Bernie Sanders may hold the key to the future of the progressive movement in the United States — and it could be through something called the People’s Party.
The Vermont Senator may have lost the Democratic primary last year, but he has emerged as the most vocal member of the progressive movement in the United States — and one of the fiercest critics of Donald Trump. While he still holds an important place as a member of the minority opposition in the GOP-controlled Senate, there are some calling on Bernie Sanders to take a bigger role and even pioneer a new party that could connect with the average American in a way that Republicans and Democrats no longer can.
A group of Sanders supporters — including some former campaign staff — have started a movement to build a so-called People’s Party that would stretch across parties and represent the people left behind in the process. The Draft Bernie for a People’s Party site explains that this new party would be the best representative for the working class.
“Despite monumental efforts to bring people into the Democratic Party, millions are leaving it as we speak,” the group noted.
“Gallup shows that since the election, a remarkable 14 million Democrats have become independents. So many people have left the Democratic Party that Republicans now outnumber Democrats in a progressive country. It’s time to reunite the voting groups that Sen. Bernie Sanders brought together during the presidential primary, groups that are practically begging to be assembled into a permanent working class party. Sanders’ campaign already built the coalition, all we have to do is give it a name.”
This strikes to the ethos of Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, representing the working-class Americans who have been left behind by both Republicans and Democrats and their big-money interests.
There could still be big hurdles for the People’s Party campaign. The group is calling on progressive candidates to change their affiliation, joining Bernie Sanders who is already an independent. But doing so would likely alienate them from the corporate support and deep-pocketed funders of the Democratic Party, a risky proposition with key 2018 midterm races ahead.
There may be a solution, however, and it again comes from Bernie Sanders. During the 2016 campaign, Sanders perfected a fundraising technique first introduced by Howard Dean in 2004, and honed by Barack Obama in 2008, using the internet to connect with a huge base of average voters. For Sanders, this allowed him to amass a formidable fundraising machine without turning to Super PACs — the key to his famous $27 average donations.
The Sanders campaign compiled an email list of millions of donors, one that is now highly coveted by the Democratic Party as they look to expand fundraising efforts, The Huffington Post noted. If Sanders could instead use this list in helping to create the People’s Party, it could be a major boost and give wary lawmakers the courage they need to jump over to the new party.
The ultimate goal of the People’s Party campaign is to culminate with a founding convention that would introduce it as the leading force in the progressive movement.
“Imagine a founding convention and massive rally, broadcast to the country, where members could construct and sign the new platform. Next we place the platform online and open it to public signatures, as a huge national referendum for change,” the site noted.
And the People’s Party could have one more big event ahead — if it can build the proper momentum, the party could be the vehicle allowing Bernie Sanders to make another presidential run in 2020. With Sanders emerging as the leader of the progressive movement and a highly unpopular incumbent in Donald Trump, that could give progressives a realistic chance to take over the White House in just four years.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]