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‘Wake Up, South Carolina!’ Endorsing Sanders, Spike Lee Slams Rigged System

Posted on Feb 23, 2016

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

taniavolobueva / Shutterstock

This piece first appeared on Common Dreams.

With just days ahead of the Democratic primary in South Carolina on Saturday, filmmaker Spike Lee is the latest high-profile celebrity to come out and urge potential black voters to throw their support behind Bernie Sanders—the only candidate, he argues, who has an agenda capable of disrupting the “rigged” system that constantly undermines the nation’s poor, the working class, and the politically disempowered.

“Wake up! Wake up, South Carolina!” declares Lee in a radio spot now playing across the state. “This is your dude, Spike Lee. And I know that you know that the system is rigged! And for too long we’ve given our votes to corporate puppets. Sold the okie doke. Ninety-nine percent of Americans were hurt by the Great Recession of 2008, and many are still recovering… And that’s why I am officially endorsing my brother, Bernie Sanders.”

Lee continues: “Bernie takes no money from corporations. Nada. That means he is not on the take. And when Bernie gets to the White House… He will do the right thing. How can we be sure? Bernie was at the March on Washington with Dr King. He was arrested in Chicago for a protest of segregation in public schools. He has fought for wealth and education equality throughout his career. No flipping, no flopping. Enough talk, time for action.”

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While Hillary Clinton continues to dominate the latest polls out of South Carolina, the Sanders campaign hopes that a better-than-expected result in the state, fueled by an insurgent swing of black voters, could signal that his “political revolution” still has unrecognized power to unseat the status quo as the primary race continues towards Super Tuesday on March 1 and the convention in July.

Evidenced by a new wave of campaign ads themed along racial justice lines and featuring prominent black surrogates, both the Clinton and Sanders campaigns have been courting black voters in South Carolina and across the country. As the Guardian notes on Tuesday, “African Americans account for more than half of South Carolina’s Democratic primary electorate.”

Over the weekend, Clinton released a new ad featuring actor Morgan Freeman. Meanwhile, actor and social activist Danny Glover has been on the campaign trail in South Carolina promoting Sanders.

Though only Saturday’s results will tell just how much support Sanders was able to win among South Carolina voters, an interview with Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford, posted online Tuesday at The Real News Network, examines the complex—and often contradictory—dynamic that keeps a majority of black voters, despite being more left-wing on issue after issue, wedded to the corporate wing of the Democratic Party.

“Black folks are the most left-leaning constituency in the United States, that’s been shown generation after generation,” explained Ford. “But we don’t behave that way in national elections. And this year, much as in previous years, what we’re seeing is that the black vote acts as the bulwark of the most reactionary wing of the Democratic party, the right wing of the Democratic party, and its standard-bearer this time around, Hillary Clinton.”

According to Ford, if Sanders cannot break through the “brick wall” of black voters who have so far not come to him in sufficient numbers, his presidential campaign is “doomed.”

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