Rev. Jesse Jackson endorses Bernie Sanders

Sen. Bernie Sanders secured a major endorsement Sunday when civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson announced he would back the Vermont independent for the Democratic nomination for president.

Jackson's endorsement comes several hours after Sen. Kamala Harris of California backed former vice president Joe Biden, Sanders' major rival for the Democratic nomination.

Jackson, 78, appeared with Sanders during a campaign stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, The Washington Post reported. Jackson said he decided to back Sanders after the senator's campaign offered responses to 13 issues Jackson raised, the newspaper reported. That included protecting voting rights, putting African Americans on the Supreme Court and increasing funding for historically black colleges.

Jackson also said Sanders' support of a wealth tax, his Medicare for All proposal and free tuition at public colleges and universities factored into his decision, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“With the exception of Native Americans, African-Americans are the people who are most behind socially and economically in the United States and our needs are not moderate,” Jackson said in a statement released by the Sanders campaign Sunday morning. “A people far behind cannot catch up choosing the most moderate path. The most progressive social and economic path gives us the best chance to catch up and Senator Bernie Sanders represents the most progressive path. That’s why I choose to endorse him today.”

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