The Rev. Jesse Jackson may have lost his bid for the nation's highest office, but his closest advisers see his candidacy as a victory, especially in terms of the momentum it will give to local candidates.
"We're going to spend the next several years helping people to design, finance and implement campaigns to bring more progressives into public office," says Lamond Godwin, a close adviser to the Jackson campaign who will be an Institute of Politics (IOP) fellow this semester.
While at the Kennedy School, Godwin plans to develop strategies to launch a broader-based more cohesive Rainbow Coalition campaign in the future. "I hope to use this fellowship to assess the campaign and prepare a report for Jesse and his inner circle--this is what we did, this is what we did wrong or right, this is what we do from here," proclaims the Jackson campaign's head in four states.
Godwin admits that a big impediment to the success of a National Rainbow Coalition is gaining the support of non-Blacks. "We have to attract more Hispanics, whites and Orientals to the Rainbow Coalition," he says.
Although they had gotten to know each other in Atlanta, where Godwin attended Clark College, during the student protests of the 1960's, Godwin did not become a close advisor of Jackson's until former President Carter's campaign.
In 1982, after the unsuccessful campaign, the two "went down to the Bahamas to get some sun and start thinking about 1984," he says There, Jackson decided to launch a major push to register one million new voters before the 1984 election and in test reaction to a run for the Presidency.
Before getting involved in running campaign, the bulk of Godwin's experience had been in the areas of protest activity and labor policy.
After years of fighting against the racial policies of the government and of labor unions, in 1977 as special assistant to the Secretary of Labor he found himself in control of those very federal policies against which he had been working.
"This was like a dream come true," Godwin says. "For me it was the topping out of 10 years of research and going to the very top of my profession."
At the Labor Department, Godwin oversaw special employment and training program, including the government's affirmative action programs, and worked with a number of unions and minority groups.
In addition to studying Jackson's campaign and conducting a study group called "Trends in Political Realignment," Godwin will be updating a study of discrimination and labor unions, auditing some courses, and working for the New England Rainbow Coalition.