Posted on February 26, 2020

Biden Wins Crucial Jim Clyburn Endorsement Ahead of South Carolina Primary

Caitlin Oprysko and Marc Caputo, Politico, February 26, 2020

Rep. James Clyburn, the godfather of South Carolina Democratic politics, swung his support to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign Wednesday, giving the former vice president a crucial seal of approval among black voters.

“I’ve been saying to the media, I’ve known for a long time who I’m going to vote for. But I had not decided — well, not to share it with the public,” the House Majority Whip said at a news conference in North Charleston. “But I want the public to know that I’m voting for Joe Biden. South Carolina should be voting for Joe Biden.”

Clyburn’s decision, which POLITICO reported Sunday was in the offing, comes at a critical time for Biden’s campaign as he reeled from three losses to Bernie Sanders and others in the field and seeks a reset in South Carolina, which has long been viewed as his firewall. {snip}


Clyburn, the highest ranking African American in Congress, has long been close with Biden and has been open about his affinity for the former vice president during the Democratic primary.


Clyburn’s sentiment is widely shared by others in the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members have been more likely to endorse Biden — the loyal vice president to the nation’s first black president — than any other candidate in the race.


Black lawmakers who have endorsed different candidates have attended many of the same events this week in South Carolina and have grown increasingly concerned about Sanders, the black caucus member said. But they’re not ready to publicly speak out against the Vermont senator until Super Tuesday to see if any challengers to Sanders are viable, the black caucus member said.

The video rolled out by the Biden campaign to tout with Clyburn’s endorsement leans heavily on b-roll featuring Biden and Obama, and notes that the Palmetto State “launched” both he and Bill Clinton into the White House when they ran for president. {snip}


The South Carolina congressman said that his fear of the future was greater now than it had been during the civil rights movement, remarking when he was jailed for his activism, “I wondered whether or not we were doing the right thing, — but I was never fearful of the future. As I stand before you today, I am fearful for the future of this country.”

He argued: “We don’t need to make this country great again. This country is great. That’s not what our challenge is.”