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California

Jesse Jackson: Electoral college must be abolished

Presidential debate in Las Vegas
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, shown in 2016, said Sunday at the Islamic Center of Southern California that he endorsed removing monuments to Confederate leaders.
(Paul J. Richards / AFP-Getty Images)

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Sunday gave a strong endorsement to the movement for removing monuments to leaders of the Confederacy and called for the electoral college to be abolished.

Speaking at the Islamic Center of Southern California, Jackson blamed the electoral college system, giving disproportionate influence to less populated states, for the 2000 and 2016 loss of Democratic presidential candidates Al Gore and Hillary Clinton despite their winning the popular vote.

“Today we are looking at a structural problem,” Jackson said. “These monuments must go.

Calling for the audience to repeat, he said, “Say the monuments and the flags and the electoral college must go.”

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Jackson also compared Heather Heyer, the woman killed in Charlottesville, Va., when a car plowed into people demonstrating against white supremacists, to civil rights leaders including Medgar Evers, whose death in 1963, he said, precipitated the great march on Washington.

“The martyrs triggered a new day,” Jackson said. There is power in the blood of the martyrs. When Heather was killed it redefined Charlottesville. It redefined this phase of American history. We are here today because Heather died. In many ways this new situation has connected us in new ways.

In a short question-and-answer period, Jackson demurred when asked if he thought President Trump should be impeached and whether it is a goal activists should pursue, saying he said he could live with the results of any election if the playing field is even.

Jackson suggested instead that the 2018 mid-term elections should be the focus of civil rights activists.

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