Thursday, October 8, 2015

John Lewis Endorses Hillary Clinton and No One Should Second-Guess Him

Congressman John Lewis with the Clintons on the 42nd anniversary of the march on Selma in March 2007
Question: Is there anyone you'd rather have by your side fighting for your country's future than the great John Lewis?

As part of an announcement yesterday that the biggest names in Georgia Democratic politics were backing Hillary Clinton, the fifteen-term U.S. Representative for the state's 5th district went on Facebook to personally endorse her for president:
"As our former Secretary of State, Senator from New York, and first Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton is the most qualified person to be President of the United States. I know her heart. We need her leadership, not just here in America, but all over the world. She is tireless in her advocacy for those who have been left out and left behind. She is ready to be President on day one. Hillary Clinton has my wholehearted endorsement, and I plan to work and campaign for her to see that she is elected the next President of the United States."
And right on cue, note that Bernie Sanders supporters showed up in droves in the comments to tell him (often bluntly, irrationally and even offensively) that he was supporting the wrong candidate. Listen up guys, seriously: John still works on Capitol Hill with Bernie and also served alongside him for sixteen years in the House of Representatives. So he's quite familiar with him but chose to endorse someone else. Plus, if you're whitesplaining anything to John're doing it wrong. Enough.

This is a particularly special endorsement for several reasons, but one of them goes back to the Democratic primaries eight years ago. Lewis was an early backer of Hillary Clinton but eventually changed his mind and endorsed Barack Obama in February 2008. For Clinton and her supporters, this was a devastating setback...but it wasn't any easier for Lewis.

Talking to Andrea Mitchell at the time, the congressman made clear just how painful this decision was:
"I love Bill Clinton. I love Hillary Clinton. But something is happening in America, something is unbelievable. It is unreal."
"Forty-three years ago I marched across the bridge in Selma," he continued. "It was much easier than the decision that I have to make. But I had to make it. ... I'm dealing with friends, people that I love, people that I admire, part of my extended family."
Mitchell pressed him on this in seeming disbelief, but Lewis reiterated that switching his support from Clinton to Obama was "much tougher" than his experience in Selma in 1965. Watch:

For Hillary Clinton, having John Lewis's support in 2016 is an honor of the highest order...and supporting her second quest for the presidency clearly means a whole lot to him as well.

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