Appearing on his behalf in South Carolina were Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison and scholar-activist Cornel West, two powerhouse black surrogates arguing that Sanders could win over the state’s black voters, who compose a crucial 60% of the SC’s Democratic voters. In NV, Ellison said, Sanders showed he has “real juice” in states with communities of color. “In South Carolina, man, we’re going to break it out wide,” Ellison said slamming the table as the room exploded in cheers.
During his speech in Columbia, West rejected fears that the socialist label will harm Sanders. “’Soviet,’ ‘communist,’ ‘Bolshevik,’” West told the crowd, “that’s what they said about my brother, Martin Luther King, Jr. who called himself a democratic socialist. He said it because he loved poor people, he loved working people. It ain’t about an ‘ism’—it’s about the lens through which you view the world.”