Jackson Says Democrats Could Win With Just Traditional Base
WASHINGTON (AP) _ Jesse Jackson said Friday the Democrats could win the presidency in a three-way race by just going back to the party’s base - labor, women, blacks, urban voters and younger voters.
″You should spend most of your time fishing in pools where there are lots of fish,″ Jackson said outside a conference on inner cities hosted by his National Rainbow Coalition.
Democratic presidential contender Bill Clinton - whom Jackson has yet to endorse - was scheduled to address the conference on Saturday.
It is ″ridiculous reasoning,″ Jackson said, to think that Clinton risks looking like an ″insider″ if he pushes hard for the traditional Democratic constituencies.
″If that vote turns out and is inspired, it’s enough to win, substantially, in a three-person race,″ Jackson said. He said that if Clinton appealed to the party’s traditional base, he would not ″look like a hack.″
″It looks like one who is willing to inspire people to join the process to rebuild the country,″ said Jackson.
Jackson said Democrats have typically polled about 40 percent of the vote in recent presidential elections, which could be enough to win in a likely three-way battle this fall between Clinton, President Bush and independent Ross Perot.
Bush and Perot would split the rest of the vote, leaving the Democrats to mop up with its base, Jackson said.
As for reports that the Clinton campaign is worried about embracing Jackson because accommodating him might seem like bowing to a special group, Jackson said: ″Voters who are going to Perot are not leaving because of me.″
″I have nothing to do with the movement of those who are moving,″ Jackson said.
Jackson defended his decision not to endorse Clinton yet.
″There’s so much media waves filled up with punditry talk - who is with whom when, who said what about whom yesterday - there is no substance in that political maneuvering and guesswork,″ Jackson said. ″I’m interested in a plan for national reconstruction.″
Former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who challenged Clinton for the nomination and does not plan to drop his candidate status until the Democratic National Convention in July, also spoke to the conference.
He criticized the Bush administration for just offering ″crumbs″ to the cities.
Brown, who ran against big-money politics and wants to limit campaign contributions, said he planned to spend the next four weeks working on platform issues.