campaign with a rich message
Democratic hopefuls in the 2004 presidential campaign,
candidates may find it challenging to get voters to remember who they are.
is neither the most
candidate, but his policies and voice are
reminiscent of a voice in the presidential campaigns of the 1980s
-- the Rev. Jesse Jackson's.
in public education, health care and voting rights, issues adopted
from Jackson's writing, are the centerpieces of Sharpton’s
central part of Sharpton’s campaign is adding new
amendments to the Constitution, while all the other candidates are
fighting for programs and policies," said Frank Watkins, Sharpton's
former national campaign manager.
system leaves health care, voting rights or the right to
a public education
of equal high
quality up to individual states rather than including them the Constitution,
care programs that other presidential candidates are fighting
for may not provide care for
all Americans. Sharpton argues that we must "first establish
the premise that the American people are entitled to have a right to health
care," Watkins said.
recognized the importance of these issues during his 1988 presidential
bid, when he proposed an amendment for all U.S. citizens to enjoy the right
to health care of equal quality.
"The similarity is that these are poor campaigns with a rich
message," said Watkins.
The message is similar in both campaigns, but the means of spreading
it differ. Jackson ran an extensive campaign in 1983 by
organizing farmers and others in the “rainbow coalition,” a
campaign designed to broaden his appeal, said Basil Talbott,
H. Gallup professor at the University of Iowa. Jackson also visited Iowa
frequently and had a local staff.
Jackson gained support in Iowa, it gave him credibility beyond the African-American
community," Talbott said.
During his campaign, Jackson also traveled to Europe to establish credentials
in foreign affairs to make himself a competitive candidate who appealed
to a broad population. Sharpton has not done so.
Sharpton has not opened an Iowa campaign office,
nor has he visited Iowa extensively.
did not say whether Sharpton plans to open an Iowa office in
the near future. Sharpton’s campaign attributes the absence
of an Iowa office to a lack of campaign funds - $12,000
compared with millions for "first-tier" candidates such as former
Gov. Howard Dean, Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., and Sen. John Kerry,
campaign has their own strategy and emphasizes some states more than others
as part of their overall strategy. And of course, money or the lack thereof
has something to do with that, too," said Watkins.
campaign is not any different than other campaigns in picking and
states, he said.
"We are competing in every state
to the degree that we can give an overall strategy and resources," said
Sharpton has campaigned extensively in South Carolina, Alabama, Delaware
and Washington, D.C.
than win, his goal is more likely to do what Jackson did in 1988:
use a losing campaign to position himself as one of the most influential
Democrats in America. Jackson helped win back the Senate for
the Democrats in 1986
and the presidency for Bill Clinton in 1992, Watkins said. Jackson
also helped African-American politicians win office at other levels,
former New York City
Mayor David Dinkins and former Virgnia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.
and Jackson possess similar oratory skills, delivering speeches and
debates that can generate enthusiasm from an audience
of potential voters.
However, although both of these campaigns can electrify a crowd
and have focused
on constitutional amendments for everyone, Jackson's rainbow coalition generated
support came from a more diverse electorate than Sharpton does,
appealed to the electorate by registering and turning out voters," he
try to do this before the end of the election cycle."
Crystal Higgins at [email protected]
story was published in the Sac (City, IA) Sun on November