A Monday night conference call between DNC officials and the man who led Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has some Berniecrats worried that a donation to Sanders new 501(c)(4) organization known as “Our Revolution” would end up in the bank accounts of the Democratic National Committee or even in Hillary Clinton’s campaign fund.
The private conference call included DNC chief of staff Brandon Davis and other top Democratic leaders. The call was led by DNC interim Chairwoman Donna Brazile. Ms. Brazille reportedly told those who attended the conference call that Bernie Sanders’ previous campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, and Sanders’ top campaign adviser Mark Longabaugh, had met earlier in the day and discussed Sanders’ schedule and trying to mobilize Sanders’ supporters, according to Politico.
During the conference call, Brazile reportedly told the calls’ participants that Weaver agreed to assist her “through this election process and beyond.”
Weaver told people on the conference call that he hopes to be able to work with all Democrats.
“I know that sometimes in primaries there can be sharp elbows, and I hope I haven’t bumped into too many of you,” Weaver reportedly told them. “But as we go forward into the general election, I’m very happy to be working with members of the Clinton team in trying to get the Secretary elected.”
He also said that Our Revolution had raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic down-ballot and congressional candidates, but the Politico article about the conference call didn’t specify that the candidates were not establishment-Democrats, nor that Our Revolution is actually not even party-specific. Independents who share the progressive views of Berniecrats will also be supported by the organization, according to a separate Politico article.
— Vermont Public Radio (@vprnet) August 12, 2016
While Weavers’ new devotion to the established party was reassuring news for the Democrats who participated in the conference call, Sanders’ supporters, many of whom call themselves “Bernie or Bust” or who have conducted what they call a “Dem Exit” and switched to the Green Party, say on social media that they are now worried that if they donate to the organization led by Bernie Sanders known as “Our Revolution,” their funding will backfire on them. They are concerned their hard-earned money will end up in the hands of the party that, according to WikiLeaks, stole the nominating process from them.
This is not the case, according to Sanders’ current team working on Our Revolution fundraising. Though Sanders has endorsed Clinton, and Weaver has promised to help get Hillary and down-ballot Democrats elected, Our Revolution will be funding only progressive Democrats who support the mission of Our Revolution and Independents who stand for progressive ideals.
“No money will be diverted to the DNC or Secretary Clinton’s campaign,” a representative from Sanders’ team stated about Our Revolution. “It is extremely important that we keep our movement together, that we hold public officials accountable and that we elect progressive candidates to office at the federal, state, and local level who will stand with us.”
Sanders’ team says on a fundraising memo that his own energies will mostly be invested in campaigning for lawmakers who have said that they will fight the current system.
“You should know that Bernie intends to be actively campaigning throughout this election season to elect candidates who will stand by our agenda, and we hope to see many of you at events from coast to coast.”
Our Revolution, according to Politico, will be run by Shannon Jackson. The organization will recruit, train, and support progressive candidates. Sanders says that he would be backing dozens of progressive candidates during this election cycle and beyond, including progressives running for local school board. Politico reported that when Sanders said he would not limit his support to progressive Democrats and that Our Revolution would also support non-Democrats who stood for the same ideals as he had been fighting for for decades, he drew the ire of Democratic leaders.
My take this am– The Sanders movement is only just beginning https://t.co/0xPEchtkKg
— Katrina vandenHeuvel (@KatrinaNation) August 9, 2016
Currently featured Berniecrats who are benefiting from Our Revolution include Zephyr Teachout, U.S. Representative Rick Nolan, Pramila Jayapal, and Prof. Tim Canova, who is going after Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s House seat. Wasserman-Schultz resigned from the highest position in the DNC after leaked emails showed her playing favorites in the presidential nominating election process.
Zephyr Teachout reportedly won her primary, in part, thanks to financial and grassroots support from Our Revolution and Bernie Sanders’ supporters. She now is in general election mode and is already making headlines for calling out the billionaire class with her unorthodox campaigning strategies.
— DemocracyForAmerica (@DFAaction) August 17, 2016
U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan from Minnesota is a superdelegate who backed Bernie at the Convention in July.
I just published “Shining a Light on Congress’s Telemarketing Culture” https://t.co/1vywHWPo79
— US Rep. Rick Nolan (@USRepRickNolan) August 9, 2016
Pramila Jayapal of Washington won her primary by a landslide thanks to Sanders’ endorsement. Before the backing from Sanders, she had been far behind in the race. When Sanders send out an email to his supporters asking to help her win her primary, volunteers made 140,314 phone calls or door knocks and raised $226,000 from 27,692 individual donations.
“When you think of the political revolution, I want you to think about Pramila,” Sanders said at the time.
Our Revolution representatives say that these are the kinds of candidates that will be funded through Our Revolution, and neither Hillary Clinton or the DNC will be seeing a dime from donations made to Our Revolution.
Though Sanders’ team began fundraising for Our Revolution early this month, Sen. Sanders will officially launch Our Revolution on August 24 while speaking to his supporters from Ripley Manor in Washington, D.C.. The launch will be viewed live at more than 2,000 organized meetings across the nation, according to The Hill.
“During our campaign we assembled a movement of millions of people ready to fight for the country we know we can become,” Sanders said in an email about Our Revolution. “At this meeting, I and others will lay out some of the next steps we can take as a movement to empower a wave of progressive candidates this November and win the major upcoming fights for the values we share.”