Sunday, July 31, 2016

A list of Berniecrats provide real hope for change

There is good news for progressives. I happened upon a really cool list of Sanders supporters that are running for office at the state and federal level, and I see even one running for city council in Los Angeles. This is a comprehensive list of what are now known as Berniecrats. There are at least 280 of them and they represent a good start for our revolution. I mean, Our Revolution, an organization built by Bernie Sanders to recruit Berniecrats to run for office across the land.

Another arm of this revolution is the Sanders Institute. So far, it's an informal association of organizations dedicated to educating and electing people based on the issues rather than the personalities and big money. Here is an interesting summary of the organizing efforts in the aftermath of the coronation of Hillary Clinton:
The Sanders Institute will be an educational organization to raise awareness of the real problems Sanders thinks America faces. Another organization, Our Revolution, will, according to USA Today, recruit progressive candidates who want to run for office and help to fund their campaigns. (As of this writing, the organization's website is sparse, and the only option offered on the site is to donate.) Sanders told USA Today that he might also get involved with a third organization responsible for campaign advertising.
Now let's get back to that list. Here is a screenshot so you can get an idea of what it looks like:


It's very detailed and current. We see the state, the candidate name, the level of office sought or held, and the primary date. Candidates endorsed by Bernie are noted. Upcoming primaries are in yellow. We can even see that those in green have won their primaries already. We're already winning primaries for Berniecrats! We already have people in office who support the revolution!

When establishment Democrats see Berniecrats winning, they know that a change is a comin'. These people will be able to uphold progressive and populist ideals and work to implement progressive policies where they serve. This is how it gets started.

That there are already so many Berniecrats in office or winning primaries looks somewhat similar to another part of our history. I refer to the story of what happened in North Dakota, where the Non Partisan League openly infiltrated the Republican Party early in the last century. In that story, they took over the party and implemented populist and progressive policies that benefited most people rather than a select few.

That Berniecrat list is evidence that we can do the same thing, too. I like the Green Party, I really do. But as one comment in my social media circles pointed out, to paraphrase, "I'd have more respect for them if they didn't just pop up every four years to tell us that both major parties are bad." While I share that concern, I also see a lot of good that the Green Party can do.

According to their Wikipedia page, as of July, 2016, there are over 100 elected Green Party candidates scattered across 23 states, mostly at the local level. They seem to do well in non partisan elections, too.

The point here is that we cannot depend on just one party to make America progressive again. I like the idea of getting Berniecrats into office as Democrats for one really good reason: it can push out the money grubbers and forces them to acknowledge that there is more to life than collecting money for re-election. More to the point, if the Democratic Party can be overwhelmed by Berniecrats, and I think by 2018, we can do that, then the media is going to have a tougher time ignoring issues that progressives feel are the most important.

The low hanging fruit of change is at the state and local levels. I note with interest that most of the claims concerning election rigging were pointed at state and local officials. If Berniecrats and Green Party members were manning those same posts, election rigging would be much, much harder to pull off. There would actually be adult supervision in and around the polling places, with the ballots and with the machines. This is why real change starts from the bottom. That's where the votes are collected.

Bernie was right. Change never comes from the top. It always comes from the bottom up. Now we are in a position to cultivate it and watch it grow.
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