Famed actor, writer, producer, director and civil rights champion Spike Lee has endorsed Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersEx-Arizona governor: Hispanic Dems 'don’t get out and vote' Emails show Clinton camp's plans to work with writers to hit Sanders Small donors aren’t revolutionizing Congress. At least not yet. MORE (Vt.) for president and dramatized the key point that the financial equality that Sanders is battling for is just as important to black voters as it is to all voters.
Since announcing his candidacy, Sanders has been broadening his coalition for justice and change. It began with young voters, including young women voters, who believe in Sanders as the agent of great and sweeping change. In the New Hampshire primary, Sanders broadened his appeal beyond the liberal base to include a growing number of white working-class voters.
In the Nevada caucuses, Sanders broadened his base even further, winning — according to my research — somewhere between 40 percent and a majority of Hispanics in the state.
Sanders remains an underdog in the South Carolina primary, but the recent support he has received from actor Danny Glover and now Lee will broaden his coalition even further into the African-American community with a reach that will expand from South Carolina through Super Tuesday and later primaries.
An excellent story about Lee endorsing Sanders can be found here in The Hill, including the fact that Lee will be a major player in a campaign ad for the Sanders campaign, in which Lee states that he believes Sanders will "do the right thing."
While Bill and Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump to lay out first 100 days in Gettysburg speech GOP senator: Dems making ‘concerted effort to produce fraudulent votes’ Trump touts Navy expansion proposal in Pa. MORE have done much for the black community over many years, and earned high praise from major black and civil rights leaders, Sanders has been in the trenches as well, beginning with the days when he marched with Martin Luther King Jr., for which he is only beginning to receive the credit he too has earned from the African-American community.
Sanders deserves great credit for the progressive populist proposals he champions. My hope is that all poor and lower-income Americans will rally around his plan to provide free public college education and finance his program through a Wall Street transaction tax. The Sanders education plan has great value and appeal to middle-income voters and would provide a huge lift in life to poor black, Hispanic and white students and their moms and dads who spend much of their lives carrying the weight of the cost of education and the debt it brings.
Hillary Clinton has criticized this Sanders plan with the mocking charge that he is giving away education for free. Sanders replied — and is right to reply — that America currently provides free education from kindergarten through the 12th grade, and he would merely expand this through public college education.
As Sanders often says, Wall Street reaped great profits from the wrongs that contributed mightily to the last financial crash and recession and Wall Street gained mightily from the taxpayer-financed bailouts. Why shouldn't Wall Street accept a modest transaction tax to pay for widening free education to public colleges?
Spike Lee's endorsement of Sanders has a powerful, real and symbolic value in the 2016 campaign. Lee is a widely admired and respected figure in the entertainment business and the civil rights community. He joins African-American luminaries such as Professor Cornel West, Danny Glover and Harry Belafonte in bringing the Sanders message to all American voters, everywhere. His endorsement is good news for Bernie Sanders and all who share the dream of full economic equality and opportunity, whomever they may be and wherever they may live.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.