Election 2016

Is Hillary Clinton Losing Her Lock on Black Voters? (VIDEO)

The tide appears to be turning against the Clintons' long and close relationship with many African-American voters.

Photo Credit: New York Daily News

Fresh from his victory in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders stopped in Harlem to have breakfast with Reverend Al Sharpton, who congratulated Sanders and addressed the crowd gathered outside Sylvia's restaurant:

"It's the morning after a historic victory, the widest margin in the history of New Hampshire," Sharpton said. Sharpton will meet with Hillary Clinton next Thursday and will then announce his endorsement. In the article below, you can watch two fascinating recent interviews with Ben Jealous, former leader of the NAACP and Ta-Nahisi Coates of The Atlantic magazine explaining their support of Sanders.

These acts by prominent Afirican-American leaders are especially relevant as the South Carolina primary approaches, and they come on the heels of a provocative broadside against the Clintons' historic relationship with black America by Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow. Writing in the NationAlexander lambasts Bill Clinton's legacy and shows that Hillary championed it every step of the way:

An oft-repeated myth about the Clinton administration is that although it was overly tough on crime back in the 1990s, at least its policies were good for the economy and for black unemployment rates. The truth is more troubling. As unemployment rates sank to historically low levels for white Americans in the 1990s, the jobless rate among black men in their 20s who didn’t have a college degree rose to its highest level ever. This increase in joblessness was propelled by the skyrocketing incarceration rate. ... Hillary Clinton is still singing the same old tune in a slightly different key. She is arguing that we ought not be seduced by Bernie’s rhetoric because we must be “pragmatic,” “face political realities,” and not get tempted to believe that we can fight for economic justice and win. 

WATCH: The New York Daily News' coverage of Sharpton and Sanders' meeting (and Jealous and Coates interviews below):

Likening Sanders to Jesse Jackson in the 1980s, former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous has praised the Vermont senator for consistently addressing the issues Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. referred to as the "giant triplets of evil"—racism, militarism and greed. Last week, he campaigned for Sanders ahead of the South Carolina primary and announced he would endorse the Democratic candidate for president. Jealous, now a venture capitalist, was president and CEO of the NAACP from 2008-2013.

 

WATCH: The Democracy Now! interview below:

Other prominent African Americans who have endorsed Sanders include Dr. Cornel West, rapper Killer Mike and Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner as well as the acclaimed writer Ta-Nehisi Coates.

Coates, author of Between the World and Me, has written some of the most discussed articles on the presidential race looking at Sanders and his position on reparations. Coates wrote the articles after Sanders appeared at the Black and Brown Forum in Iowa and said he did not support reparations for slavery because it is too "divisive" an issue. This week, Coates spoke on Democracy Now! about why he still plans to vote for the Vermont senator.

WATCH: The Democracy Now! interview below:

 

 

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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