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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"As we head into the biggest day thus far of the primary season, it is a good occasion to appraise Sanders’s successes and failures. He’s opened a space in the Democratic Party to the left of the conventional liberalism of Barack Obama and Clinton. Sanders has pushed, with some success, for an economically populist politics of a sort we haven’t seen since the heyday of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition in the 1980s, which advocated for stronger social programs that were meant to unite disparate groups that had been left behind by the Reagan Revolution. Yet the comparison to Jackson highlights the weakness of the Sanders movement. The Rainbow Coalition called for economic populism, but also spoke directly to distinct communities within the Democratic Party. Jackson won South Carolina in both 1984 and 1988, in sharp contrast to Sanders, and his success was only in part due to him being African American (he did very well in predominantly white states like Iowa as well). More pertinently, Jackson was able to adapt his message to black voters in a way that Sanders has so far failed to do."

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