How Bernie can access the youth vote – and win

Bernie Sanders can ignite the liberal base by fighting for the youth vote, writes Tanzil Chowdhury.

We often hear that the Independent vote is the most decisive voting population in an election, and the logic, at first glance, seems to check out. People who are Democratic and Left-leaning will always vote for the Democratic candidate, while people who are Republican and Right-leaning will always vote for the Republican candidate, meaning that the undecided Independent voters will make the difference. However, this reasoning has one major flaw. What if the base doesn’t vote?

Turns out, we already know the answer. As Sanders pointed out in his speech to the DNC Summer Meeting, the Democrats lost control of the Senate in 2014 because of the abysmal voter turnout. The unprecedented liberal fervor from President Obama’s groundbreaking 2008 campaign has all but vanished, leaving the energized Left-leaning base a mere shell of its former self. In fact, the voter turnout in 2014 was the lowest for a national election in the United States since World War II, clocking in at 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population. What happened?

There’s one key demographic to look at that explains how and why the Democratic base is losing its strength, the youth vote. The amount of people between the ages of 18 and 29 voting in 2008 skyrocketed, leaving Obama with youth vote differentials upwards of +20 percent in many primary states and overwhelming youth support in the general, according to the Pew Research Center. However, these historic youth numbers dipped in 2012. The youth turnout dropped significantly, about 7 percent. Now why’s that important?

Well, according to the New York Times, no group voted more favorably for Obama in the 2008 democratic primary than the Under 30 age group, with the exception of the Hispanic and African-American vote. As shown above, the youth came out in unprecedented fashion for Obama, and this group has the potential to be decisive if Sanders is to capture the democratic nomination.

Many key demographics have fallen securely into the Democratic base, including women, African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people, all of which are favoring Hillary nationally at the moment. With the combination of low turnout and the youth’s secure standing as part of the Democratic base, Sanders has a unique quality that can swing the contest in his favor, his ability to re-ignite the 2008 passion amongst youth voters.

Three major factors seem to have caused the recent drop in turnout: increasing political barriers in registration, the perceived lack of sincerity among politicians, and the feeling that their vote is unimportant. However, the Sanders campaign, due to its distinctive structure has the unique ability overcome these hurdles more efficiently than any other campaign in the race.

Following in the footsteps of Howard Dean in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008, the Sanders camp has organized a 50-state, grassroots campaign focused on directly reaching voters. Through groups such as Students for Bernie Sanders, the Sanders campaign has a great opportunity in reaching a large portion of the youth vote. Not only do these groups present Bernie’s message, but they can break down the confusing nature of voting. Bernie’s grassroots groups can provide registration training and host registration events that will draw in youth at hotspots such as Universities, which tend to be especially left-leaning. With these measures, the first factor can be mitigated.

Next, the ideological roots of the Sanders campaign and Bernie Sanders’s political history can resolve the other two factors limiting the youth vote. It’s no secret that Bernie’s message, including speaking out against high tuition rates, large corporations, and increasing the minimum wage, connects well with the typical liberal young person. If Bernie’s campaign can present a topical narrative while refusing to play the political and media game, Sanders can bring many youth voters back into politics. This can even feed back and access other parts of the Democratic base.

Last night, during his DNC speech, Sanders remarked, “Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate, will not gain the House and will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races unless we run a campaign which generates excitement and momentum”. The Sanders campaign has all the distinctive features needed to access this group and continue its wave of momentum. Now, it all comes down to execution.

Sanders makes impressive gains in Iowa

A poll released today by Bloomberg Politics in conjunction with the Des Moines Register shows that the Sanders surge is far from over.

Bernie Sanders now only trails Hillary Clinton by 7 points in Iowa.

According to responses from 404 likely Democratic caucus-goers, 37% would support Clinton, while 30% would support Sanders.

As recently as May, Clinton was polling at 57% in Iowa, a 20 point drop, while Sanders went from 16% to 30%, nearly doubling his support.

The Iowa Caucus, which once looked to be safely Clinton’s is now anyone’s game.

As J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co. said regarding the shocking poll results, “the era of inevitability is over.”

You can view the results of the poll here.

Sanders delivers strong address to DNC summer meeting

Democratic presidential candidates were at the Democratic National Committee’s Summer Meeting on Friday, and Senator Sanders did not shy away from his beliefs in front of the Democratic Party’s most powerful players.

After a brief introduction by the Democratic National Committee’s Vice Chairman and President of the Association of State Democratic Chairs Ray Buckley that highlighted Senator Sanders’ long career in activism and politics, Sanders addressed the crowd of mostly Democrat elites with a strong message: end establishment politics or lose the election.

“Republicans did not win the mid-term election in November. We lost that election. They didn’t win, we lost because voter turnout was abysmally and embarrassingly low, and millions of working people, young people, and people of color gave up on politics as usual and they stayed home,” the fiery Sanders told the crowd.

“Let me be as clear as I can be, in my view, Democrats will not retain the White House, will not regain the Senate or the U.S. House, will not be successful in dozens of governor’s races all across this country unless we generate excitement and momentum and produce a huge voter turnout.”

Sanders went on to say that the needed enthusiasm and turnout would not happen with establishment politics, and stated that the country needs to turn away from establishment economics to solve the issue of income inequality.

Senator Sanders stated that a political movement was necessary to “tell corporate America, and the wealthiest people in this country that they will start to pay their fair share of taxes.”  He then addressed the need to end trade policies such as the Transpacific Partnership, and a financial system that is held accountable and that invests in America.

Touching on jobs and wages, he called once again for a raise of minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, calling the current federal minimum wage a “starvation wage”, before addressing the need to provide twelve weeks of paid medical and family leave.

Sanders called for a jobs program that would be aimed at rebuilding our “crumbling infrastructure”, and stated that real unemployment, including youth unemployment, is much higher than the official unemployment rate.

The independent Senator from Vermont then turned towards campaign finance reform, and drew cheers and chants as he called for a grassroots movement to “tell the Koch brothers and the billionaire class that they will not continue to buy elections.”

He then repeated that he will not nominate anyone to the Supreme Court unless their first order of business is to overturn Citizens United, and addressed the need for publically funded elections and the end of voter suppression.

Sanders stated firmly that the Keystone XL pipeline must be defeated as part of America’s need to move from fossil fuels to a sustainable future, pointing out that climate change is real and is man-made.

He called for an end to institutional racism and reform for “a very, very broken criminal justice system.”  Sanders said that we must not accept more deaths of unarmed black people by police, and listed the names of many of the victims of such cases over recent years, including Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others.

“We must not continue being the country with more people in jail than any other!  And, the people in jail are disproportionally people of color.”

The Vermont Senator called for comprehensive immigration reform and a “path to citizenship.” Then, perhaps as a shot against his Republican opponents, called the idea of “somehow round[ing] up millions of people in the dead of the night,” racist and un-American.

Sanders was sure to remind the crowd that he was a Senator and former Congressman that voted against the war in Iraq, calling it “one of the worst foreign policy blunders in the history of this country.” 

He reminded the crowd of his backing of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, stating he “will stand with President Obama in preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but will do it in a way that prevents war.”

Sanders concluded his speech by calling for voters to “think big” and not be divided by wedge issues.  He reminded the crowd of his fight to expand Social Security benefits and improve veteran support.

Sanders called for the country to stand together, and stated that by standing together, there is nothing the people of America cannot accomplish.

Senator Sanders did not mention the debate schedule during his speech, although fellow Democratic nominee Michael O’Malley spent a significant portion of his speech highlighting the need for more debates.

Sanders was the last of the presidential candidates to speak Friday, as they were schedule in alphabetical order by last name.

After the presidential candidates had concluded their speeches, a motion was brought forth to increase the number of debates, but DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz stated that there “is no provision available to have the DNC, by motion, increase or decrease or adopt criteria for those debates.”

The motion was dismissed.

Sanders campaign announces experienced Iowa press secretary

Bernie Sanders’ campaign in Iowa has announced that award-winning investigative journalist Lilia Chacon will be its state press secretary.

In a Facebook post made on Friday night, the campaign said that it was proud to announce that Lilia Chacon would be the Iowa press secretary.

Chacon is an award-winning investigative journalist, who has covered some of the most memorable stories of our time, including the Oklahoma City bombing, Hurricane Andrew, the North Ridge CA earthquakes and the death of Pope John Paul II.

Her awards include six Emmys, a Peabody Award and an Edward R. Murrow.

She was most recently working as the spokesperson for the Chicago City Treasurer.

Porque los Neoyorquinos Necesitan Registrarse Cómo Demócratas de Inmediato

Los ciudadanos de Nueva York tienen hasta el 9 de Octubre para registrarse cómo Demócratas para votar por Bernie Sanders en la primera ronda de votos.

Puede que estos votos sean en Abril del próximo año, pero los seguidores de Bernie necesitan empezar registrándose cómo Demócratas para poder votar por él en estas elecciones.

Esto significa que todos los voluntarios necesitan movilizarse rápidamente para atraer más seguidores Nueva York y asegurarse de que se registren antes de la cercana fecha límite de Octubre 9.

Sí, en otras palabras, neoyorquinos no tendrán la oportunidad de ver los debates de los candidatos Demócratas a la presidencia para decidirse por unos de ellos antes de registrarse. Por eso, las campañas de Sanders y O’Malley presionan a la DNC por más debates, antes de la fecha límite.

Neoyorquinos se pueden registrar cómo Demócratas con la Junta Electoral (Board of Directors).

Sanders se confronta a gran competencia en Nueva York, casa de Hilary Clinton. Sanders nació en Brooklyn en 1941, pero ya vivía en Vermont en 1968.

Los primeros votos para definir al candidato Demócrata serán el martes, 19 de Abril del 2016.

This post was originally published as Why New Yorkers need to register as Democrats now and translated into Spanish by Santiago Noriega.

Is Sanders leading the start of a new progressive era?

The surge of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is fueling a movement of progressives across the country, writes Jacob Lind.

In 2013, Kshama Sawant was elected to the Seattle City Council. Ordinarily, such an event would be of little note to the United States at large, however, Sawant is no ordinary politician, at least by today’s standards.  A member of the Socialist Alternative, Sawant became the first socialist party member elected to public office in a major metropolitan area in over 100 years.  She recently dominated in the primary for her first re-election campaign, taking 51.88% of the vote in a 5-way contest.

Her closest competitor barely scraped 15%.  Yet, despite Sawant’s popularity, socialism and progressivism as a whole has been decidedly lacking in the United States for the last century.  Since Warren G. Harding proposed his “Return to Normalcy” following the First World War and progressive presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the U.S. has been in a constant Red Scare.  As a result, words like progressive and socialist have become political poison.  Indeed, aside for Sawant, the only other politician who dares to accept the mantle of socialist is Vermont Senator and current Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

Sanders is the longest serving independent in the history of the United States Congress, and though he caucuses alongside the Democrats, he has remained fiercely independent his entire career.  Even now, as he pursues the Democratic nomination, he refuses corporate donations and is known as a fighter for the average American.  When he launched his campaign in April of 2015, the establishment laughed in his face.  Pundits claimed that he was little more than a protest candidate and snottily declared that his only purpose was to pull Hillary to the left.

One news anchor perhaps best summed up Beltway criticism of Sanders by declaring, “he’s a socialist for God’s sake,” implying that alone barred him from even being seriously considered for the Presidency.  And the polls seemed to agree with this thinking.  After all, Real Clear Politics showed that Sanders, on average, polled at below 5% at the time of his announcement.  Surely, such a radical candidate could never gain any traction with the larger American community, especially with the moniker of socialist?

But then, something remarkable happened.  To his supporters, it seemed to be the natural outgrowth of the merit of Sanders’ ideas and authenticity, but to the rest of the nation, it was a shock.  First his poll numbers tripled, sending him to 15% nationally.  But still, his detractors said it was just the anti-Hillary vote and that he wouldn’t rise beyond that.  But then, he was hot on the rise in New Hampshire, polling at a statistical tie with Clinton.  In the midst of these rising poll numbers, those same average Americans of whom, according to a Gallup poll, only 47% would vote for a socialist, began turning out in the hundreds, and then thousands, and then tens of thousands to support Sanders.

This meteoric rise has yet to level off and he has already more than quintupled his support on the national stage, taken the lead in New Hampshire and is hot on Hillary’s heels in Iowa, West Virginia, and Oregon.  All this, for a socialist.

For the first time in a century, Americans are looking at a socialist and true progressive, not with fear and derision, but with respect and serious consideration.  Though a Sanders presidency is not inevitable, and a loss is possible, Bernie himself has often said that this campaign is not about him.  It’s about a grassroots effort to elect progressives at every level, and not just put one in the White House.  This is big for other Kshama Sawant-esque hopefuls across the country.  Ultimately, even if Sanders fails to secure the Democratic nomination, the grassroots energy and infrastructure that has emerged around him will not simply wither and die.  No, instead that energy can be turned to local elections, for city council, state senate, and school board.

Suddenly, people will consider progressive ideas, rather than throwing them away right from the get go.  Even if he loses, Sanders has already done an enormous amount to restore the place for progressives in the national and local conversation.  He may well be the William Jennings Bryan that ushers in a new wave of Progressive Presidents, movements, and reforms.

That being said, I certainly hope that he wins.

Sanders supporters propose march on Washington

What started as a Facebook event a few weeks ago has turned into a serious event worth considering, with more than 100,000 pledging to attend.

The Facebook event, currently being administered to by four grassroots supporters, has received over 109,000 RSVPs. It proposes to gather 100,000 Sanders supporters for a rally in Washington, DC.

The grassroots organizers of the rally pitched the idea to staff from the Sanders campaign in a conference call on Wednesday. The official campaign has not yet made any commitments to get behind the proposed event.

If this planned event did go ahead, and attracted attendance in the hundreds of thousands, it would be a serious historical milestone in American politics.

Sanders to appear on CNN’s State of the Union

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will appear on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on Sunday.

CNN presenter Jake Tapper will interview Senator Bernie Sanders on State of the Union on Sunday.

The show’s guest was announced in a tweet posted on Thursday night. To catch Senator Sanders, tune in at 9am and 12pm ET.

Sanders close to lead in West Virginia

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders trails Hillary Clinton by just 4 per cent in poll of likely West Virginian voters.

The poll, conducted by Prism Surveys showed that 36 per cent of likely voters supported Clinton, while 32 per cent supported Bernie Sanders. The poll’s margin of error was 3.21 per cent. It was conducted on the 21st of August.

The poll also pointed to some challengers for Sanders. Almost all respondents said they recognized Hillary Clinton, while just a third knew who Bernie Sanders is.

Bernie Sanders returning to Minneapolis

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will be in Minneapolis on Friday to address the Democratic National Committee Summer Meeting.

Sanders will be speaking at the DNC’s Summer Meeting at the Hilton in Minneapolis, Minnesota some time between 1pm and 3pm on Friday.

Supporters are strongly encouraged to attend. Doors open at 9am, and are open to the public. Sanders will be present in the Hospitality Room from between 12pm and 1pm.

Bernie Sanders merchandise and gear will also be available.

Also at the event will be Ben and Jerry, of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. Ice cream will be served from between 12pm and 1pm.

Other presidential candidates will be speaking at the event. C-SPAN will be covering the entire day’s proceedings live. You can find more information on their coverage here.