Jesse Jackson endorses Clinton despite controversial civil rights record

FILE PHOTO. Former US President Bill Clinton, his wife Hillary, and Rev Jesse Jackson. © Eric Miller
Civil rights activist Jesse Jackson endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Chicago Saturday, even though her platform and record conflicts with issues which he has been fighting for since the 1960s.

On the heels of endorsements from Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Barack Obama this week, the influential leader put his “trust” in the presumptive nominee who once called young black men “super-predators”.

“We trust her to work on healthcare, to fight for the poor...for the willingness to fight for civil rights,” he said. “We trust her to fight in the defence of children.”

While Jackson played up Clinton’s decades-old position at the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF), the organization’s founder Marian Wright Edelman previously slammed her for supporting the 1996 welfare reform as first lady, which drove millions of children into poverty.

The so-called Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act was a Republican bill that got rid of aid for families with dependent children, replacing it with temporary assistance.

“Hillary Clinton is an old friend, but (the Clintons) are not friends in politics,” Edelman told Democracy Now in 2007.

She explained that the CDF “profoundly disagreed with the forms of the welfare reform bill, and we said so.”

Clinton continues to tout the bill as a success, along with the Crime Act which led to the incarceration of millions of black Americans and paved the way for the for-profit prison system which donated her campaign before she was forced to stop taking their money last November.

Jackson endorsed Obama over Clinton in 2008, and both Clintons failed to endorse the civil rights leader during his own presidential bids in 1984 and 1988.

He did get an endorsement from the mayor of Burlington, Vermont at the time, Bernie Sanders, who backed him for “bringing together working people, minority groups, environmentalists, peace activists, farmers, and all people who are looking for fundamental changes in our current political and economic system and new national priorities.”

Earlier this year, Jackson described Sanders’ grassroots run for the White House as being like “the Jackson campaign with much more money and today’s technology and much more coverage in so many ways.”

Some social media users speculated why Jackson may be falling in line to support the Democratic party’s presumptive nominee.

Jackson called for a reconciliation between Clinton and Sanders during his speech at the Kids off the Block memorial for the hundreds of children killed by gun violence in Chicago, CBS Local reports.

While Obama has been accused of failing the Black community during his tenure given the surge in gang violence and police brutality, Clinton was targeted by #BlackLivesMatter activists during the primary campaign.

Her infamous “super-predator” comments made while defending the controversial Crime Bill in 1994 came back to haunt her, although not so much that she couldn’t secure the nomination with the help of Black voters and leaders.

Clinton’senabling of South Sudan’s use of child soldiers and push for the militarization of the African continent while Secretary of State are also at odds with those who believe #BlackLivesMatter.