Now, with that preface, here are some of the attacks on Sanders and his supporters, which represent a pattern of sleaziness that has become a hallmark of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Sanders Misrepresents Role In the Civil Rights Movement
On February 11, ahead of the South Carolina Democratic primary, the Congressional Black Caucus’ political action committee endorsed Clinton. Civil rights icon, Congressman John Lewis, called Sanders’ civil rights movement record into question.
“I never saw him. I never met him,” Lewis stated. “I was chair of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for three years, from 1963 to 1966.
I was involved with the sit-ins, the Freedom Rides, the March on Washington, the march from Selma to Montgomery and directed [the] voter education project for six years. But I met Hillary Clinton. I met President [Bill] Clinton.”
One might think, after hearing Lewis’ remarks, that he met both Hillary and Bill during the civil rights movement. According to Lewis’ book, “Conversations With Black America,” he did not hear of Bill Clinton until the 1970s. Lewis did not meet Bill Clinton until 1991, when an aide asked him to support Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Sanders’ history in the civil rights movement could be a real asset for him with people of color, especially because it might help prove his commitment to advancing struggles for racial justice. Clinton was not involved in the civil rights movement when Sanders was engaged in activism. She was campaigning for Barry Goldwater, a Republican who opposed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“When I was a young college student,” Sanders told the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) in July, “I came to Washington, D.C., to participate in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
I heard this organization’s first president, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., deliver his famous speech, and he inspired me, just as he inspired a whole generation—black and white—to get involved in the civil rights movement.”
“In Chicago, I worked for housing desegregation and was arrested protesting public school segregation. During that time I was active in what was a sister-organization to the SCLC, the Congress of Racial Equality or CORE, which was headed up by the late James Farmer,” Sanders added.
For two days, the remarks from Lewis stirred animosity among Sanders supporters, which Clinton supporters seized upon to claim his supporters had no respect for a civil rights icon. Once the news cycle had run its course, Lewis clarified on Saturday that he never “doubted that Senator Sanders participated in the civil rights movement, neither was I attempting to disparage his activism.”
But, by this time, Clinton had already created doubt about whether Sanders had exaggerated his civil rights movement record, and the damage was done.