State Rep. Justin Bamberg. Much like the surprising switched endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Sen. Bernie Sanders of Ohio State Rep. Nina Turner, it’s happening again. This time in South Carolina.
State Rep. Justin Bamberg, 28, who is also an attorney for police brutality victim Walter Scott’s family, is switching his support from Clinton to Sanders. Walter Scott, 50, was shot in the back multiple times as he ran away from former Charleston Police Officer Michael Slager in February 2015. The shocking video prompted lawmakers to offer legislation on police body cameras and sparked widespread condemnation.
Normally the political allegiance of a State Representatative would not be such a big story. But Bamberg’s switch comes at a time when there is a lively discussion over Sanders’ enthusiasm around black agenda policy issues vs. Clinton. The race between Sanders and Clinton appears to be getting tighter and there is a building feeling that he could pull off an upset heading into the Iowa Caucus’ in seven days. But there is a long way to go. In past election cycles polls and pundits have been wrong.
One thing that appears undeniable is that the enthusiasm level, crowd sizing and small donor support is currently with Sanders. Additionally, we haven’t heard of a story (yet) of a key elected or super delegate supporter switched from Sanders to Clinton. But Clinton is way ahead in the super delegate count as she has outdone Sanders in congressional endorsements. The only thing is: In a year where anti-establishment “outsider” candidates are all the rage, his endorsement deficiencies may turn out to be hidden strengths.
“Hillary Clinton is more a representation of the status quo when I think about politics or about what it means to be a Democrat,” said Mr. Bamberg, as reported by Amiche Alcindor in the New York Times. Bamberg endorsed Clinton in December.
“Bernie Sanders on the other hand is bold. He doesn’t think like everyone else. He is not afraid to call things as they are,” Bamberg added explaining his switch.
According to recent polls, Clinton is leading Sanders in South Carolina by a large margin. A key factor in the South Carolina primary, which will be held for Democrats on February 27, is whether or not Black voters will chose Clinton or Sanders. There is no indication that Sanders will best Clinton for Black votes. But if momentum switches to Sanders should he win in Iowa and New Hampshire who knows what can happen in Nevada and South Carolina.