The Rev. Al Sharpton has emerged as a kingmaker in the crowded 2020 Democratic field, as the party’s White House hopefuls lined up this week to pitch their vision of America to him in hopes of receiving his blessing.
All of the top Democratic contenders were in New York City this week, attending Sharpton’s National Action Network convention and discussing the issue of racism in America. More speeches were scheduled for Friday.
Among the attendees: former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg; and U.S. Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand and Amy Klobuchar.
Such mainstream influence is a stark change for Sharpton, whose early years of activism put him on the fringes of politics. His explosive comments drew swift criticism, as he was accused of inciting violence and riots against Jews in New York in the early 1990s and reportedly used anti-Semitic descriptions such as “bloodsucking Jews” and “diamond merchants.” – READ MORE