackson “makes more sense when he debates than most of the other candidates for president in both parties.” [43]

A New York Times analysis of the Democratic race revealed both the successes of Jackson’s effort and some of the reasons he was unable to defeat Dukakis. [44]

Jackson received 31 percent of his total votes from white voters in 1988, compared to 20 percent in his 1984 effort. He won 92 percent of all votes cast by African Americans, improving upon an already strong 77 percent from 1984. Jackson also narrowly polled better among Democrats younger than 30, winning 38 percent to Dukakis’ 35 percent. [45]

However, Dukakis scored big wins with Democrats older than 60 (53 percent to Jackson’s 19 percent) and those identifying as moderate Democrats (47 percent to Jackson’s 25 percent). The candidates tied (41 percent each) among those identifying as liberals, the left-leaning wing of the electorate Jackson needed to win. [46]

Endorsements

Jackson’s 1988 campaign was endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America. His campaign staff had initially been reluctant to accept the leftist pressure group’s support, but were overruled by Jackson, who explained in 2015: “I didn’t feel the need to run from the word, ‘socialist,’ or run to the word, ‘capitalist.’”[47]

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, also endorsed Jackson in 1988. [48] Similarly, The Nation, a left-of-center magazine that later endorsed Sanders[49] for President in 2016, endorsed Jackson in 1988. [50]

Left-wing philosopher Cornel West and actress Margot Kidder also campaigned for Jackson. [51] [52]

Issues

Jackson’s 1988 campaign platform featured several policy positions that were ideologically to the left of his Democratic rivals for the nomination.

National Defense

Jackson proposed a moratorium on both missile flight tests and the testing of nuclear weapons. He also advocated a “no first strike” policy—a pledge that the United States would use nuclear weapons only if responding to a nuclear attack and would never initiate a nuclear confrontation. He also proposed a five-year freeze on defense spending and a cut of $150 billion from defense spending in Europe that would be paid for by shifting the defense spending burden to American allies. [53] [54]

Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis proposed to increase spending on conventional weapons. This increase in defense spending was part of his strategy to give the United States and its allies the capability to win a land war in Europe against the Soviet-aligned Warsaw Pact nations without the need to resort to nuclear weapons. [55]

Health Care

Jackson proposed the creation of a single-payer government-run national healthcare system. This proposal for total federal control of health care spending decisions placed Jackson well to the left of the health care policy proposed by Dukakis in 1988 and the policy proposed by Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee. [56] [57]

Taxes and Spending

Jackson proposed the creation of a federal investment bank backed by the assets of taxpayer-insured pension funds that would provide increased spending for infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and mass transit. A November 1987 New York Times profile noted that of the half dozen declared candidates for the 1988 Democratic Presidential nomination, Jackson was “the most unabashed advocate of increased Government spending for social programs, from farm subsidies to housing.” [58]

Jackson’s proposal to increase taxes was opposed by most Democrats who drafted the 1988 Democratic National Committee platform. Jackson’s supporters on the platform committee wrote a minority report endorsing his tax plan. Jackson advocated a $40 billion annual tax hike ($87 billion per year in 2019 dollars), with higher corporate taxes and higher personal tax rates targeted against 600,000 higher-income individuals. [59] [60]

Trade and Labor

A November 1987 New York Times profile placed Jackson to the left of most other 1988 Democratic Presidential candidates on the issues of trade and labor policy:[61]

Unlike most of the other candidates, who seem anxious to curry favor with the nation’s business community, Mr. Jackson vigorously attacks multinational corporations – American companies that build plants in countries like Taiwan and Hong Kong, sending American jobs overseas. Although he stresses that he does not favor protectionism, he argues that the lack of trade unionism in the industrialized third world should be considered an unfair trade practice. This and other Jackson proposals could lead to tariffs or other penalties that would protect goods manufactured in America. [62]

Jackson also endorsed a higher minimum wage and the creation of a so-called “comparable worth” pay regulation. [63]

Abortion Flip Flop

Prior to his 1988 campaign for President, Jackson had been an outspoken opponent of abortion. During a 1977 debate over federal abortion funding he sent a letter to Congress which stated “as a matter of conscience I must oppose the use of federal funds for a policy of killing infants.” According to the Washington Post, he spoke at the 1977 March for Life event and told the listeners: “What happens . . . to the moral fabric of a nation that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience.” [64]

Jackson had completely reversed this position by June 1987, when he was praised in a National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL) guidebook as one of just three anticipated 1988 Presidential candidates giving full support for abortion rights. Of the three (which included eventual 1988 Democratic nominee Michael Dukakis), NARAL stated they “completely understand and support the basic right of women to full reproductive rights.” Democratic candidates listed at that time with less strident support for abortion rights than Jackson included future Democratic Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joe Biden. [65]

Jackson was quoted in 1988 as saying women “must have freedom of choice over what to do over their bodies,” and “it is not right to impose private, religious and moral positions on public policy.” [66]

“No other candidate this season, fallen or still standing, has shifted positions as radically as Jackson on abortion,” said a May 1988 Washington Post report. “Nor has any reversal received less attention.” [67]

Relations with Israel

Jackson endorsed a separate autonomously governed state and self-determination for the Palestinian population residing in Israel. A November 1987 New York Times profile said he was the only candidate among the Democratic field to take this position. [68]

Controversies

Jackson’s ambivalent relationship with centrist Democrats led to some of the higher profile controversies in both of his Presidential campaigns.

New York’s Jewish Voters

Jackson’s relationship with the Jewish community suffered two significant setbacks during the 1984 campaign that reverberated into the 1988 race.

In a January 1984 interview with a Washington Post reporter Jackson referred to Jews as “Hymies” and New York City as “Hymietown.” Responding to the ensuing protests from the Jewish community, Jackson initially denied the remarks, then accused Jews of conspiring to defeat him, and finally apologized in late February while at a synagogue in New Hampshire, the home state of the “first in the nation” primary contest. [69]

Also, anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was a participant at official Jackson campaign events during most of Jackson’s 1984 campaign. According to the New York Times, “Farrakhan was starring at rallies in Mr. Jackson’s behalf” and  “Jackson brought the Muslim leader into his campaign with great fanfare, accompanying him and several dozen followers to Chicago City Hall to register to vote for the first time.” Farrakhan later stated his involvement with the Jackson campaign extended until May 5, 1984. [70]

The media, Jewish Americans, Jackson’s rivals for the Democratic nomination, and others questioned whether he agreed with Farrakhan’s routine tirades against Jews and Israel, such as calling Judaism a “gutter religion” and denouncing the creation of the state of Israel as an “outlaw act.” In June 1984, after the Democratic primaries had ended and former Vice President Walter Mondale had effectively secured the nomination, Jackson publicly repudiated Farrakhan’s statements. [71]

(Speaking on CNN during the controversy, Farrakhan asserted he had been misquoted, and thought it important to tell the network that he had used the phrase “dirty religion” when referring to Judaism, rather than “gutter religion.” [72])

The Farrakhan association and Jackson’s “Hymietown” remarks were resurrected at a critical point in the 1988 race, shortly before the New York Democratic Presidential Primary.

Jackson came into the New York contest as the surprising leader for the nomination, following a strong performance in the “Super Tuesday” primary states and a big win in the Michigan caucuses that had vaulted him to first place in the delegate count. New York Mayor Ed Koch, a centrist Jewish Democrat, enthusiastically endorsed Al Gore as his choice in the primary and said Jews “would be crazy” to support Jackson. [73]

While Jackson won 93 percent of African American votes cast in New York, Michael Dukakis decisively won the primary by 14 percentage points and reclaimed a delegate lead he would never again surrender. Jackson said “people were driven into hysteria” by Koch’s remarks. The New York primary became the first of many heavy electoral setbacks for Jackson in his quest to catch Dukakis, and—in hindsight—was effectively the place where Jackson’s chance of winning the nomination came to an end. [74]

Vice Presidential Selection

Just prior to the 1988 Democratic National Convention, presumptive nominee Michael Dukakis announced U.S. Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-TX) would be put forward as the Vice Presidential nominee on the Democratic ticket. The announcement that the spot would go to Bentsen, according to the Los Angeles Times, came just one day after Jackson—the second place finisher in the delegate count—stated publicly that he would accept the number two slot on the ticket if Dukakis offered it. [75]

Dukakis’ decision and the circumstances of how it was announced proved unpopular with Jackson and his supporters.

Jackson learned of the decision from reporters, before Dukakis called to inform him. Jackson convention manager Ron Brown said Jackson had anticipated being consulted about the decision before it had been made and was displeased when this did not happen. The L.A. Times said Jackson “pointedly refused to endorse” Bentsen before the convention because he “had no opportunity to discuss” it with Dukakis, and “vowed to see that his own name is placed in nomination at the Democratic convention.” [76]

The L.A. Times revealed that “Jackson headquarters in Chicago reported hundreds of angry calls from supporters, some of whom said they would not support the Democratic ticket.” Left-leaning Michigan Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D) denounced the Bentsen selection as an effort to “make the Democratic Party (only) slightly less conservative than the Republican Party.” And the president of the Beverly Hills-Hollywood NAACP chapter characterized it as a grand betrayal of African Americans: “They said that if you worked hard, got a good education, you should get promoted. America lied.” [77]

The acrimony over the Bentsen selection briefly led to the suspension of talks between the Jackson and Dukakis camps regarding the issues that would be included in the 1988 Democratic Party platform. [78]

A post-election report from the Chicago Tribune noted Jackson became a very popular surrogate for the Dukakis-Bentsen ticket, where “the crowds cheered him as though he were the nominee.” But this enthusiasm did not appear to translate over to the actual nominee running against incumbent Vice President George H.W. Bush:[79]

Curtis Gans, director of the nonpartisan Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, in Washington, said black voter turnout might have dropped as much as 20 percent since 1984, although those blacks who did vote cast ballots for Dukakis by a 9-to-1 ratio. The dropoff was especially evident in big cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago.

Chicago pollster Nick Panagakis said turnout in the 19 black wards of the city was about 64.5 percent, 10 points under 1984 and even lower than turnout in the 1982 off-year election. Panagakis` research indicated that Dukakis won 95.5 percent of the black vote but got 40,483 fewer votes than Walter Mondale in 1984 in those wards. [80]

Legacy

Contemporary Effects

In late November 1988, just a few weeks after the 1988 election, Jackson was one of a few special guests invited to visit the White House for a meeting with Republican Vice President (and President-elect) George H.W. Bush. A Chicago Tribune report noted the implied respect the visit showed to Jackson: “In Washington, where timing and appearances are everything, the measure of the moment’s importance was that it came two days before the defeated Democratic candidate, Michael Dukakis, would meet with Bush.” [81]

The Tribune said the photo-op of Jackson and Bush shaking hands outside the White House sent “all the right signals” for “two powerful political figures” who were there to “make peace and talk business.” The newspaper quoted a Howard University political science professor who analyzed Bush’s motive for offering the high-profile meeting: “Jackson is the undisputed heavyweight champion of a substantial constituency. If I were George Bush, the first thing I`d do is figure out “How did this black guy get so many white votes?””[82]

A 2019 NBC News history of the campaign observed that Jackson “emerged from the race as a pre-eminent force in Democratic politics.” [83]

The “substantial constituency” Jackson built remained highly influential decades later. Many analysts have credited it with altering the general direction of the Democratic Party and specifically benefitting  the Democratic presidential campaigns of President Barack Obama and democratic socialist U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Democratic Party Ideology

“In many ways,” declared a 2015 commentary in the Chicago Tribune, “the Democratic Party is now closer to Jesse Jackson’s platform than Bill Clinton’s.” The writer listed several of the abandoned positions that once propelled the Democratic President to success: “The centrist tenets of the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council that Clinton embodied — free trade, balanced budgets, tougher crime laws, charter schools, welfare restrictions — have all fallen out of favor with Democratic primary voters.” [84]

Similarly, in April 2017 writer David Masciotra interviewed Jackson for a Daily Beast story titled “The Unsung Heroism of Jesse Jackson.” Speaking of the influence of Jackson’s two presidential campaigns, Masciotra wrote they “included many positions that, at the time, were “extreme” or “radical”, but have since become mainstream.” Increasing the minimum wage, support for government-run health care, and defense cuts were among the issues he noted. [85]

Bernie Sanders Presidential Campaigns

Salim Muwakkil, the senior editor of the socialist magazine In These Times, covered Jackson’s 1988 campaign as a reporter. In a June 2018 commentary titled “Before Bernie, There Was Jesse,” he reported that “many progressives see similarities” between Jackson’s populism and Bernie Sanders and believe it “might be just the thing to trump Trump.” [86]

Similarly, a March 2019 Politico analysis of Sanders was titled “What Jesse Taught Bernie About Running for President.” One of the sources interviewed was left-leaning commentator and former Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower (D), who, like Sanders, endorsed Jackson for President in 1988. Asked if there were “echoes” of Jesse in Bernie, Hightower replied “Loud and clear,” and further noted both campaigns had a “clear sense of who you’re trying to help, and a clear sense of who you’re willing to piss off.” [87]

Another prominent left-leaning observer to note the strong parallels was Sanders himself. In an interview with an Iowa newspaper prior to the 2016 Iowa caucuses, he was asked to name past campaigns he might learn from and he cited those of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the 1988 Jesse Jackson effort. [88]

When he endorsed Jackson in 1988, Sanders declared it to be “the most significant presidential campaign in at least 50 years” and said the issues Jackson was addressing were of “far greater significance” than any other candidate. [89]

On the eve of the 1988 Vermont caucuses, Sanders (then the mayor of Burlington) circulated an endorsement flyer praising Jackson for policy proposals that would “end the growing disparity between the rich and the poor,” “establish a national health care system,” “significantly reduce our military budget,” and “change the direction of American foreign policy and become an ally of the struggling peoples of the Third World, not their oppressor.” Each of these themes would be emphasized in both of Sanders’ presidential campaigns more than a quarter century later. [90]

Though Vermont had just a tiny percentage of African Americans—Jackson’s traditional base of support—Jackson won the 1988 Vermont caucuses. “Bernie endorsed me in ’88, and I won Vermont, at a time that [endorsing Jackson] wasn’t a popular thing to do,” said Jackson before the 2016 Iowa caucuses. [91]

Aside from his own campaigns for the White House, Sanders’ involvement on behalf of Jackson in the 1988 Vermont Democratic caucuses was the only other instance of him working within the Democratic Party electoral process. A self-described democratic socialist, Sanders has run as an independent in each of his campaigns for U.S. Congress and the U.S. Senate. Asked in 1988 why he was willing to take the unprecedented step of participating in the Democratic caucus process, he said the campaign was an extraordinary situation where “you’ve got to be flexible” because “life-and-death issues” were at stake. [92] [93]

A University of Vermont political science professor told Politico the Jackson 1988 race provided a “breakthrough” for Sanders regarding the possibility of working within the Democratic Party: “That was really a wake-up call that Bernie could deal with the Democratic Party … and had some power to influence voters, and influence voters within the Democratic Party, as opposed to his general stance of blatant opposition to the Democratic Party.” [94]

Election of President Obama

Jackson’s accomplishments in 1988 and the coalition of voters he built has also been credited as helping make possible the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American U.S. President.

Writing of his 2017 interview with Jackson for the Daily Beast, David Masciotra said Jackson’s drive to briefly occupy the front of the Democratic field in 1988 “poured the foundation for the concrete road Obama would ride to victory twenty years later.” [95]

Speaking to an Iowa newspaper in 2016, Bernie Sanders noted the historically important contribution Jackson’s 1988 campaign made in a state with few African Americans: “People forget about this, but Barack Obama would not be president today if Jesse Jackson didn’t come to Iowa. That was a guerrilla-type campaign that clearly didn’t have resources but had incredible energy.” Back in 1988, Sanders also heaped praise upon Jackson’s ability to build a diverse coalition, calling him “a candidate who is creating a historic coalition, of working people, of poor people, of women, of minorities, of students, of farmers, of peace advocates, of environmentalists.” [96]

Campaign Personnel

Jackson’s presidential campaigns provided a springboard for the future careers of two former heads of the Democratic National Committee. Donna Brazile, a longtime Democratic strategist and former chair of the Democratic National Committee, was a field director for Jackson’s 1984 Presidential race. And Ron Brown, later Clinton administration Secretary of Commerce and the first African American chair of the Democratic National Committee, headed up Jackson’s 1988 delegation at the Democratic National Convention. [97]

References

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  4. Kornacki, Steve. “1988: Jackson mounts a serious challenge, but a loss in one state ends the quest.” NBC News. July 29, 2019. Accessed January 2, 2020. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/1988-jackson-mounts-serious-challenge-loss-one-state-ends-quest-n1029601 ^
  5. Tackett, Michael; and Charles M. Madigan. “WHAT NEXT FOR JESSE JACKSON? PLENTY.” Chicago Tribune. December 25, 1988. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1988-12-25-8802270082-story.html ^
  6. Nicholas, Peter. “Socialism Network Finds New Friends.” Wall Street Journal. December 11, 2015. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.wsj.com/articles/socialism-network-finds-new-friends-1449862135 ^
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  11. Matthews, Dylan. “Democrats are increasingly endorsing single-payer health care. Hillary Clinton is not.” Vox. September 13, 2017. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/13/16297454/hillary-clinton-single-payer-vox-interview ^
  12. Shepard, Robert. “Jesse Jackson won agreement from Democratic presidential nominee Michael…” UPI. July 19, 1988. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://www.upi.com/Archives/1988/07/19/Jesse-Jackson-won-agreement-from-Democratic-presidential-nominee-Michael/5105585288000/ ^
  13. Dillon, John. “Jackson and the platform. He pushes for planks, but won’t disrupt the convention.” Christian Science Monitor. June 24, 1988. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.csmonitor.com/1988/0624/ajak.html ^
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  15. “2 GROUPS LIST CANDIDATES’ VIEWS ON ABORTION.” New York Times. June 4, 1987. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/1987/06/04/us/2-groups-list-candidates-views-on-abortion.html ^
  16. Purnick, Joyce; and Michael Oreskes. “JESSE JACKSON AIMS FOR THE MAINSTREAM.” New York Times. November 29, 1987. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/1987/11/29/magazine/jesse-jackson-aims-for-the-mainstream.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm ^
  17. Barry, Francis. “Before Donald Trump, there was Jesse Jackson.” Chicago Tribune. December 29, 2015. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.chicagotribune.com/opinion/commentary/ct-jesse-jackson-donald-trump-20151229-story.html ^
  18. Kruse, Michael. “What Jesse Taught Bernie About Running for President.” Politico. March 15, 2019. Accessed January 8, 2020. https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/15/bernie-sanders-2020-race-jesse-jackson-1988-presidential-campaign-225809 ^
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  21. Berman, Mark; and Vanessa Williams. “Jesse Jackson says he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.” Washington Post. November 17, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/11/17/jesse-jackson-announces-he-has-parkinsons-disease/?utm_term=.64cd56496642 ^
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  24. Kornacki, Steve. “1980: Carter vs. Kennedy left African Americans feeling ignored.” NBC News. July 29, 2019. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/1980-carter-vs-kennedy-left-african-americans-feeling-ignored-n1029591 ^
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  28. Masciotra, David. “The Unsung Heroism of Jesse Jackson.” The Daily Beast. April 14, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-unsung-heroism-of-jesse-jackson ^
  29. Masciotra, David. “The Unsung Heroism of Jesse Jackson.” The Daily Beast. April 14, 2017. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-unsung-heroism-of-jesse-jackson ^
  30. Kornacki, Steve. “1984: Jesse Jackson’s run for the White House and the rise of the black voter.” NBC News. July 29, 2019. Accessed December 30, 2019. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/1984-jesse-jacksons-run-white-house-rise-black-voter-n1029596 ^
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  32. Dionne Jr., E. J. “Jackson Share of Votes By Whites Triples in ’88.” New York Times. June 13, 1988. Accessed January 2, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/06/13/us/jackson-share-of-votes-by-whites-triples-in-88.html ^
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