In New Ads, Sanders and Clinton Express Solidarity With Black Protest Movements

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Hillary Clinton and Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton.

Bernie Sanders’s upset win in Michigan was built off his strongest showing with African-American voters to date. While the Vermont senator lost the black vote in Mississippi by a margin of nearly nine to one, that same night he earned roughly half of Clinton’s support among the demographic in the Wolverine State.

To keep the Democratic race competitive, Sanders will need to replicate that performance in Ohio and Illinois next Tuesday. A new ad reveals his strategy for hitting his mark in the latter: Give Chicago voters a chance to vote against Rahm Emanuel.

Last month, Emanuel’s approval rating fell to 27 percent, a record low. Four in ten Chicagoans would like to see their mayor resign. Even before the controversy surrounding the police killing of Laquan McDonald, Emanuel had earned the ire of a large left-wing opposition. The Windy City’s unusually radical teachers union mobilized out of widespread anger over Emanuel’s decision to shutter 50 public schools early in his tenure. Emanuel ultimately won reelection last year, but not before weathering a serious primary challenge from Cook County Board commissioner Chuy Garcia. And that was before video of Chicago police shooting an unarmed 17-year-old 16 times in 13 seconds became public — more than a year after the killing occurred. The anger over McDonald’s death, and the government’s belated response, is fueling a grassroots campaign to oust State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in next Tuesday’s primary.

All of which is to say, it’s not a bad time to run as the anti-Establishment candidate in Chicago. In a new 30-second spot, Sanders aligns himself with the city’s left-wing opposition — while tying Hillary Clinton to its mayor.

In Chicago we have endured a corrupt political system, and the chief politician standing in the way of us getting good schools is our mayor,” Chicago principal Troy LaRaviere says, as a school bus drives down a desolate gray street. “If you have a candidate that supports someone like our mayor, you have a candidate that’s not willing to take on the Establishment. Bernie Sanders is definitely not afraid to take on the system.”

Meanwhile, Clinton is out with her own expression of solidarity for an African-American-led protest movement. In a heartrending three-minute ad titled “Mothers of the Movement,” the mothers of high-profile victims of police or angry-white-male violence — Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother; Geneva Reed-Veal, mother of Sandra Bland; Gwen Carr, mother of Eric Garner; Maria Hamilton, mother of Dontre Hamilton; and Lucia McBath, the mother of Jordan Davis — remember their lost children, and express their faith that Clinton will do everything she can to prevent other families from knowing their pain.

The stakes are too high, the costs are too dear, and I am not and will not be afraid to keep fighting for common-sense reforms and, along with you, achieve those on behalf of all who have been lost,” Clinton says.

Finally, someone here is really willing to listen and to really stimulate change,” McBath adds.

The ad will run in Chicago, Cleveland, and St. Louis ahead of the Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri primaries, Politico reports. Polling shows Clinton with a commanding lead in all three of those contests.

The Democrats’ Dueling Tributes to Black Protest