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Jakarta Post

Kamala Harris backs Biden, while Jesse Jackson campaigns for Sanders

  • Trevor Hunnicutt and Michael Martina


Detroit, United States   /   Mon, March 9, 2020   /   10:11 am
Kamala Harris backs Biden, while Jesse Jackson campaigns for Sanders Former Vice President Joe Biden and US.Senator Kamala Harris take the stage before the start of the second night of the second U.S. 2020 presidential Democratic candidates debate in Detroit, Michigan, US, July 31, 2019. (Reuters/Lucas Jackson)

Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders touted dueling endorsements on Sunday, with onetime Biden rival Kamala Harris supporting the former vice president, while civil rights leader Jesse Jackson campaigned for Sanders.

The backing of Harris, a black US senator and former 2020 presidential candidate who clashed with Biden during the party’s early debates, could give him a boost as he and Sanders battle for voters before the next round of nominating contests in six states on Tuesday. 

Biden, the Democratic front-runner, campaigned in Mississippi, and the more liberal Sanders was in Michigan, both seeking the party’s nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in November’s election. 

Below is a summary of Sunday’s events. 

From attacker to backer 

Harris, who has taken Biden to task over his civil rights record, planned to campaign with him on Monday in Detroit, which has a large African-American population. 

“There is no one better prepared than Joe to steer our nation through these turbulent times, and restore truth, honor, and decency to the Oval Office,” said Harris, a first-term senator from California and the state’s former attorney general. 

One of the most talked-about moments of Harris’ campaign was her blistering attack on Biden during a June presidential debate. She called his remarks about working with segregationist senators hurtful and questioned Biden’s 1970s opposition to school busing. 

Still, black voters have backed Biden overwhelmingly, propelling him to big victories in South Carolina’s Feb. 29 presidential primary and on Super Tuesday last week. They will be crucial in Michigan, where they make up almost 14% of the population and as much as 80% of some areas of Detroit. 

A number of Harris backers switched their support to Biden after she dropped out of the race in December. She had struggled to build support and raise money.

Even before she endorsed him, Biden said he would consider Harris as a potential vice presidential running mate. 

Biden has received a number of high-profile endorsements from establishment Democrats and former rivals in the 2020 Democratic race, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Like Harris, they are more moderate Democrats. 

‘Taste for justice'

Sanders garnered his own endorsement on Sunday from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, a well-known civil rights leader, especially among older African Americans. 

Jackson described black Americans as those most left behind socially and economically and that the progressive path laid out by Sanders offered the best chance for them to catch up. 

At a rally in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Sanders introduced Jackson, 78, and said Barack Obama was able to become the first black US president in 2008 because of the achievements of Jackson, who ran for the presidency twice in the 1980s.