Jesse Jackson’s 1984 campaign sought to bring together a “Rainbow Coalition” of African Americans, Hispanics, the poor, the elderly, family farmers, and women that would challenge the conservative policies of president Ronald Reagan. Rev. Jackson placed third out of ten candidates for the Democratic nomination with more than 3 million primary votes. He won primaries or caucuses in four states and the District of Columbia. Jackson’s campaign made enormous progress by building on Chisholm’s legacy. His 1984 campaign registered nearly 2 million voters of all racial backgrounds. By registering so many new voters, Jackson expanded the Democratic Party’s base. He also inspired African American voters. Exit polls showed that nearly 12% of all Black voters were participating for the first-time. Jackson’s campaign won him a speaking slot at the 1984 Democratic Convention, which provided a national platform for him to present his agenda. In his 1988 campaign, Jackson increased his support to 6.9 million primary votes and won 9 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
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