Cornel West: Sanders is better for black people than Clinton
© Getty Images

Academic and activist Cornel West wrote Saturday that Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersOvernight Defense: Senate passes 0B defense bill | 3,000 US troops heading to Afghanistan | Two more Navy officials fired over ship collisions Senate passes 0B defense bill Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight MORE (I-Vt.) is "better for black people" than Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax hit by earlier hack | What to know about Kaspersky controversy | Officials review EU-US privacy pact Overnight Tech: Equifax hit by earlier undisclosed hack | Facebook takes heat over Russian ads | Alt-right Twitter rival may lose domain MORE.

"The conventional wisdom holds that, in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton is the candidate who will win over African-American voters—that her rival, Bernie Sanders, performed well in Iowa and won New Hampshire on account of those states’ disproportionate whiteness, and that Clinton’s odds are better in the upcoming contests in South Carolina and Nevada, two highly diverse states," West wrote in a Politico op-ed.

"But in fact, when it comes to advancing Dr. King’s legacy, a vote for Clinton not only falls far short of the mark; it prevents us from giving new life to King’s legacy. Instead, it is Sanders who has championed that legacy in word and in deed for 50 years."

West added that while Clinton was campaigning for Barry Goldwater — who opposed civil rights bills targeting discrimination — in the sixties, "Sanders was getting arrested for protesting segregation in Chicago and marching in Washington with none other than King itself. That’s real moral clarity."

The former Harvard and Princeton professor also noted Clinton's support for her husband's crime bill that led to a "drastic escalation of the mass incarceration of poor people, especially black and brown people."

"Bill apologized for the effects of his crime bill, after devastating thousands of black and poor lives. Will Hillary apologize for supporting the same measures?"

West also pointed to her ties to Wall Street as a sign that she cannot be trusted to create fair economic policies.

"These ties are far from being 'old news' or an 'artful smear,' as Hillary Clinton recently put it," he wrote. "Rather, they perfectly underscore how it is Sanders, not Clinton, who is building on King’s legacy." 

"Sanders’ specific policies—in support of a $15 minimum wage, a massive federal jobs program with a living wage, free tuition for public college and universities, and Medicare for all—would undeniably lessen black social misery."
West endorsed Sanders in August, and has given speeches on his behalf at historically black colleges and universities. Sanders has sought to showcase his support among African American leaders as the southern primaries approach.
Former NAACP President Ben Jealous, singer Harry Belafonte and writer Ta-Nehisi Coates have all recently announced their endorsements of — or in Coates's case, plans to vote for — Sanders.