On Wednesday, a day after the South Carolina debate, Rev. Al Sharpton, alongside Sen. Bernie Sanders, reminded Black voters in South Carolina that opponents of civil rights leaders demonized socialism.
Sharpton told the audience at a National Action Network event that the civil rights movement faced similar political opposition for allegations of being too far-left or socialist, just what Sanders, the frontrunner in the presidential race, is currently facing.
"I think it's important in South Carolina ... the civil rights movement always was targeted by those that would use the Red Scare," Sharpton said. "They accused Dr. [Martin Luther] King [Jr.] of being a communist. Every major leader in the 60s they tried to call socialist or communist."
Although he did not publicly endorse Sanders, Sharpton said that he had been informed by several of his closest friends, many of whom are social advocates like himself, that the socialist presidential candidate is a genuine ally for Black causes.
Sharpton also likes how Sanders, in the 60s, fought for Black equality and against systemic injustice.
It is worth noting that Sharpton and Sanders linked up in a similar situation during the 2016 election when the two had breakfast at Harlem's famous Sylvia’s Restaurant, The Guardian reported.
In addition to vouching for Sanders, Sharpton explicitly told Black voters not to vote for candidates who use socialist as a pejorative, stating the tactic has racist roots.
"Whatever you decide on Saturday, do not vote by those who used the socialist tag to try to separate us from what we need to do for this country. Because we been down that road before, and we are not that stupid to allow you to tell us who is what," Sharpton said.
In the South Carolina debate, candidates like former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar questioned the electability of Sanders' socialist platform. The two candidates took turns trying to tear down Sanders' Medicaid for All proposal, a signature policy that is emblematic among most socialists.
However, there was no other candidate Sharpton was shading more than former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who directly said Sanders is a favorable candidate for the Russian government.
“Russia is helping you get elected,” Bloomberg told Sanders, The Hill reported. “Putin thinks Trump should be president of the United States and that’s why Russia is helping you get elected so you’ll lose to him,” he added.
The former NYC mayor is referring to a Washington Post article, suggesting Sanders is Russia's desired Democratic presidential nominee and President Donald Trump would have the best chance of beating the Vermont senator.
Contrary to Bloomberg's conspiracy theories, Sanders has the best chance of winning against Trump one-on-one, according to Real Clear Politics.
This is a no-brainer for the Russians. They either nominate the weakest candidate to take on their puppet Trump, or they elect a socialist as President. https://t.co/hL9CnHM1MO— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) February 21, 2020