Bernie Sanders Loyalists Are Taking Over the Democratic Party One County Office at a Time

The followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown above last week, are aiming to transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts.

In fight to define party in age of Donald Trump, Sanders followers want to transform it from the bottom up by taking control of low-level state and county posts

 

The followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders, shown above last week, are aiming to transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts. Photo: mandel ngan/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook

Wall St Journal

Feb. 22, 2017  – In Washington, Democrats are grappling with what it means to be a minority party in the age of Donald Trump. In the rest of the country, populist followers of Sen. Bernie Sanders are mounting a sustained effort to answer the question from the bottom up.

In California, supporters of the 2016 presidential contender packed the obscure party meetings that chose delegates to the state Democratic convention, with Sanders backers grabbing more than half the slots available.

In Washington state, they swept to power at the Democratic state central committee, ousting a party chairman and installing one of their own in his place. Sanders acolytes have seized control of state parties in Hawaii and Nebraska and won posts throughout the party structure from coast to coast.

Those gains come from an under-the-radar blitz in a debate over the future of the party following its bruising 2016 losses. While Democrats nationwide have put the focus on President Trump, the Sanders wing of the party has engaged in an intramural fight to remake the party in a more populist, liberal mold.

“It is absolutely imperative that we see a major transformation of the Democratic Party,” Mr. Sanders said in an interview last week. The party has “to do what has to be done in this country, to bring new energy, new blood.”

The party will choose its new chairman on Saturday at a meeting in Atlanta. Some in the Democratic old guard harbor concerns that a sharp turn to the left could alienate centrist voters, jeopardize the party’s position in the next presidential election and, before then, lead to primary challenges to incumbent Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Brevard County, Fla., Democratic Party’s executive committee meeting in Rockledge drew a full house last week.

The Brevard County, Fla., Democratic Party’s executive committee meeting in Rockledge drew a full house last week. Photo: Jacob Langston for The Wall Street Journal

“Is the Bernie Sanders-Elizabeth Warren wing of the party going to push us too far to the left?” asked former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who also served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Only if they start going after incumbent moderate Democrats in primaries like the tea party did.”

Last week, a group of former Sanders campaign aides launched a super PAC with the explicit goal of mounting primary challenges to Democratic incumbents. Party leaders are urging Democrats to focus on fighting Mr. Trump and his GOP allies instead of turning their fire inward.

For now, the strategy of Mr. Sanders’s followers is to infiltrate and transform the Democratic Party’s power structure, starting with the lowest-level state and county committee posts that typically draw scant attention.

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee chair Stacey Patel, standing, spoke at the meeting last week in Rockledge.

Brevard County Democratic Executive Committee chair Stacey Patel, standing, spoke at the meeting last week in Rockledge. Photo: Jacob Langston for The Wall Street Journal

“From where I come from in the Bernie movement, people believe that there are permanent obstacles to change,” said Larry Cohen, the board chairman of Our Revolution, the political organization that grew from the 2016 Sanders presidential campaign.

Continue reading “Bernie Sanders Loyalists Are Taking Over the Democratic Party One County Office at a Time”

DSA Erupts in the Media Nationwide

Compiled by Bob Roman

New Ground / Chicao DSA

DSA’s Taylor Jones was among the scheduled speakers at an anti-inaugural Human Rights rally, according to Sloane Smith at The Austin Chronicle. Nancy Benac at the Associated Press included DSA in a pre-inaugural report, as carried by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, for example. A pre-inaugural political report by David Weigel at The Washington Post included DSA. Kristin Toussaint at Metro – Boston also mentioned DSA in coverage of upcoming Boston anti-Trump demonstrations.

DSA made Rachel Miller’s list of anti-inaugural to-do’s at Brooklyn Magazine, as we did in Madina Toure’s list at New York Observer, as we did in Eddie Pamintuan’s list at Sactown Magazine, as we did in Brenden Gallagher’s list at Merryjane, as we did in the editors’ list at Blunderbuss Magazine. Since Joseph Schwartz was included among Philadelphia’s 19 face of resistance at BillyPenn, so was DSA. DSA also made Talia Ergas’ list at Us Weekly. Now, will DSA become a fashion statement? Commodify your dissent with this decorative DSA membership! But Sarah Slamen at Texas Observer urged people to get active, and mentioned DSA, oh yes, as one of the possible alternatives.

Danielle DeCourcey included advice from DSA (among others) for first time protesters at attn:.

University of Oklahoma YDS staged an anti-inaugural demonstration, according to Hannah Pike at OUDaily. Adam Troxtell covered the same demonstration at The Norman Transcript. DSA was mentioned in Cynthia Moreno’s coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration at the California State Capitol at Vida en el Valle. John Ferrannini covered the same Sacramento demonstration and included DSA, at The State Hornet. DSA was part of the coalition of groups organizing 144 hours of protests in Sacramento, according to Dan Bacher at San Diego Free Press. Frank Torres’ coverage of an anti-Trump demonstration in Orlando, Florida, included DSA at The Orlando Political Observer. Alex Eng and Ryan Grewal included a quote from DSA’s Spencer Brown in their coverage of Boston anti-Trump protests at The Huntington News. Mass Live’s Gintautas Dumcius’ coverage of the Boston Commons protest also included DSA. The anti-Trump demonstration in New York was covered by Jake Offehartz for Gothamist, and mentioned DSA, as did Zach Williams at Chelsea Now. Sputnik News gave DSA full credit for organizing the anti-Trump demonstration in New York City, as did Jake Sigal at Pacific Press Agency. Is this the foundation for a conspiracy narrative? Well, funny you should mention it! None of this (including DSA) would be happening without George Soros, according to William Jasper at the John Birch Society’s The New American. A large contingent from DSA participated in the anti-Trump demonstrations in Philadelphia, according to Martha Woodall at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Layla A. Jones also included DSA in coverage of the Philadelphia anti-Trump demonstration at The Philadelphia Tribune. DSA was included Paul Schwartzman’s and David Weigel’s coverage of anti-Trump demonstrations in DC at The Washington Post. In India, Ruchir Ferroro Sharma mentioned DSA in connection with anti-Trump demonstrations at Swarajya magazine. The Young Democratic Socialists were involved in inaugural anti-Trump activities in Eugene, Oregon, according to Eric Howanietz at The Torch, likewise in downtown Kansas City, according to Emily Park at University News.

Gabby Bess’ interview with Winnie Wong about the Women’s March on Washington mentioned DSA, at Broadly. DSA made the photo gallery (#125 of 139) covering the Women’s March on Montana at Great Falls Tribune. Roqayah Chamseddine discussed some of the feminist politics surrounding the Women’s March on Washington at Shadow Proof, wherein DSA was mentioned. Art Forum provided several accounts of Women’s Marchs around the country, including an account from the DSA delegation in DC by Ed Halter. Paul Kengor managed to link Kim Il Sung, the Women’s March on Washington and DSA together at The American Spectator. An editorial at the Houston Chronicle mentioned DSA in connection with the Women’s March and opposition to Trump. At Case Western Reserve University’s The Observer, Eamon Sheehan and Christopher Nguyen mentioned YDS in their account of the Women’s March on Cleveland and on Washington. Nassau Weekly published a series of first person accounts of the Women’s March that mentioned YDS. Medill Reports Chicago posted an article and a photo gallery by Derek Robertson of DSA at the Women’s March on Washington. Robertson includes quotes from Clara Alcott and Peg Strobel.

Continue reading “DSA Erupts in the Media Nationwide”

Sanders Candidacy Has Evolved Into an Inspiring World-Changing Success

2016-05-31-1464662997-1473784-sanders_madison.jpg

By Miles Mogulescu

Huffington Post

May 30, 2016 – Peter Rosenstein has written a much-circulated Huffington Post article entitled “Sanders Candidacy Devolving into an Arrogant Insufferable Self-serving Disaster.”

The article couldn’t be more wrong. This is a rebuttal.

The article is is consistent with a not-so-subtle campaign by Clinton surrogates to discredit Sen. Sanders in order to limit his influence in moving the Democratic Party away from Clintonian corporate-friendly triangulation and back to its FDR-style New Deal roots as a party representing the interests of the working and middle classes; to discourage voters from going to the polls for Bernie in California and the other remaining primaries; and to excuse the manifest weakness of Secretary Clinton as a Presidential candidate by blaming it on Bernie.

Let’s be clear. There’s only the most remote chance of Bernie winning the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination. And when the primaries are over, there will need to be a united front between Bernie and Hillary and their respective supporters to defeat the racist, xenophobic, misogynist Donald Trump.

But by every possible metric other than actually winning the nomination, Sanders’ candidacy has been an astounding success that will change America and the world for the better in ways we can only begin to imagine.

Let us count the ways:

• Hillary will likely eke out a win in the battle for the Democratic nomination, but Bernie has won the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party and the wider progressive movement.

• Bernie (and fellow progressives like Elizabeth Warren) represent the future of the Democratic Party while Hillary and Clintonism represent the past. Bernie has won overwhelming majorities among people under 45-years old (as well as independents). These are the people who will dominate the Democratic Party and the progressive movement in years to come.

• Bernie has raised voters’ enthusiasm level. Despite limited media coverage, he regularly gets tens of thousands of enthusiastic supporters to his rallies, while Hillary struggles to get a few hundred or a few thousand. Democrats will need the enthusiasm of Bernie’s supporters to defeat Trump.

• Bernie’s campaign has become the largest progressive movement in recent history. As I’ve previously written, it will hopefully transform itself into a permanent mass progressive socialist/social democratic/progressive organization that will both run progressive candidates at every level of government from dog-catcher, to City-Councils, the State Legislatures to Congress, and organize popular campaigns, sometimes including large-scale demonstrations and even non-violent civil disobedience, for progressive change.

• Bernie has placed the issue of America’s corrupt campaign finance system front and center on the political agenda. And he’s done it not only with words but with deeds, raising over $200 million from over 8 million individual contributions averaging $27, while Hillary has relied on larger contributions and several Super PACs. Until millionaires, billionaires and corporations are no longer allowed to buy our elections, it’s unlikely that we will solve any of the nation’s serious problems. Bernie is leading the way.

• Bernie has made “democratic socialism” a word that can now be spoken in polite company. 42% of Iowa Democratic caucus-goers identified themselves as socialists. A year ago, I doubt if the number would have been 4%. Increasingly, younger people reject unfettered, unregulated neoliberal forms of capitalism and are looking for an alternative. Bernie has started to provide one.

• Bernie has set the political agenda for the Democratic Party and the progressive movement while Hillary has followed meekly behind. He has made the issue of economic inequality one of the pressing issues of our times. Raising the minimum wage to $15; guaranteeing healthcare to all Americans; making it possible for every student who wants it to get a free college education at a public institution; increasing social security benefits by lifting the cap on social security taxes for wealthy taxpayers; creating well-paying jobs by investing in our crumbling infrastructure; taxing Wall Street transactions; breaking up the biggest banks who tanked the economy and threw millions out of work; opposing corporate-friendly trades deals that send American jobs overseas: These are the winning issues for Democrats. Hillary and the Democratic Party would be wise to appropriate much of Bernie’s programs if they want to defeat Trump and win over voters who’ve been left out of the neoliberal global economy.

• Bernie has emphasized that climate change is the existential issue of our times. He opposes fracking. And he wants to put a tax on carbon. Adequately addressing climate change could literally determine the future of the human race on this planet.

Peter Rosenstein’s Huffington Post article scornfully concludes, “Bernie you LOST…While you have achieved your fifteen minutes of fame and made a real difference in the discussion if you want to actually make a difference on the issues you care about you will gracefully leave the stage [sic].”

If the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign adopt Rosenstein’s arrogant and demeaning attitude towards Bernie and his supporters, they will make it likely that fewer of Bernie’s supporters will turn out to pull the lever for Hillary and defeat Trump.

Continue reading “Sanders Candidacy Has Evolved Into an Inspiring World-Changing Success”