New Hillary Backer Says Bernie Sanders Won’t Be President Because He’s a Socialist

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

A new backer of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign said this afternoon that her top rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, won’t ever be president because he calls himself a socialist.

“Let’s be clear. A self-described socialist will not be the next president of the United States of America,” said Congressman Hakeem Jeffries, a Brooklyn Democrat, at an endorsement event for Ms. Clinton at City Hall. “Senator Bernie Sanders in my view has a significant track record of articulating good ideas on behalf of hard-working Americans but that verbal track record in it of itself is not a sufficient qualification to be the next president of the United States of America.”

“Hillary Clinton is not a blank check,” he added. “She’s money in the bank.”

Mr. Jeffries was joined by Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, a Brooklyn Democrat, and Congressman Gregory Meeks, a Queens Democrat, in his endorsement of Ms. Clinton. The trio of Democrats join a parade of New York elected officials who are in Ms. Clinton’s corner. (The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, is the notable exception.)

Though Mr. Jeffries, then an assemblyman, bucked the New York establishment to support President Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign, his backing of Clinton, a former New York senator who lost to Mr. Obama, was never in doubt, especially since the Democratic establishment is so firmly behind Ms. Clinton.

All three representatives are also African-American and strongly hinted at a weakness Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent and self-described socialist, has yet to overcome, even as he appears increasingly likely to do damage to Ms. Clinton in New Hampshire and Iowa: black and Latino voters still don’t support him or even really know who he is.

“It was clear to me very early on that Barack Obama had broad appeal across a very diverse constituency in the United States of America,” Mr. Jeffries told the Observer. “I’ve got tremendous respect for Senator Bernie Sanders but he’s got a narrow appeal that it’s not clear to me will extend beyond certain segments in Iowa and New Hampshire and I think the polls have born that out to date.”

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