Sunday, September 1, 2013
On Jesse Jackson's 1984 Presidential Bid
On Jesse Jackson's 1984 Presidential Bid: Perhaps most people remember Rev. Jackson's 1988 presidential bid because of its impact on the Democratic Party's nomination process. But his 1984 bid represented one of the more dramatic developments in modern American political history. To be clear, Jackson's 1984 presidential bid was a "campaign-movement," as it fused traditional political objectives (taxation, spending, etc.) with social issues afflicting America's underclass (poverty, discrimination, etc.). And in the larger context of "Reagan's America" (coupled with Cold War thinking), Jackson's fusion approach seemed radical. Yet it was Jackson's non-profit civil rights organization Operation PUSH (People United to Save Humanity), which helped him rise to national political prominence by the early 1980s. At the time, Jackson had become fundamentally disenchanted with the Democratic Party. After witnessing the Party's endorsement debacle in Chicago's 1983 mayoral race, whereby Harold Washington became the city's first black mayor, he felt the Party had moved too far to the center. What Jackson ultimately wanted to accomplish in running for the presidency was reintroduce the Democratic Party to the idea of the state as "final arbiter," especially in matters of equality relating to education, employment, and housing.