Trailing Bernie: Cornell West backs Sanders

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Sen. Bernie Sanders has picked up the endorsement of civil rights activist Cornell West, who took to Twitter Monday night to declare his support.

“I endorse Brother @BernieSanders because he is a long-distance runner with integrity in the struggle for justice for over 50 years,” he said in one tweet.

“Now is the time for his prophetic voice to be heard across our crisis-ridden country,” West wrote in another tweet.

West’s endorsement could help Sanders attract more support from black voters, which the 73-year-old democratic socialist has struggled to do, according to polls. The campaign has made an effort to reach out to black voters since Black Lives Matter supporters twice disrupted speeches by Sanders.

West has taken part in several Black Lives Matter protests, and was arrested during on demonstration in Ferguson, Mo. He had spoken favorably of Sanders in previous media appearances but had not offered his endorsement until he took to Twitter on Monday.

Sanders has found some unlikely support in his dealings with the Black Lives Matter movement from Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson. The neurosurgeon, and the only African American running for president on both the Republican and Democratic side, said the Black Lives Matter movement is wrong to direct its ire on Sanders.

“The idea that disrupting and protesting Bernie Sanders speeches will change what is wrong in America is lunacy,” Carson wrote in an op-ed published by USA Today. “The ‘BlackLivesMatter’ movement is focused on the wrong targets, to the detriment of blacks who would like to see real change and to the benefit of its powerful white liberal funders using the attacks on Sanders for political purposes that mean nothing for the problems that face our community.”

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Sanders’ campaign has significantly evolved since it launched in Burlington in late May. As Bernie criss-crossed Iowa in late-June, Sanders appeared at events with a small entourage of two or three. Reporters were free to roam with supporters and even approach the candidate for better pictures.

Fast forward to late August in South Carolina and the vibe is decidedly different. Sanders now has a larger core group surrounding him. And there is more security in place. Deputy sheriffs were on hand last weekend at each of Sanders’ four South Carolina events. And what appeared to be a private security team were by Sanders’ side as he worked rope lines.

And the reporters? Penned into press areas — no more free range habits.

Perhaps it’s a response to the Black Lives Matter disruptions. Or maybe just the natural evolution of a presidential campaign on the rise. Either way, Sanders campaign officials had little to say.

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The media continues to buzz about whether or not Joe Biden will enter the Democratic primary. Seven Days political editor Paul Heintz reported Wednesday that Sanders faced more questions about Biden during a swing through the Granite State on Monday.

Sanders acknowledged, according to Heintz, that interest in Biden appears to be driven by presumed nominee Hillary Clinton’s email trouble from her tenure as secretary of state.

“Well, I think the evidence is pretty clear,” Sanders said, according to Heintz. “We are gaining. I think what the polls seem to indicate is that Hillary Clinton’s support seems to be receding a bit. But we’ve got a long way to go. Joe would be a formidable opponent.”

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