Rev. Jesse Jackson on What Has Changed Since His Presidential Run 20 Years Ago [VIDEO]

In this interview with Tavis Smiley, Rev. Jackson looks back somewhat wistfully at his surprisingly successful campaign for the Democratic nomination in 1988. I think it's an important interview to see because the mainstream press repeatedly tries to diminish Jackson's '84 and '88 campaigns by claiming Sen. Obama is the first "serious" Black candidate for the presidency. Or the first who has a "real chance."

In '88 there was moment where Jackson was very much in the lead in terms of primaries and delegates won. He was run on an unapologetically progressive platform that was very radical by 1988 standards (pro-gay rights, justice for Palestinians), and he was a real threat to the Democratic establishment. It was down to Jackson, Dukakis and Gore (yes, that Gore) and Gore had dropped out but he was a major force in an "Anybody But Jackson" campaign that many, including Jackson himself deemed more than slightly racist. Thanks to some negative campaigning on Ed Koch's part, Jackson lost the New York primary and eventually the nomination but even at the convention later on there was some speculation that Jackson would be tapped for VP since he'd performed so strongly during the primaries. But unfortunately the idea of a black man on a presidential ticket was deemed to volatile and risky.

That's what makes the success and emergence of Obama as a major star in the Democratic party one of the few bright spots of this campaign season so far. Whatever your objections to him personally or as a politician it is hard not to celebrate the fact that a Black man has a very strong shot at becoming the nominee of a major political party for president. Check out the video to your right for more.


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