At the People’s Summit in Chicago this past weekend, after Bernie Sanders addressed over 4000 activists and supporters from across the country, National Nurses United Director Roseann Demoro told the dozens of Draft Bernie members, “I want to thank all the Draft Bernie people, ‘I’m with you.’ Nurses are we with them? Are you all with us? As I say heroes aren’t made, they’re cornered.” The endorsement from one of the most prominent Sanders supporters provides another boost to a movement started in February 2017 by former Outreach Coordinator for the Bernie Sanders Campaign Nick Brana.
The Draft Bernie organization sent a 15-page briefing directly to Sanders making the case for a new progressive party. “Despite Bernie Sanders’ monumental efforts to reform the Democratic Party, it remains firmly in Neoliberal control. The Democratic Party has made it clear that it will not be the vehicle for the political revolution,” states the briefing, affirming that most Americans identify as independents and progressive policies have a majority of support from voters, yet this is not being represented by either political party. “Only a new party built on the progressive views of the majority can inspire the turnout necessary to defeat Trump and his agenda,” adding “corporate money is not a distinct, corrupted organ of the (Democratic) party that can be surgically removed from an otherwise health body. Corporate money is the party.”
Among the several complaints outlined throughout the briefing includes DNC Chair Tom Perez’s abrasiveness toward reform, the Democratic Party ignoring it rigged the 2016 primary while asserting
its right to do so in court, and the Democratic Party leadership responding to Trump’s election win by elevating billionaires even higher within party ranks.
“I feel like people were actually very refreshed and happy to see a representation of an independent perspective here at the conference,” said Nick Brana, Founder and Director of Draft Bernie, in an interview with me. “We are putting together a group of as many progressive organizations that support the idea of Bernie coming to the town hall and coming to have this discussion with us, the first step to getting him to join a new party, and he is thankfully becoming more open minded to. You’ll notice in his speech he dropped the lines about reforming the Democratic Party, he dropped the lines about bringing millions of people into the Democratic Party, he didn’t say that last night, so that was significant, its usually a staple of his speech.” With the support of Dr. Cornel West, who has also formally endorsed the movement, Draft Bernie is working toward organizing a Town Hall for Bernie Sanders to address and discuss with as many progressive organizations and prominent activists the idea of creating a new progressive party as an alternative to the oligarchic failure the Democratic Party has become.
In just a few months since its founding, the organization has already built a significant grassroots foundation stemming from Brana’s connections and experience working with the Bernie Sanders campaign. Jane Sanders, Nina Turner, Danny Devito, and other notable figures have tweeted in support of the Draft Bernie movement that currently has nearly 100 state regional leads in 37 stands and a volunteer base in the thousands.
Strategies for Sanders progressives to move forward were cited in the Draft Bernie briefing provided to Bernie Sanders. In 2018 midterm elections, the organization is pushing for progressives to focus on conservative districts the Democratic Party establishment ignores, and challenging establishment corporate Democrats in districts where Bernie Sanders won in the Democratic Primaries, catalyzing a full replacement of the Democratic Party with a new progressive party led by Bernie Sanders and the grassroots infrastructure being built through his movement.