With the presidential race heating up between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton just got a boost with an endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Political Action Committee (PAC).
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), chairman of the CBC PAC, stated that 90 percent of its board voted in favor of endorsing Clinton, while the other 10 percent abstained.
Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), chairman of the CBC, contributed the endorsement to a pragmatic outlook of the election, claiming that while young voters are enamored with Sanders, he believes that “you’ve got to pierce the message to determine whether or not it’s realistic, given the political climate that we live in.” He believes Clinton possesses this realism.
During Thursday’s official endorsement, Meeks cited Clinton’s record as an individual during “her whole career…[fought] for issues that are important to the African-American community," including education and healthcare. Butterfield diminished Sanders’s efforts to reach out to the black community, declaring that, “We must have a president who understands the racial divide, not someone who just acquired the knowledge recently."
Clinton responded to the endorsement in a statement:
“I pledge a new and comprehensive commitment to equity and opportunity for communities of color. That means reforming our criminal justice system and rebuilding the bonds of trust between our communities and our law enforcement officials," she said. "But it also means making major new investments to create jobs, to make it easier to start and grow a small business, to end redlining in housing, and to build reliable public transit systems."
At least one member of the CBC was not in favor of the endorsement, however. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-M.N.) tweeted that the CBC PAC made the endorsement without input from all CBC members, which is true: only the CBC PAC board of 20 voted on the endorsement.
Cong'l Black Caucus (CBC) has NOT endorsed in presidential. Separate CBCPAC endorsed withOUT input from CBC membership, including me.— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) February 11, 2016
This endorsement is great news for Clinton, since in the wake of the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, she looks to be losing a bit of the firewall she built up. The support of various African-American members of Congress will ostensibly help cement the votes of African-Americans in Nevada and South Carolina.
Clinton suffered some blows yesterday, as scholar Michelle Alexander wrote a scathing editorial of why Clinton does not deserve the black vote, and acclaimed writer and activist Ta-Nehisi Coates said he would be voting for Sanders.
The endorsement helps put her campaign back on track, but she will still have to come out strongly in tonight’s Democratic debate in Wisconsin.
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