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Home Main Forums All Things Bernie/Our Revolution As Sanders focuses on single-payer, some activists want him to start a new party

  • Flying Squirrel (1106 posts)
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    As Sanders focuses on single-payer, some activists want him to start a new party

    By David Weigel September 11 at 3:18 PM

    On Friday, as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) celebrated his 76th birthday, a crowd of about 60 people gathered on the Mall. They were part of the People’s Convergence Conference, which centered on the specific political goal of drafting Sanders to lead a “People’s Party” — a new, independent force — into the 2018 and 2020 elections. Nick Brana, the former Sanders political aide who had given up on Democrats after trying to wrangle superdelegates in the 2016 primary, smiled and thanked supporters who were about to help him deliver “50,000 plus” signatures to Sanders’s Senate office.

    Very few members of the media were on hand as the Convergence kicked off. Brana’s campaign, which Sanders has repeatedly (albeit politely) rebuffed, is the best-organized of several efforts to turn progressives away from the Democratic Party. It has the endorsement of Cornel West, perhaps the 2016 Sanders surrogate most adamant about leaving the party; and it has two clear narratives, which suggest that to stay inside the nation’s major liberal party is to accept permanent decline.

    One narrative, backed up by polling, is that voters feel no particular allegiance to the Democrats. “You’ve got the most popular politician in America, Bernie Sanders, encouraging people to join the Democratic Party; you’ve got Donald Trump, the most offensive politician in the country, also encouraging people to join the Democratic Party,” Brana said Saturday, at the Convergence’s main meeting on the American University campus. “And yet, the Democratic Party is declining; it’s declined in party affiliation since November.”

    According to Gallup, which tracks party identification, this is true. The week of the 2016 election, 31 percent of voters identified as Democrats; as of last month, the number was down to 28 percent. Democrats, while improving their vote share in special elections all year, have continued to struggle with swing voters who consider elements of the party to be toxic.



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