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Ex-NAACP Head Ben Jealous: Sanders is Most Consistent Candidate Tackling Racism, Militarism & Greed

StoryFebruary 09, 2016
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Benjamin Jealous

former president and chief executive officer of the NAACP.

Likening him to Jesse Jackson in the 1980s, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous praises Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for consistently addressing the issues that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the "giant triplets of evil"—racism, militarism and greed. We speak to Jealous in North Carolina. He was just in South Carolina campaigning for Sanders ahead of that state’s primary.

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Ben Jealous is also with us. He’s from North—he’s in North Carolina right now, and he was just recently in New Hampshire. Ben, you came out last week and endorsed Bernie Sanders. Why?

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: You know, look, I looked at his record. And for the same reasons that I supported Jesse Jackson in 1988—which Bernie did, too—when I was 15 years old, I signed up for Bernie this time, which is that on the issues that Dr. Martin Luther King referred to as the "giant triplets of evil"—racism, militarism and greed—Bernie is the clearest and the most consistent.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Ben, what about this—the whole issue—obviously, there’s been a lot of attention drawn to the fact that Bernie Sanders so far has very little support in the African-American and Latino community in most of the polls, and very few major African-American leaders or Latino leaders have come out to support him. Keith Ellison of Minnesota has, and Raúl Grijalva of Arizona. But your decision to support him, and why—what you think the impact will be in terms of the African-American and Latino community as we get into the states that have many more African-American and Latino voters?

BENJAMIN JEALOUS: Well, look, we’ve already begun to see people switch down in South Carolina. Justin Bamberg, a state rep, switched from Hillary to Bernie. We will see many more. I was meeting with folks last weekend. People are very excited. And what’s happening is people are starting to tune in. And the reality is, because of their long history of connection to the black community, especially in the South, with Bill Clinton being the former governor of Arkansas, you know, they have built up a lot of loyalty and a lot of friends. But black voters, we take our votes extremely seriously. They come—you know, we earned them. If it wasn’t us personally, it was our parents or grandparents. And what you’ll see is that now that he’s seen as a top-tier contender, we’ll find that candidate Clinton has hit her high watermark. She will begin to lose support. How fast and how much remains to be seen.

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