Zell Miller, relying on what happened when Jesse Jackson ran in 1988, predicts Al Sharpton will run away with the Southern primaries.

I once thought that but no longer do. There are a lot of black voters in the South, with almost all of whom that vote, Democrats. And since everybody but Sharpton and Moseley-Braun are white–and no one has heard of Moseley-Braun–it stands to reason that Sharpton will do well.

But Sharpton isn’t Jesse Jackson. While he has a certain charming quality, there is no longer a single leader with ties to the civil rights movement of the 1960s that most blacks rally around. My guess is blacks will rally to one of the two or three plausible candidates that remain by the time the race gets down South. Sharpton isn’t plausible and isn’t likely to get that way.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. richard says:

    I am in SC, and although there is an important black vote here, the majority of blacks in the state don’t vote at all, but whats more, it wouldn’t matter.
    there is a local councilman here who is always in the news, always trying to get the black vote and move a little higher up the line, but he, like Sharpton, has a history with drugs, so noone takes him seriously, I feel this is the main reason Sharpton won’t do too well

  2. McGehee says:

    There’s a very definite perception gap also, between Jesse Jackson in 1988 and Al Sharpton in 2004. I’m not sure even Jesse in 2004 measures up to Jesse in ’88.

    I think the winner of the SC primary will be whichever of the nine looks best positioned, on that particular Tuesday, to stop Dean.