Looks like the Bernie Bros are putting their votes where their mouths are: The Our Revolution gang has taken over the California Democratic Party and looks to leverage control of the largest state party in the country to affect national Democratic priorities.
Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turned out en masse at ordinarily sleepy party caucuses earlier this month, electing a slate of delegates who could be poised to take over the largest Democratic Party organization outside of Washington, D.C.
As final vote totals trickled in, Sanders backers claimed to have elected more than 650 delegates out of 1,120 available seats chosen at this month’s caucuses. Those delegates will choose the next state Democratic Party chairman, along with other party officials.
Sanders supporters say they hope to change the very nature of the Democratic Party.
“One of the issues we’re looking to do is transform the party,” said Shannon Jackson, executive director of Our Revolution, the organization that grew out of the Sanders’s presidential campaign. “This is the first step in that process.”
Our Revolution ran an on-the-ground get-out-the-vote effort, to make sure supporters attended caucuses in each of the state’s 80 assembly districts. The group sent out more than 100,000 emails and delivered 40,000 text messages, Jackson told The Hill. More than 800 Sanders supporters signed up to run for delegate seats.
Longtime Democratic activists, used to low-turnout caucuses in which only party regulars show up, were stunned by the long lines they faced this year. One party strategist in Sacramento said he waited 45 minutes in line before being able to vote, when he was used to walking in and out in the space of five minutes.
The surge in turnout, and Sanders backers’ success, caught the attention of elected leaders in Sacramento.
“There’s a lot of energy in the party right now. We need to move really quickly to harness this energy,” state Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D) said in an interview, marveling at the turnout in his Los Angeles-area district.
I don't always agree with Sanders guys (to put it mildly) but credit is given where credit is due, all the times I've said "Well then get off your asses and do something to change things if you don't like the party rules" to these guys, well they did exactly that in California.
Getting involved in the local and state party level? That's precisely what we need a hell of a lot more of and in all 50 states too. Maybe this is the start of getting the Democratic party turned around.
I'm also very glad to see the Sanders folks finally realize that working from within the Democratic party rather than against it is the far more effective path to long-term victory. If these are the activists ready to get involved and start filling local and state candidate slates rather than abandoning them to the GOP, then you know what? That's how representative democracy works, guys.
More power to 'em. They were told put up or shut up, and they put in the work and got involved. We need more of that. A lot more.
And not just in California. This is a good place to start, however.