Bernie Sanders Has A Bold Plan To Harness The Grassroots EnergyĀ Behind His Campaign

The first openly socialist presidential candidate in generationsĀ is working to transformĀ the Democratic Party, and America itself, whether heā€™s president or not.

Speaking with reporters fromĀ USA Today, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders swatted away personal questions with the bluntness of a nativeĀ Brooklynite.Ā ā€œStay on the issue, letā€™s go,ā€ he said. ā€œLetā€™s start with the real stuff.ā€ Sanders wasted no time in announcing the formation ofĀ three new organizationsĀ that will carry his political revolution forward.

The Sanders InstituteĀ will raise awareness aboutĀ income inequality, inauspiciousĀ trade polices, and campaign finance reform.Ā TheĀ Our RevolutionĀ organization will recruit and fund populist progressive candidates, flooding the electoral landscape with reformers committed to Sandersā€™ Social Democratic ideals. A third organization, heretofore unknown, will play a role in campaign advertisingā€”though it is unclear how Berniecrats plan to differentiate it from the much-maligned SuperPACs theyā€™ve railed against sinceĀ Citizens United.

ā€œIf we are successful,ā€ Sanders said, ā€œthe progressive message and the issues that I campaigned on will be increasingly spread throughout this country.ā€

He continued:

ā€œThe goal here is to do what I think the Democratic establishment has not been very effective in doing. And that is at the grass-roots level, encourage people to get involved, give them the tools they need to win, help them financially.ā€

Sanders plans to support at leastĀ 100 candidates running Ā for various public officesā€”everything from local school board and city council elections to open seats in Congress and the Senate. In addition, twenty-four thousand people have signed up to learn more about running for office. Sanders himself has met privately with some of these individuals, coaching them on running strong, issue-oriented campaigns.

Our RevolutionĀ director Shannon Jackson recalls one such meeting, in which a Syracuse, New York woman said she wanted to run for office and another woman wanted to volunteer:

ā€œ[Bernie said] ā€˜Well, you can be her campaign manager.ā€™ And he married them up in the room. I think thereā€™s going to be a lot more opportunities to show people that itā€™s not hard to run for office, you can do this, you can start at the bottom and go up. Thatā€™s what the senator did.ā€

True to form, Sandersā€™Ā eclectic voters are headed in several distinct directions after his soft endorsement of Hillary Clinton: some of them are going Green with Jill Stein, others are supporting the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson, and others still are planning to vote for Clintonā€”hoping sheā€™ll recognize the political value of progressive populism during her likely and unfortunate tenure as Commander In Chief.

 

Americans are shifting from identity to policy-based discourse, and that means radical ideas are once again a valuable currency in the political marketplace.

Everybody in the Sanders camp is planning for the future, arguing overĀ that most persistent question: ā€œWhere do we go from here?ā€

But what no doubt began as an interview about Bernieā€™s ownĀ plans (heā€™s writing a book, which should surprise no one), became yet another pulpit from which heĀ could spread his gospel. The principle lesson of the SandersĀ campaign is this: Americans are shifting from identity to policy-based discourse, andĀ that meansĀ radical ideas are once again aĀ valuable currency in the political marketplace.

Put succinctly: Berniecrats will work tirelessly to push America left, whether Bernie Sanders is president or not. That thisĀ is a far more pragmatic pursuit than any third-party run may earn Sanders the ire of his moreĀ cultish followers, but Bernieā€™sĀ tunnel vision allows him to see but one thing: millions of people getting involved in the Democratic process, standing up together and demanding the higher standard of living enjoyed by our fellow Western nations.

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