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Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who once ran for governor of Massachusetts, now teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. (Photo: HarvardEthics/flickr/cc)

'A Movement for the Many': Clinton Labor Secretary Reich Endorses Sanders

Political economist's endorsement comes on eve of South Carolina primary

Deirdre Fulton

"I believe Bernie Sanders is the agent of change this nation so desperately needs."

So said political economist Robert Reich, who served as Labor Secretary under former President Bill Clinton, on social media Friday night, announcing his official endorsement of Sanders.

The development was not particularly surprising, given Reich's previously expressed support for key planks of Sanders' platform. Still, the news "may sting a bit for the Clinton camp," Huffington Post labor reporter Dave Jamieson wrote, coming as it does amid heated debate over the candidates' domestic policy proposals and specifically their ability to take on Wall Street.

"I endorse Bernie Sanders for President of the United States," Reich said. "He’s leading a movement to reclaim America for the many, not the few. And such a political mobilization—a “political revolution,” as he puts it—is the only means by which we can get the nation back from the moneyed interests that now control so much of our economy and democracy."

Reich continued:

This extraordinary concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the very top imperils all else – our economy, our democracy, the revival of the American middle class, the prospects for the poor and for people of color, the necessity of slowing and reversing climate change, and a sensible foreign policy not influenced by the “military-industrial complex,” as President Dwight Eisenhower once called it. It is the fundamental prerequisite: We have little hope of achieving positive change on any front unless the American people are once again in control.

Despite holding "the deepest respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton"—and saying he'd support her if she wins the nomination—Reich said he sees Sanders as the candidate best able to upend "the establishment," which he described in a blog post this week as "all of the people and institutions that have wielded significant power over the American political economy, and are therefore deemed complicit."

Sanders and Clinton are facing off Saturday in South Carolina, with Clinton favored to win

Still, the New York Times wrote on Satuday, "Sanders has worked hard to make inroads with African-American voters, including a radio ad from the director Spike Lee and campaign events with the rapper Killer Mike. Even a loss, if it shows that Mr. Sanders’s message of economic injustice has resonated among black voters, could help him in the Southern states that vote on Super Tuesday, three days later."

Polls in the state will be open until 7 pm EST.

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