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A Very Political Podcast.

History might be written by the winners, but presidential politics is often shaped by the Long Shots. In a new podcast series from Inside Voices, veteran journalist Conor Powell and executive producer Gary Scott explore eight presidential candidates who lost the race for the White House but permanently changed America’s political landscape – right up to today.

Available on:

Jesse Jackson: The Rainbow Coalition

How Jesse Jackson's 1984 bid for the White House forever changed the face of the Democratic Party.

In 1984, the Rev. Jesse Jackson was given no chance of winning his bid for the Democratic Party nomination. The Civil Rights activist was a black man on the outside of the African-American political establishment, running in an era of corporate triumphalism and Top Gun-style patriotism. But to the cries of “run, Jesse, run," Jackson launched an improbable campaign for the White House. On his way, he assembled a Rainbow Coalition of supporters that not only changed the face of the Democratic Party but changed the perception of who could be a national presidential candidate - making the winning campaign of Barack Obama possible three decades later. WARNING: This episode contains racial epithets used to provide historical and journalistic context.

Jesse Jackson: The Rainbow Coalition Transcript

PART I:

**Jesse Jackson ***
“there was another unlikely scene in Alabama, as Jesse Jackson and George Wallace posed together for pictures. It was not so unlikely for a name thinking of running for president. Not Wallace this time but Jackson.

IN MAY OF 1983, JESSE JACKSON ARRIVED IN MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA.

THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST WAS WELCOMED TO THE CAPITAL OF SOUTHERN RESISTANCE WITH A HOSPITALITY RARELY EVER AFFORDED TO AFRICAN AMERICANS.

ALABAMA’S GOVERNOR, GEORGE C. WALLACE, WHO ONCE DECLARED

***George Wallace ***
Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever

SERVED JACKSON ICE TEA FROM A SILVER PITCHER ON THE POARCH OF THE GOVERNOR’S MANSION.

THE NEXT DAY JACKSON WOULD BECOME THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN SINCE RECONSTRUCTION TO ADDRESS THE ALABAMA STATE LEGISLATURE.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
It was the Rev. Jesse Jackson who called it a historic day.

EIGHTEEN YEARS EARLIER, JACKSON MADE A VISIT TO ALABAMA UNDER VERY DIFFERENT CIRCUMSTANCES.

****Bloody Sunday SOT***

ALONG WITH MARTIN LUTHER KING JUNIOR AND THOUSANDS OF OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS, JACKSON ARRIVED IN THE HEART OF DIXIE IN THE AFTERMATH OF BLOODY SUNDAY.

ON THAT VIOLENT MARCH DAY IN 1965, JUST AS THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS REACHED THE CREST OF SELMA’S EDMUND PETTUS BRIDGE,

THAT SAME HOSPITABLE GOVERNOR, GEORGE C. WALLACE, ORDERED BATON-WIELDING STATE TROOPERS TO ATTACK THE FIVE HUNDRED OR SO PEACEFUL PROTESTORS MARCHING FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

17 WERE SEVERELY INJURED, INCLUDING FUTURE CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS.

IN A TURN THAT THOSE MARCHERS COULD HARDLY HAVE FORESEEN, THE SOUTHERN POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT THAT SENT THE BATONS INTO CROWDS NOW WELCOMED JACKSON ON HIS DRIVE TO REGISTER BLACK VOTERS ACROSS THE SOUTH.

*** Jesse Jackson***
“There is. A freedom Train a coming. A freedom Train a coming. But you got to register to ride. But you got to register to ride.

THE POLITICAL ABOUT FACE BY WALLACE AND HIS ALLIES WAS NOT A MATTER OF CONSCIENCE.

BUT RATHER A STARK REALIZATION OF THE GROWING INFLUENCE AND POTENTIAL OF BLACK VOTERS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

IN THE YEARS FOLLOWING THE 1965 VOTING RIGHTS ACT -SOME FOUR MILLION BLACKS REGISTERED TO VOTE.

WITH THE FERVOR OF A COUNTRY CHURCH REVIVALIST, JACKSON HOPED TO ENROLL AT LEAST THAT MANY NEW VOTERS BEFORE THE NOVEMBER 1984 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.

HIS GOAL – TO GIVE AFRICAN AMERICAS A VOICE, A MEANINGFUL VOICE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AND AMERICA’S FUTURE.

JACKSON BEGAN HIS VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVE ON A SHOESTRING BUDGET.

***Frank Watkins***
“We literally had no money. Often times we would raise the money in the rally to pay for the hotel that night and put gas in the vehicle to get us to the next spot.”

THOUGH LACKING IN MONEY, JACKSON’S SOUTHERN TOUR FOLLOWED THE PATH PREVIOUSLY LAID OUT BY THE CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT HE’D BEEN A PART OF – RELYING ON AFRICAN AMERICAN CHURCHES AND CHURCH GOERS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“These black women would cook all day and they would have greens, potato salad corn bread. We on the press corps so gained so much weight traveling on that campaign.

EXCITEMENT AMONG BLACK VOTERS GREW AS WORD SPREAD OF JACKSON’S CHARISMA AND THE ONCE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBILITY HE MIGHT RUN FOR PRESIDENT

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“Here you had a guy that black people could really get excited and get behind about in a way that no democratic mainstream democratic candidate could.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“He brought out huge crowds in these churches. I can’t remember one church where it wasn’t standing room only.

WITH EACH STOP, JACKSON’S REGISTRATION CAMPAIGN SIGNED UP THOUSANDS.

HIS FLIRTATION WITH THE PRESIDENCY ONLY ADDED TO THE ENTHUSIASM OF THESE NEW VOTERS

***Jack White**
He was starting to give this speech in which he raised the possibility of a presidential campaign

***Jack White ***
He was starting to get this reaction from audiences mostly in the churches where he was speaking. This chant.

***Run Jesse Run*
“Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run.”

***Frank Watkins***
At some point along the way, I don’t remember exactly, somebody in the audience started chanting, Run Jesse Run. And it happened and a camera was there. It picked up and then it got reported. from there it just ballooned out of control. Everywhere we went it was “run Jesse run.”

***Run Jesse Run***
“Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run. Run Jesse Run.”

JACKSON WOULD RUN

AND ALMOST OVER NIGHT, HE CHANGED THE PERCEPTION OF WHO COULD BE A NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

THE RAINBOW COALITION OF SUPPORTERS HE ASSEMBLED SOME THIRTY-FIVE YEARS AGO IS NOW REFLECTED IN THE FACES AND BACKGROUNDS OF TODAY’S DEMOCRATIC CONTENDERS.

JESSE JACKSON, THE LONGEST OF LONGSHOTS, LED A NEW MOVEMENT.

AND IN DOING SO CHANGE THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY – AND AMERICA – FOREVER

***Jack White ***
You could feel more than anything else. It was a feeling that this thing was exciting a lot of black folks in a way that nothing had excited them in long while.

PART II:

WHEN THE SOUTHERN DEMOCRAT FROM GEORGIA JIMMY CARTER WAS ELECTED PRESIDENT IN 1976, AMERICA WAS IN TATTERS.

***Peace Protest***
“peace now peace now peace now”

RIPPED APART BY THE BATTLES OVER CIVIL RIGHTS, THE VIETNAM WAR AND WATERGATE.

THE NATION’S STRUGGLING ECONOMY ONLY MADE THINGS WORSE –
AS THE POST WORLD WAR TWO ECONOMIC BOOM CAME TO A GRINDING HALT.

HIGH INFLATION HIT THOSE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE ECONOMIC LADDER HARDEST.
AND THE WORLD WIDE ENERGY CRISIS CAUSED PRICE OF OIL TO DOUBLE.

*** Long Lines SOT***
Anger and be wilderment as more and more Americans cope with gasoline lines and empty pumps

****Woman Carter PKG***
“Isn’t this disgusting. Why doesn’t anyone contact the president. Why is he letting this happen to us

NONE OF THIS WAS CARTER’S FAULT

BUT CARTER REJECTED PAST LIBERAL STIMULUS PROGRAMS LIKE ROOSEVELT’S NEW DEAL TO JUMPSTART AMERICA’S ECONOMY.

INSTEAD OPTING TO IMPROVE THE FEDERAL BALANCE SHEET BY CONTROLLING GOVERNMENT SPENDING.

UNION WORKERS AND BLACKS – THE BEDROCK OF THE DEMOCRATIC COALITION – WERE SUFFERING.

CARTER’S ECONOMIC POLICIES WERE FAILING -OPENING THE DOOR TO A PROGRESSIVE CHALLENGER

***Frank Watkins ***
“Carter was a Conservative, or moderate southern governor in Georgia.”

***Frank Watkins ***
Moderate Southerns are very conservative democrats beyond the South.

THAT IS FRANK WATKINS, IN 1984, HE WAS JESSE JACKSON’S NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY.

WATKINS IS REALLY THE ONE WHO GETS THE BALL ROLLING HERE.

***Frank Watkins***
“I actually tried to get the Rev to run in 1980 against Jimmy Carter. And my argument then, was it was time we got a real democrat in the White House.”

THE REVEREND, OF COURSE, IS JACKSON.

PROGRESSIVES WERE INCREASINGLY UNHAPPY WITH CARTER’S POLICIES AND POLITICAL STYLE -WHICH WAS ANYTHING BUT INSPIRING.

***Jimmy Carter***
“Reducing the deficit will require difficult and unpleasant decision. We must face a time of national austerity. Hard choices are necessary.”

BY 1980, PROGRESSIVES SAW AN OPENING TO RETAKE THE PRESIDENCY … EVEN IF MEANT TAKING IT FROM A FELLOW DEMOCRAT.

MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR TED KENNEDY – LAUNCHED A BRAZEN PRIMARY CHALLENGE AGAINST THE SITTING PRESIDENT.

***Ted Kennedy***
“No more high interest rates, no more high inflation and no more Jimmy Carter.”

WATKINS URGED JACKSON TO RUN AS WELL

NOW – WATKINS DIDN’T BELIEVE JACKSON COULD ACTUALLY WIN THE PRESIDENCY IN 1980.

BUT THE PROGRESSIVE POLITICAL STRATEGIST WANTED JACKSON TO RUN IN ORDER TO PULL THE BLACK VOTE OUT FROM CARTER -AND THROW THE NOMINATION TO KENNEDY.

JACKSON RESISTED THE PLAN.

***Frank Watkins***
“He liked Jimmy Carter and wouldn’t do it. Indeed 84 he didn’t necessarily want to do it then.”

FOUR YEARS LATER, AFTER CARTER HAD BEEN DRUBBED BY REAGAN IN 1980 -A CONSERVATIVE RENAISSANCE WAS TAKING SHAPE.

***Ronald Reagan ***
“And I have only one thing to say to the tax increasers: Go ahead, make my day.”

WHILE THE OVERALL U-S ECONOMY BOOMED UNDER REAGAN, HIS DOMESTIC BUDGET CUTS LEFT MANY AT THE BOTTOM WORSE OFF

WHILE THE WHITE HOUSE’S HOSTILITY TOWARDS ENSURING CIVIL RIGHTS ONLY STRENGTHEN PROGRESSIVE CALLS FOR A CANDIDATE OF THEIR OWN.

JACKSON SHARED WATKIN’S VIEW THAT THE TIME WAS RIGHT FOR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN TO RUN FOR THE PRESIDENCY TO ENERGIZE THEIR COMMUNITY.

THE ELECTORAL MATH WAS ON THEIR SIDE AS WELL.

IF BLACK VOTER PARTICIPATION IN 1984 INCREASED BY JUST 25 PERCENT, REAGAN’S SOUTHERN BASE OF SUPPORT – TENNESSEE, ALABAMA, NORTH CAROLINA AND SOUTH CAROLINA – COULD EASILY BE FLIPPED DEMOCRAT’S WAY.

SAME HELD TRUE WITH NEW YORK AND MASSACHUSETTS.

JACKSON INTENDED TO ENERGIZE AND MOBILIZE THESE MOSTLY POOR AND BLACK VOTERS, WHO HAD LONG SAT OUT OF POLITICS.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“the issues that impact the black and the poor will not be on the back burner next time around. Somebody must defend the poor. Whenever you defend the black you defend the poor by definition”

JACKSON INITIALLY TRIED TO CONVINCE OTHER ESTABLISHED BLACK POLITICIANS TO DO IT.

ATLANTA MAYOR – ANDY YOUNG -SCOFFED AT THE IDEA.

OTHERS FEARED BEING EMBARRASSED OR, WORSE, ASSASSINATED.

FAILING IN HIS CAMPAIGN TO RECRUIT ANOTHER CANDIDATE, JACKSON DECIDED HE MIGHT HAVE TO BE THE CHANGE HE WAS LOOKING FOR.

PART III:

*** Jesse Jackson ****
“It is time for a new course, a new coalition, a new leadership. Somebody got to rise above race. Rise above sex. A new leadership. A Choice. A Chance.”

JESSE JACKSON’S PRESIDENTIAL AMBITIONS FACED STIFF INTERNAL RESISTANCE FROM BOTH THE WHITE AND BLACK DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT.

THE SOUTH -BORN BAPTIST PREACHER CAME UP THROUGH THE RANKS OF MARTIN LUTHER KING’S -SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE- AND WAS STANDING WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS ICON WHEN HE WAS ASSASSINATED IN 1968.

BY ALL ACCOUNTS, SAYS SYLVESTER MONROE THEN OF NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE, KING, THOUGHT HIGHLY OF JACKSON.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“He was one of King’s Lieutenants. Smart. Some said brilliant but also brash. And very ambitious.”

BUT JACKSON’S AMBITION RUBBED MANY IN KING’S INNER CIRCLE THE WRONG WAY.

SOME IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT FELT JACKSON WAS TOO INDEPENDENT- AND A LITTLE TOO AGGRESSIVE IN HIS PURSUIT OF A MICROPHONE.

IN THE HOURS AFTER KING’S MURDER, THE 26-YEAR OLD JACKSON, WEARING A BLOOD-SOAKED SWEATSHIRT, TOLD REPORTERS, HE WAS THE LAST PERSON TO SPEAK TO REV. KING AND HE ALONE HAD CRADLED THE DYING CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST IN HIS ARMS.

JACKSON WAS NO DOUBT BY KING’S SIDE, BUT OTHER CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS COMPLAINED HIS ACCOUNT WAS EMBELLISHED.

FOLLOWING KING’S DEATH, JACKSON WAS SENT ON A MISSION FAR AWAY FROM HIS PEERS AT THE SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN LEADERSHIP CONFERENCE.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“So as both a slap and as a reward to get him away from everybody from SCLC they made him the head of operation bread basket in Chicago.

IN CHICAGO, JACKSON TURNED HIS EYE TOWARDS IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS

HE ORGANIZED BOYCOTTS AS A WAY TO PRESSURE WHITE BUSINESSES TO HIRE MORE BLACKS EMPLOYEES- EARNING PRAISE FROM AFRICAN AMERICANS.

IN THE 1970S, WITH THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT GROWING HE ALSO, EARNED A REPUTATION AMONG MANY WHITES AS A TROUBLE MAKER, AN AGITATOR.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
Here was a good looking guy. Tall, strapping he was nobody’s sort of shuffling Negro

WHITE AMERICANS KNEW JACKSON BEST FROM HIS APPEARANCE AT THE 1972 WATTS STAX BLACK MUSIC FESTIVAL.

SPORTING AN AFRO, AND WEARING AN AFRICAN DASHIKI, JACKSON LED A PACKED LOS ANGELES COLISEUM IN A PRIMAL SCREAM OF BLACK SOLIDARITY.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“but I am somebody, I am black. Beautiful. Proud. I must be respected. I must be protected What time is it. Nation time.

WE ALL KNOW, EVEN TODAY, HOW PARTS OF AMERICA VIEW AMBITIOUS, VOCAL AND PROUD MEN AND WOMEN OF COLOR.

IN THE 1970S AND 80S, ANY SHOW OF BLACK SOLIDARITY SENT TREMORS THROUGH WHITE AMERICA.

I ASKED FORMER CNN CORRESPONDENT CHARLES BIERBAUER, WHO COVERED JACKSON, IF HE THOUGHT THE IDEA OF JACKSON RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 1984 SCARED WHITE VOTERS.

***Charles Bierbauer***
“Did he scare some white people, sure. Which white people did he scare, the ones that thought this would be the downfall the Republic.

SO IF THERE IS CERTAIN –OH -FOX NEWS WATCHING DEMOGRAPHIC – THAT IS SCARED TO DEATH **TODAY** OF PEOPLE OF COLOR. MULTIPLE THAT NUMBER BY- A LOT.

AND THAT WAS THE WAY MANY – NOT ALL –BUT MANY WHITES OF EVERY POLITICAL PERSUASION VIEWED JACKSON.

BY THE TIME HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT, JACKSON DRESSED LIKE THE OTHER CANDIDATES, IN A TRADITIONAL SUIT

BUT HIS FLAMBOYANT STYLE WAS STILL EXTREMELY POLARIZING -BOTH IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND AMERICA AT LARGE.

PART IV:

*** Jesse Jackson ****
“Eight democrats running for the nomination, this time around you got a chance and a choice.”

HEADING INTO THE 1984 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY THERE WERE TWO CANDIDATES WHO LOOKED LIKE THE SERIOUS CONTENDERS FOR THE NOMINATION.

JACKSON WAS NOT ONE OF THEM.

***Walter Mondale***
“I know the American people and I am ready; I am ready to be president.”

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE HAD THE BACKING OF THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT

THE LIBERAL STALWART WAS THE CLEAR FRONT RUNNER.

THE OTHER LEADING CONTENDER WAS OHIO SENATOR JOHN GLENN – WHO HAD THE RESUME OF A PRESIDENT AND EXCITED D-C INSIDERS BUT FEW GRASSROOT ACTIVISTS.

GLENN HAD BEEN A WORLD WAR TWO FIGHTER PILOT AND WAS THE FIRST AMERICAN ASTRONAUT TO ORBIT THE EARTH.

**John Glenn***
“all systems are go.”

SO AS POLITICAL BACKGROUNDS GO, THAT IS PRETTY IMPRESSIVE.

JACKSON’S NATIONAL PRESS SECRETARY FRANK WATKINS SAW A POTENTIAL OPPORTUNITY WITH GLENN.

***Frank Watkins***
My strategy was to pull Mondale’s progressive base out from under him and hopefully Glenn would pull his conservative base out from underneath him, and the main thing we would pull his African American base out from underneath him. Which could potentially knock him out of the race and put Glenn into the lead.

LIKE JIMMY CARTER, GLENN WAS A CONSERVATIVE DEMOCRAT

AND SO IF HE CATAPULTED PAST MONDALE, GLENN WOULD LIKELY NEED A PROGRESSIVE STANDARD BEARER AS VICE PRESIDENT TO UNITE THE PARTY, OR AT LEAST WATKINS HOPED HE WOULD.

***Frank Watkins ***
I don’t think I was this naïve that the progressive forces in the Democratic Party would then turn to Jackson. A more likely scenario is he would build up progressive forces and the necessary African American vote and wind up as the Vice Presidential candidate on a Glenn ticket.

EVEN JACKSON’S BIGGEST BACKER SAW THE VICE PRESIDENCY AS THE BEST SHOT.

TO DO THIS, THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN HAD TO SOLIDIFY THE AFRICAN AMERICAN BASE

BUT MANY OF THE LEADING BLACK POLITICIANS AROUND THE COUNTRY HAD ALREADY SIGNED UP TO SUPPORT MONDALE.

LEAVING JACKSON WITH LITTLE CHOICE BUT TO BUILD AN ALTERNATIVE MOVEMENT FROM SCRATCH.

***Tom Brokaw***
“the Rev. Jesse Jackson made it official today in front of three thousand cheering singing admirers saying I can run for the democratic nomination.”

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“The voice of duty has whispered. Thy must. I rise to declare that I can and announce to you this day my decision to seek the nomination of the Democratic party for the presidency of the United States.”

THE 42-YEAR-OLD CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER LAUNCHED HIS CAMPAIGN IN NOVEMBER OF 1983.

JACKSON ASSEMBLED AN INEXPERIENCED STAFF AND HAD FEW PROMINENT SUPPORTERS.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
“when he announced his campaign in 1983 no really took him serious.”

SUPPORT WAS HARD TO COME BY.

MOST OF THE BLACK CONGRESSIONAL CAUCUS HAD ALREADY ENDORSED MONDALE.

WHILE CIVIL RIGHTS ICONS LIKE CORETTA SCOTT KING AND JULIAN BOND ALSO REFUSED TO ENDORSE JACKSON – MANY QUESTIONED WHY HE WOULD RUN AGAINST A LIBERAL ALLY.

JACKSON WAS ON HIS OWN.

HIS RESPONSE, TO THESE SNUBS FORESHADOWED HOW HE INTENDED TO RUN HIS CAMPAIGN –

SAYING GANDHI DIDN’T GO TO THE LEADERS FOR APPROVAL AND NEITHER DID JESUS.

THESE BOLD COMPARISONS DID LITTLE TO QUELL CONCERNS ABOUT JACKSON’S BRASHNESS.

*** Jesse Jackson ****
“pick up your sling shot. Pick up your rock. Declare our time as come. A new day has begun. Red, yellow, black, and white. We are all precious in god’s eyes. Our time has come-”

NOT SURPRISINGLY WHITE POLITICIANS ALSO STAYED AWAY.
STILL, ON THE DAY HE ANNOUNCED HIS CANDIDACY, JACKSON STOOD ON THE PODIUM SURROUNDED BY AN ETHNICALLY DIVERSE KALEIDOSCOPE OF AMERICA –

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA DESCRIBED IT AS THE BEGINNING OF A POLITICAL CRUSADE.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“Blacks, women, Hispanics, workers, Indians, Chinese, Filipinos–we must come together and form the rainbow coalition. We need each other.”

AT THE HEART OF JACKSON’S CAMPAIGN WAS AN ARGUMENT THAT BOTH PARTIES HAD TAKEN PEOPLE OF COLOR FOR GRANTED FOR TOO LONG- BUT ESPECIALLY THE DEMOCRATS.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“We want our share position at every level and every state. We can do without the Democratic or Republican party. They cannot do without us. We are necessary. We must assert ourselves. Our time has come.”

HOWEVER, THE SUPPORT OF HIS MOST PROMINENT BACKER, WOULD LEAD TO ACCUSATIONS OF ANTI-SEMITISM AND WOULD CAST A DARK SHADOW OVER JACKSON’S CAMPAIGN FOR MONTHS TO COME.

PART IV:

JESSE JACKSON THE POLITICIAN WAS AS CONTROVERSIAL AS JESSE JACKSON THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST.

NOT ONLY FOR WHAT HE SAID AND HOW HE SAID IT, BUT ALSO WHO HE SAID IT WITH.

IF JACKSON WAS CONTROVERSIAL, THEN HIS FRIEND AND SUPPORTER LOUIS FARRAKHAN WAS RADIOACTIVE.

***Louis Farrakhan ***
“we and white people are mortal enemies”

***Louis Farrakhan ***
The Satanic Jews they control everything. And mostly everybody.

THE LEADER OF THE NATION OF ISLAM HAS A LONG HISTORY OF ANTI-SEMITIC RHETORIC AND BIGOTED LANGUAGE.

***Louis Farrakhan ***
Now that nation called Israel, never had peace in forty years. Never have any peace. There can be no peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying, deceit and using the name of god to shield your gutter religion under his holy righteous name.

IN THE EARLY DAYS OF THE CAMPAIGN, FARRAKHAN WAS OFTEN BY JACKSON’S SIDE.

THE TWO ACTIVISTS HAD BEEN FRIENDS FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.

REMEMBER, JACKSON NEEDED TO FIND SUPPORT OUTSIDE THE TRADITIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN POLITICAL CIRCLES.
SO WHEN HE RAMPED UP HIS PRESIDENTIAL RUN, FARRAKHAN, AWED BY HIS BOLDNESS, OFFERED TO HELP.

MEMBERS OF THE NATION OF ISLAM PROVIDED JACKSON WITH SECURITY UNTIL THE SECRET SERVICE STEPPED IN DURING THE PRIMARIES.

AND WHEN JACKSON LED A DELEGATION TO SYRIA IN DECEMBER OF 1983, JUST WEEKS BEFORE THE FIRST VOTES WERE CAST-
TO NEGOTIATE THE RELEASE OF THE U-S NAVY PILOT LIEUTENANT ROBERT GOODMAN, HE TOOK FARRAKHAN WITH HIM.

A DEVOUT MUSLIM, FARRAKHAN WAS FLUENT IN ARABIC.

AND WAS CRUCIAL TO HELPING SECURE GOODMAN’S RELEASE – FAR MORE THAN THE CHRISTIAN LEADERS WHO WERE PART OF THE DELEGATION.

AFTER LIEUTENANT GOODMAN’S RELEASE, JACKSON WAS HAILED AS A HERO.
HE EVEN GARNERED PRAISE FROM PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN IN A ROSE GARDEN CEREMONY.

***Ronald Reagan ***
“Reverend Jackson’s mission was a personal mission of mercy. And he has earned our gratitude and our admiration.”

IT WAS A POLITICAL COUP FOR JACKSON – ENGINEERED BY FARRAKHAN.

BUT FOR EVERY SILVER LINING FARRAKHAN’S PRESENCE PROVIDED, THERE WAS ALSO A DARK CLOUD HANGING OVER THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN

LIKE FARRAKHAN’S CLAIM THE U-S POLITICAL SYSTEM WAS TOO CORRUPT TO DESERVE BLACK VOTES.

***Frank Watkins ***
“He had never voted. He had discouraged his members from voting. In 1984 Jackson actually took him down to city hall and publicly witnessed his registering to vote and he encouraged his members to vote.”

THE IMAGE OF JACKSON AND FARRAKHAN TOGETHER RATTLED THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT- WHISPERS THAT JACKSON HAD A QUOTE JEWISH PROBLEM BEGAN TO CIRCULATE.

IF IT WAS JUST FARRAKHAN, JACKSON MAY HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BRUSH IT ALL ASIDE.

HOWEVER, JACKSON ALSO HAD A REPUTATION FOR BEING PRO-PALESTINIAN – A STANCE MANY CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERALS EQUATE WITH ANTI-JEWISH.

IN THE SIXTIES, DURING THE HEIGHT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, THE JEWISH COMMUNITY PROUDLY MARCHED ALONGSIDE AFRICAN AMERICANS.

BY THE 1970S, THAT ALLIANCE BEGAN TO SPLINTER- THE REASON ISRAEL.

JACKSON CAME FROM THE WING OF THE CIVIL RIGHT MOVEMENT THAT SAW ISRAEL’S TREATMENT OF PALESTINIANS AS UNCONSCIONABLE.

IN THE SAME WAY HE SAW SOUTH AFRICA’S APARTHEID SYSTEM AS IMMORAL.

IN 1979 DURING A TRIP TO THE MIDDLE EAST, JACKSON MET WITH AND EMBRACED PALESTINIANS AND P-L-O LEADER YASSER ARAFAT.

***PLO Visit****
Jesse Jackson was the most publicized visitor they had seen in 12 years of occupation. He urged them to end the cycle of violence and he taught them an American civil rights chant. I am somebody. I am god’s child. We can win.

AT THAT TIME, THE P-L-O WAS VIEWED BY MUCH OF THE WORLD AS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

JACKSON WAS ALSO A VOCAL SUPPORTER OF A TWO STATE SOLUTION BETWEEN THE ISRAELIS AND PALESTINIANS – WHICH ONLY HAD FRINGE SUPPORT BACK IN 1984.

MANY DEMOCRATIC JEWISH ACTIVISTS SHUNNED JACKSON AS A RESULT.

IN TURN, HIS CAMPAIGN, BEGAN TO COURT THE RELATIVELY NEW ARAB AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

MANY OF WHO’S MEMBERS HAD ARRIVED IN THE U-S FROM COUNTRIES THAT HAD GONE TO WAR WITH ISRAEL IN RECENT YEARS.

JACKSON ASKED THE YOUNG ARAB AMERICA ACTIVIST JAMES ZOGBY TO JOIN HIS CAMPAIGN TEAM.

***James Zogby***
I remember saying to him. I can’t leave what I am doing. I’ve spent the last four years organizing the Arab Americans, and he said in the next four months you will do more than you did in the last four years.

JEWISH LEADERS – REMEMBER A KEY CONSTITUENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT – DEMANDED JACKSON REMOVE ZOGBY FROM THE CAMPAIGN.

ZOGBY SAYS HE WAS READY TO QUIT.

JACKSON AND HIS RIGHT-HAND MAN JACK O’DELL COUNSELED OTHERWISE.

***James Zobgy***
“It could have been either one who said, if you quit you give them what you want. What they most fear is if you stick around and fight. So I didn’t quit and Rev. met with them and basically told them to screw off. He is staying. And I am working with the Arab community.”

JACKSON PROVED YET AGAIN HE WAS WILLING TO BUCK THE ESTABLISHMENT AND WOULD CONTINUE TO BUILD HIS OWN MOVEMENT.

PART V:

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“No generation can choose the age or circumstance in which it is born, but through leadership it can choose to make the age in which it is born an age of enlightenment, an age of jobs, and peace, and justice.”

JESSE JACKSON STARTED OFF THE 1984 ELECTION, AS A FRINGE CANDIDATE BARELY EVEN A LONG SHOT.

IT WAS THE ERA OF CORPORATE GREED AND TOP GUN STYLE PATRIOTISM.

FRINGE VOICES, LIKE JACKSON’S, WERE OBSCURED BY THE SOUNDS OF WALL STREET, MTV AND THE MAXING OUT OF CREDIT CARDS.

AS A CANDIDATE, JACKSON WAS HAMPERED BY WHISPERS OF ANTI-SEMITISM, AND WITH ALMOST NO BASE OF SUPPORT- FEW IN AMERICA TOOK HIM SERIOUSLY.

AS HIS DEMOCRATIC RIVALS WALTER MONDALE, GARY HART AND JOHN GLENN FOCUSED ON WINNING THE SUPPORT OF TRADITIONAL WHITE DEMOCRATIC VOTERS.

JACKSON WAS FORCED TO CAST A WIDER NET SAYS FORMER NBC NEWS PRODUCER A’LELIA (AH-LEL-EE-AH) BUNDLES.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“Jesse Jackson tapped into certain need, a certain sense of frustration and disenfranchisement among a wide range of people.

*** Jesse Jackson ****
“we are called as leaders not just to study the Wall Street economic index, but to study the misery index. And the danger index at the bottom.

IN THE AGE OF RONALD REAGAN WITH HIS MASSIVE CUTS TO SOCIAL SERVICES AND EVER-EXPANDING MILITARY BUDGETS -THERE WERE MANY AMERICANS WHO FELT LEFT OUT.

AT EVERY STOP JACKSON WAS CONNECTING WITH THESE PEOPLE, AS HE RAILED AGAINST THE VICIOUSNESS OF REAGANOMICS AND THE UNFULFILLED PROMISES OF AMERICA.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
I was in the church, in the auditoriums, when Rev Jackson was speaking. You could see the people who hanging on his every word.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“There were many evenings when there where elderly black people who were crying because Jesse Jackson was talking about their lives. He was talking about people who used to pick cotton who now could make a difference with their vote.”

WITH NO REAL POLITICAL EXPECTATION OF WINNING JACKSON ENJOYED THE FREEDOM TO RUN AN UNCONVENTIONAL AUTHENTICALLY GRASSROOTS CAMPAIGN … ORGANIZING IN COMMUNITIES THAT HAD NEVER VOTED.

*** Frank Watkins***
“We registered people everywhere we went. So there were white young people, black young people, Hispanic young people, women and so forth who were registering and voting it turned out for the first time.”

THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN FOCUSED ITS ENERGY ON FORMING AN ALLIANCE OF OUTSIDERS.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“He was creating a rainbow coalition he was openly seeking the votes of African Americans but he was also seeking the votes of LGBT people. Of Latinos. Of Asian Americans. Of women. Of Progressives

JACKSON WAS RAPIDLY BECOMING THE LEADER OF A PROGRESSIVE RESISTANCE TO REAGAN, TO MONDALE, TO ANYONE WHO DIDN’T RECOGNIZE THE SUFFERING TAKING PLACE IN AMERICA.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“My constituency is the desperate, the damned, the disinherited, the disrespected, and the despised. They are restless and seek relief.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“Jesse Jackson has amazing instinct about how to appeal to people. He can articulate a very complicated argument and break it down so people can understand it.

WHILE REAGAN PROMISED MORE TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH, JACKSON VISITED IMPOVERISHED NEIGHBORHOODS AND SPENT THE NIGHT IN THE HOMES OF THE WORKING POOR.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“What Rev Jackson was trying to show was that the working poor are often working harder and working more hours than the wealthy who are making a salary or living off their investments.”

HE CHALLENGED NOT ONLY REAGAN’S POLICIES
BUT ALSO THE DEMOCRATIC ESTABLISHMENT.
TALKING ABOUT HIV-AIDS, UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE, INCOME INEQUALITY, AND RACISM.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
Jesse Jackson talked about those issues. He made those issues legitimate. He made people feel he was going to do something, to help them.

IN MANY WAYS HIS CAMPAIGN WAS THE NEXT PHASE OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT- A TRANSITION FROM PROTESTS TO ELECTORAL POLITICS.

THAT PATH HOWEVER, SAYS FORMER TIME MAGAZINE REPORTER, JACK WHITE, WAS UNCHARTED TERRITORY.

**Jack White***
These guys didn’t know what they were doing in terms of politics they knew what they were doing in terms of movement

**Jack White***
“It was it was like a traveling tent show in a way, they were making it up as they went along.

THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN QUICKLY EARNED A REPUTATION FOR BEING LATE AND PRETTY DISORGANIZED

*** *** A’Lelia Bundles ***
It was a very non-traditional fundraising campaign.

***Jack White***
They would pass these Kentucky fried chicken buckets around like collecting an offering.

*** *** A’Lelia Bundles ***
People were used to being inspired by a sermon and in this case by a political speech mixed with some sermon and then you pass the collection basket and that is how many of the collections happened in many, many of the venues.

*** *** A’Lelia Bundles ***
It was very much in that tradition of being in the church. Which was very much what Rev Jackson was about.

***Jack White***
You wouldn’t see Walter Mondale going around raising money with a Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket, ha, I never saw another presidential campaign do that, that was straight out of the black church.

***James Zogby***
before the Michigan caucus Uncle Sam’s. It was like a night club. The band was playing. people were throwing money. And we collected all the money and we rented buses to take people to the caucuses.

JACKSON’S ECLECTIC RAINBOW COALITION – AS HE CAME TO CALL IT – DID LITTLE TO HELP HIM IN THE FIRST CAMPAIGN TEST.

MONDALE WON THE IOWA CAUCUS EASILY, WHILE GARY HART SURPRISED MANY WITH A STRONG SECOND PLACE SHOWING.

IOWA WAS SIMPLY TOO WHITE AND TOO RURAL FOR JACKSON TO COMPETE.
HE FINISHED WITH JUST ONE PERCENT OF THE VOTE.

AS THE RACE MOVED TO NEW HAMPSHIRE, JACKSON WOULD FACE HIS FIRST CRISIS OF THE CAMPAIGN.
ONE ENTIRELY OF HIS OWN MAKING.

PART VI:

DESPITE BEING A CHARISMATIC AND A BRILLIANT SPEAKER, JACKSON HAD LITTLE EXPERIENCE INTERACTING THE WASHINGTON PRESS CORPS.

HE SHUNNED TRADITIONAL REPORTER CODE WORDS LIKE OFF THE RECORD AND ON BACKGROUND.

INSTEAD HE OFTEN TOOK A LAID-BACK APPROACH TO SPEAKING WITH JOURNALISTS ESPECIALLY AFRICAN AMERICAN ONES.

**Jack White***
“He would say things like he wanted to talk to you confidentially. For a black reporter, he would say things like take off your reporters hat, and put on your black hat and he would talk to you.”

***Jack White***
“He seemed to feel like we were part of his team in a way, and of course we weren’t. We were reporters.”

THIS RELAXED ATTITUDE ENDEARED HIM TO HIS PRESS ENTOURAGE- AND NEARLY ENDED HIS CAMPAIGN.

JUST A FEW WEEKS AFTER RETURNING A HERO FROM SYRIA JACKSON HAD ONE OF HIS INFORMAL CONVERSATIONS WITH TWO BLACK REPORTERS WHILE WAITING FOR A FLIGHT OUT OF WASHINGTON’S NATIONAL AIRPORT.

DURING IT, JACKSON ALLEGEDLY REFERRED TO JEWS AS “HYMIES” AND NEW YORK CITY AS “HYMIETOWN.”

JACKSON SEEMED TO BELIEVE BOTH THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTER, MILTON COLEMAN, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER GERALD BOYD WOULD NOT PRINT THE SLUR.

BUT SEVERAL WEEKS LATER, JUST DAYS BEFORE THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY ON FEBRUARY THIRTEENTH- IN AN ARTICLE ABOUT JACKSON’S TUMULTUOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH JEWISH VOTERS – THE WASHINGTON POST QUOTED JACKSON USING THE WORDS –HYMIE- AND -HYMIETOWN.

THE PHRASES WERE BURIED DEEP IN THE 37 PARAGRAPH OF THE ARTICLE BY RICK ATKINSON, WITH A CONTRIBUTION BY STAFF WRITER MILTON COLEMAN.

AS I MENTIONED EARLIER, THE JEWISH COMMUNITY WAS DEEPLY TROUBLED BY JACKSON.

BEFORE THE HYMIE-TOWN COMMENT CONTROVERSY, MUCH OF THE CRITICISM WAS MADE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS CIRCULATING THE POLITICAL WORLD VIA POLITE WHISPERS.

DON’T FORGET JACKSON WAS ALSO RAISING HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FROM THE ARAB AMERICAN COMMUNITY WHILE PALLING AROUND WITH LOUIS FARRAKHAN

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“he was appealing to Arab Americans and that that created a conflict and that that created a suspicion when he made the hymie town that just solidified and confirmed the suspicions that many people had had about him.

NOT SURPRISINGLY A FIRE STORM ERUPTED FOLLOWING THE WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE.

**** Sylvester Monroe***
Jesse’s campaign came to a screeching halt.

JACKSON AT FIRST JUST DODGED THE QUESTIONS.

**** Sylvester Monroe***
“His standard line was I have no recollection of having used that language.

WITH THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, JACKSON WAS NOW FACING HIS GREATEST TEST.
INSIDE THE CAMPAIGN, HIS ADVISORS WERE DIVIDED OVER WHETHER OR NOT TO APOLOGIZE. THE SUSPICION AND ANIMOSITY RAN BOTH WAYS.

**James Zogby***
He was so pained over it that it was really difficult actually to see him go through it. I remember we went up to Manchester for the debate and I got on the plane and he looked like death warmed over.

AT THE DEBATE, JACKSON WAS ASKED ABOUT THE INCIDENT BY BARBARA WALTERS AND ONCE AGAIN DENIED USING THE SLUR.

**James Zogby***
He just ducked it because it just hurt either way.

ULTIMATELY, FRANK WATKINS CONVINCED JACKSON AN APOLOGY WAS NEEDED.
ZOBGY, JACKSON’S ARAB AMERICAN ADVISOR, AND A LIGHTING ROD HIMSELF FOR JEWISH ANGER WAS TASKED WITH DRAFTING THE APOLOGY.

****James Zogby*** 43:25
At one point I remember saying to him Rev, look this is not easy. This is an Arab guy writing a speech for a black guy apologizing to Jewish people. This is not natural. My father is up in heaven looking down here saying what is going on here.

AFTER WEEKS OF TRYING TO OUTRUN HIS OWN WORDS JACKSON FINALLY FESSED UP.

TWO DAYS BEFORE VOTERS WERE SET TO CAST THEIR BALLOTS, ON A BITTERLY COLD NIGHT, JACKSON WALKED INTO TEMPLE ADAT YESHAROON IN MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE AND ACKNOWLEDGE HE HAD USED THE INSENSITIVE PHRASES.

HE ALSO INSISTED HE WAS NOT ANTI-SEMATIC NOR ANTI-ISRAELI.
THE EMOTIONAL SPEECH SWAYED SOME IN THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

BUT INCIDENT PLAGUED JACKSON THROUGHOUT THE REST OF THE CAMPAIGN.

THEN AS IF THE SITUATION WASN’T BAD ENOUGH, LOUIS FARRAKHAN WENT NUCLEAR BY THREATENING JEWS AND ANYONE WHO ATTACKED JACKSON.

***Louis Farrakhan ***
“I say to the Jewish people who may not like our brother it is not Jesse Jackson you are attacking when you attack him you attack the millions that are lining up with him. You attacking all of us. If you harm this brother, I warn you in the name of Allah, this will be the last one you harm.”

FARRAKHAN ALSO WENT DIRECTLY AFTER THE WASHINGTON POST’S REPORTER MILTON COLEMAN IN A NATIONAL RADIO BROADCAST.

***Louis Farrakhan ***
“Don’t tell me nothing that you are reporter. You a nigger in the eyes of the white people. You understand what I am staying. I said we gonna make an example of Milton Coleman. One day soon we will punish you with death. We gonna punish the traitor and make the traitor beg for forgiveness

JACKSON WAS FORCED TO CUT ALL TIES WITH FARRAKHAN.

***Jack White ***
“I don’t think his campaign every really recovered from the damage that was done by that incident and by threats that were made on Milton Coleman.

TO THIS DAY THE ENTIRE EPISODE LEAVES A BAD TASTE IN THE MOUTHS OF MANY OF JACKSON’S CLOSEST SUPPORTERS.

**Frank Watkins***
I had never ever heard him use the phrase before and I had been with him since May the first of 69 and I’ve never heard him use the phrase since. I don’t know where it came from, what it meant.

OTHER ADVISORS LATER CONCEDED JACKSON HAD USED PHRASE “HYMIE,” THOUGH NOT NECESSARILY IN A PEJORATIVE SENSE.

IF THAT MATTERS.

JOURNALISTS ALSO HAD OTHER STORIES OF JACKSON’S FOUL LANGUAGE.

DURING A TRIP TO TUSKEGEE, ALABAMA, JUST DAYS AFTER ANNOUNCING FOR THE PRESIDENCY JACK WHITE OF TIME MAGAZINE, SAYS HE WAS PART OF A CONVERSATION IN WHICH JACKSON’S ECONOMIC ADVISOR LAMOND GODWIN USED THE PHRASE JEW BOY.

***Jack White**
I was shocked when I heard that because I would have thought Lamond was a pretty sophisticated guy with a Phd knowing with reporters around would have watched his mouth but he didn’t and during the course of the conversation Jesse used the term hymietown to refer to New York

SENSING THIS WAS SOMETHING TO BE WATCHED, WHITE SENT A NOTE TO HIS EDITORS AT TIME MAGAZINE ABOUT JACKSON’S LANGUAGE AND TOLD OTHER JOURNALISTS AS WELL. IT WENT NOWHERE UNTIL MILTON COLEMAN’S STORY.

***Jack White ***
I only heard him say Hymie and Hymietown just that one time but I heard him use other terms. Referred disparagingly to ethnic groups and gay people and stuff.

THERE IS NO DOUBT THE “HYMIETOWN” INCIDENT CHANGED THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN AND HURT HIM IN NEW HAMPSHIRE WHERE HE ONCE AGAIN TRAILED WALTER MONDALE AND GARY HART.

***Jack White***
The tenner of it. The color of it. The way it felt. It was just different after that.”

PART VII:

AFTER THE DISAPPOINTING RESULTS IN IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE, THE DEMOCRATIC CONTEST TURNED TO THE SOUTH ON SUPER TUESDAY –
WITH PRIMARIES IN THREE SOUTHERN STATES WITH SIZABLE BLACK POPULATIONS – GEORGIA, ALABAMA AND FLORIDA.

THE MARCH THIRTEENTH CONTESTS WERE JACKSON’S BEST BET TO PROVE HIMSELF.

THOUGH HE FAILED TO WIN ANY OF THE STATES OUTRIGHT, JACKSON SHOWED HE WAS MORE THAN A FRINGE CANDIDATE – RECEIVING AN OUTRIGHT MAJORITY OF THE BLACK VOTE IN ALL THREE STATES.
AND WINNING AN IMPRESSIVE TWENTY ONE PERCENT STATEWIDE IN GEORGIA- THE BEST EVER SHOWING FOR AN AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE.

***NBC Super Tuesday***
Jesse Jackson now up to twenty percent. That is important. If he stays there he will continue to get federal matching money.

MONDALE SOLIDIFIED HIS LEAD OVER HART AND A RAPIDLY SHRINKING FIELD OF CANDIDATES – BUT JACKSON KEPT HIS CAMPAIGN ALIVE.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“I am excited. Our race has momentum and continues to grow”

MORE IMPORTANTLY JACKSON COULD NOW LEGITIMATELY CLAIM TO REPRESENT THE ALL IMPORTANT BLACK VOTE –WHICH ENSURED HIM INFLUENCE AND EVEN A SEAT AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION.

BACKED BY A WAVE OF ENERGIZED SUPPORTERS AND A SURGE OF NEW BLACK AND MINORITY VOTERS, JACKSON ONLY GREW STRONGER IN THE LATER PRIMARIES-

HE EVEN NOTCHED HISTORIC OUTRIGHT VICTORIES IN LOUISIANA AND WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE LONGSHOT WAS NOW WINNING PRIMARIES DEEP INTO THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATING PROCESS.

IN THE END, MONDALE CLINCHED THE NOMINATION WITH LITTLE FANFARE AND JACKSON PLACED THIRD BEHIND GARY HART.

A CAMPAIGN THAT STARTED OFF AS A RAGTAG TOUR OF THE SOUTH JUST MONTHS BEFORE HAD MADE HISTORY WINNING MORE THAN THREE MILLION VOTES NATIONWIDE.

WITH HIS SUCCESS, JACKSON GAINED LEVERAGE AND INFLUENCE OVER THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

JACKSON WASN’T RIDING A WAVE ANYMORE; HE WAS THE WAVE.

PART VIII:

** Jesse Jackson ***
“Our time has come! Give me your tired. Give me your poor. Your huddled masses who yearn to breath free and come November there will be a change. Because our time has come.”

GOING INTO THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION IN JULY OF 1984, THERE WAS A BUZZ AND ENERGY IN SAN FRANCISCO THAT … LETS JUST SAY WASN’T RADIATING FROM WALTER MONDALE.

ONE QUESTION WAS ON EVERYONE’S MIND.

****Sylvester Monroe***
“What does Jesse want?

THAT HEADLINE WAS EVERYWHERE.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
Jesse Jackson was not going to get the nomination but Jesse had actually come with enough delegates that he had to be listen to.”

BOTH JACKSON AND GARY HART HAD DONE WELL ENOUGH DURING THE PRIMARIES TO INFLUENCE WHAT WAS SUPPOSED TO BE WALTER MONDALE’S CELEBRATION

BUT IT WAS JACKSON WHO DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP FEARED.

HIS STRONG SHOWING AMONG BLACK VOTERS – A KEY DEMOCRATIC CONSTITUENCY -GAVE HIM EXTRAORDINARY INFLUENCE AT THE CONVENTION.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
“At the convention there was a great deal of nervousness on the part of Mondale’s staff, how people were going to navigate and what does Jesse want. What is Jesse going to say that is going to upset the apple cart.”

SO IN A SENSE UPSETTING THE APPLE CART WAS THE ENTIRE POINT OF THE JACKSON’S 1984 CAMPAIGN
SO MONDALE HAD EVERY REASON TO FEAR JACKSON.

*** A’Lelia Bundles ***
He was going to use that moment. Jesse is a master at using the moment of turning the spot light on himself.

BUT IN THIS MOMENT, IT WASN’T JUST ABOUT EGO.
JACKSON WANTED SOMETHING MORE.

HE WANTED RESPECT.
RESPECT FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, FOR MEXICAN AMERICANS FOR, ARAB AMERICANS, FOR ASIAN AMERICAN, FOR GAYS, FOR WOMEN.

AND FOR ALL THE EXCLUDED GROUPS THAT WERE PART OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY’S RAINBOW COALITION.

BUT THAT WERE NOT -WHEN IT CAME TO REAL POWER AND INFLUENCE – PART OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.

***Jack White***
I think the idea to create a commotion to get a voice and a seat at the table and they succeeded at that.

WITH HIS DELEGATES AND THE ENERGY OF HIS NEW SUPPORTERS, JACKSON WAS NOW A POWER BROKER.
BEHIND THE SCENES, HOWEVER, THE JACKSON CAMPAIGN WAS IN DISARRAY.
THEY WERE THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK AND DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE HOW TO NAVIGATE THE ARCANE CONVENTION RULES.

**James Zogby***
We got to the convention in ’84 and the Hart people and the Mondale people were all organized. We didn’t know what to do.

**James Zogby***
We were getting rolled. People weren’t organized. There was a lot of gripping going on.

WHAT THEY LACKED IN ORGANIZATION THEY MORE THAN MADE UP FOR IN ENTHUSIASM AND ENERGY. AND ULTIMATELY IT WAS CLEAR WHAT JACKSON WANTED.

**Frank Watkins ***
You can do it in one word -Justice. He wanted equal opportunity for everyone.

**** Sylvester Monroe***
“He wanted a seat at the table. He wanted these progressive planks in the Democratic Party platform and he also wanted and one of the things he got eventually was a changing of the rules.

JACKSON’S CAMPAIGN WANTED SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES TO THE PROCESS OF HOW DELEGATES WERE ALLOCATED.
AND PUSHED THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TO ABANDON ITS WINNER TAKE ALL PRIMARY SYSTEM AND REPLACE IT WITH ONE THAT ASSIGNED DELEGATES PROPORTIONALLY

JACKSON, LIKE ALL GOOD POLITICIANS, ALSO WANTED A PRIME-TIME SPEAKING SPOT AT THE CONVENTION.

MONDALE MAY HAVE BEEN THE NOMINEE BUT IT WAS JACKSON WITH HIS ELECTRIFYING RAINBOW COALITION SPEECH THAT PROVIDED THE MESSAGE FOR BOTH THE PARTY AND THE NATION.

*** Jesse Jackson ***
“Our party is emerging from one of its most hard-fought battles for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in our history. But our healthy competition should make us better, not bitter. We must use the insight, wisdom, and experience of the late Hubert Humphrey as a balm for the wounds in our Party, this nation, and the world. We must forgive each other, redeem each other, regroup, and move on. Our flag is red, white and blue, but our nation is a rainbow — red, yellow, brown, black and white — and we’re all precious in God’s sight.

PART IX:

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
No one had ever done what he did

THOUGH HE LOST THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION TO WALTER MONDALE IN 1984, JESSE JACKSON PROVED –WHAT JUST A FEW MONTHS BEFORE WAS UNTHINKABLE – AN AFRICAN AMERICAN COULD SERIOUSLY COMPETE FOR THE HIGHEST OFFICE IN THE LAND.

***Charles Bierbauer***
“The dynamic changed with Jesse Jackson’s effective campaign. Effective in terms of forcing people to realize the nature of the country, the party and the electoral process had changed and was probably not going backwards.”

WALTER MONDALE WOULD GO ON TO LOSE THE 1984 GENERAL ELECTION TO RONALD REAGAN IN A HISTORIC LANDSLIDE.
AS IS SO OFTEN THE CASE IN LOSS, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY TRIED TO REDEFINE ITS DEFEAT IN A WAY THAT WOULD SHAPE ITS FUTURE.

BUT IT WAS LESSONS LEARNED FROM JACKSON, NOT MONDALE OR ANYONE ELSE THAT PROVIDED THE BLUE PRINT.

**** Sylvester Monroe ***
The Rainbow Coalition looking back now in hindsight, that progressive coalition was way ahead of its time.

JACKSON’S RAINBOW COALITION WAS NOW THE ONLY VIABLE PATH FORWARD FOR DEMOCRATS. AS THE PARTY CONTINUED TO LOSE WHITE VOTERS TO REPUBLICANS

***Frank Watkins ***
“He gave them the formula for winning in the future. Which was the rainbow coalition

JUST TWO YEARS LATER, THE RAINBOW COALITION WOULD PAY IMMEDIATE DIVIDENDS AS DEMOCRATS SHOCKINGLY REGAINED CONTROL OF THE U.S. SENATE BY FLIPPING SEATS IN MARYLAND, NORTH CAROLINA, FLORIDA, GEORGIA, AND ALABAMA.

****James Zogby***
It was black votes that won the South for us and that was Rev. strategy.

AT THE SAME TIME A NEW GENERATION OF DEMOCRATIC LEADERS BEGAN TO EMERGE.

IN 1989, DOUGLAS WILDER SWEPT TO POWER IN VIRGINIA -BECOMING THE FIRST BLACK GOVERNOR OF ANY STATE SINCE THE CIVIL WAR.
THEN A SLEW OF AFRICAN AMERICAN MAYORS WERE ELECTED. NORM RICE IN SEATTLE. DAVID DINKINS IN NEW YORK CITY. WILLIE HERENTON IN MEMPHIS. AND WELLINGTON WEB IN DENVER.

***James Zogby***
The strategy was very simple and it was to increase voter registration in the South and increase it in Northern cities. So that more African Americans could be elected. That was the point. It was to create a wave that others would ride.

**** Sylvester Monroe***
“With all his faults no one could have moved African Americans from point A to point B as he did there was no one else who could have done it. That 84 campaign is just so important.”

A QUARTER CENTURY LATER, JACKSON’S 1984 CAMPAIGN WAS STILL MOVING AMERICA FORWARD.

***Frank Watkins***
“At one level that was the most important thing that came out of the campaign was that rule change. Certainly, it was true in terms of Barack Obama.”

REMEMBER AT THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION WHEN EVERYONE WAS ASKING WHAT DOES JESSE WANT?
WELL, IN 1984, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY HAD A WINNER TAKE ALL PRIMARY SYSTEM.
ALL THE DELEGATES WERE AWARDED TO THE WINNER OF EACH STATE PRIMARY NO MATTER THE SIZE OF THE VICTORY.

WIN BY ONE VOTE OR FIFTY THOUSAND, IT DIDN’T MATTER YOU GOT ALL THE DELEGATES.

IT WAS AN INHERENTLY UNFAIR SYSTEM.

TAKE JACKSON, HE RECEIVED ROUGHLY TWENTY PERCENT OF THE TOTAL VOTE IN THE 1984 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY.

BUT EARNED ONLY TWELVE PERCENT OF THE DELEGATES.

SO JACKSON PUSHED HARD TO CHANGE TO THE RULES TO A PROPORTIONAL SYSTEM AT THE SAN FRANCISCO CONVENTION.

MAKE NO MISTAKE JACKSON BELIEVED HE WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE NEW SYSTEM IN 1988 WHEN HE RAN AGAIN.
THE CHANGES ENDED UP BEING A REALLY IMPORTANT DIFFERENCE MAKER DOWN THE LINE IN 2008

**** Sylvester Monroe***
“Without that change and without the work of Jesse Jackson the Jackson campaign in 84 there would be no Barack Obama. I don’t think people realize that.

***Jack White ***
“You can boil it down to one sentence no Jesse Jackson in ’84, no Barack Obama in 2008.”

IN 2008, BARACK OBAMA AND HILLARY CLINTON EACH RECEIVED NEARLY 18-MILLION VOTES.
OBAMA WON MORE PRIMARIES. WHILE CLINTON WON ALL THE BIG STATES- NEW YORK, TEXAS, FLORIDA, CALIFORNIA AND PENNSYLVANIA.

UNDER THE OLD RULES. CLINTON WOULD HAVE WON THE NOMINATION EASILY BECAUSE SHE WON THE STATES WITH THE LARGEST POPULATIONS.

THAT OF COURSE DIDN’T HAPPEN AND OBAMA WENT ON TO MAKE HISTORY AS THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN PRESIDENT THANKS IN PART TO JACKSON’S AMBITIOUS 1984 CAMPAIGN.
AND IT IS STILL PROVING TO BE AN IMPORTANT CAMPAIGN TODAY.

***Frank Watkins***
“The real strategic thing he did was change the party rules.

IN 1984 JESSE JACKSON WAS A LONG SHOT. HE WAS BLACK. HE WAS AN OUTSIDER – AND HE LOST THE NOMINATION.

HISTORY MAYBE WRITTEN BY THE WINNERS – BUT IN AMERICAN PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS, HISTORY IS OFTEN SHAPED BY THE LONGSHOTS.

WHILE JACKSON’S NAME DIDN’T END UP ON THE FINAL BALLOT, HIS CAMPAIGN IS STILL SHAPING OUR POLITICAL SYSTEM DECADES LATER.

***Frank Watkins***
I know we changed America forever, it will never be the same again.
**********END******

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