“The Reverend” Al Sharpton is many things. He is a race-baiter, a virulent anti-Semite, a liar, and a conspiracy theorist. He is also host of a show on MSNBC, which says more about the network that it does about him.
And now thanks to the current crop of far-left candidates for the Democratic nomination for president, Sharpton can add the label “kingmaker” to his résumé.
According to CBS News, this years edition of Sharpton’s annual National Action Network convention, which started Wednesday, has turned out to be a who’s who of Democratic presidential aspirants. Beto O’Rourke, businessman Andrew Yang, Julián Castro. amd Stacey Abrams, all spoke on Wednesday, while Thursday’s bill included Rep. John Delaney and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Friday will see the greatest concentration of 2020 candidates speaking at the event: Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker will be making remarks. Potential presidential contender Rep. Eric Swalwell will also be speaking on Friday.
The article emphasizes that “Democrats have been working assiduously to court black voters,” which makes perfectly good sense. But do they really consider Sharpton to be the most reliable broker of mainstream black votes? In early 2015, Sharpton was accused by Eric Garner’s daughter, Trayvon Martin’s father, and Michael Brown’s lawyer of exploiting their personal tragedies to enrich himself and his National Action Network. Around the same time, the race huckster was named as a defendant in a $20 billion lawsuit filed by the National Association of African-American Owned Media that claimed Sharpton had facilitated discrimination.
And now he is demanding fealty from Democratic candidates by asking them to sign on to politically untenable policies such as reparations, which, if you think about it, is a demand for payment from people who never owned slaves by people who never were slaves. As Perry Bacon, Jr., of FiveThirtyEight notes, reparations is “a very unpopular idea.” He cites two polls, the more recent from July 2018, both of which show a scant 26% of Americans supporting “some kind of compensation or cash benefits for the descendants of slaves.”