There are currently 7,383 state legislators in the United States. Nine of them are affiliated with the Vermont Progressive Party. One of them is an independent from Alaska who caucuses with the Democrats.
This is the grand sum of the left presence in American state legislatures outside the Democratic Party. There has been a single instance of federal-level victory in my lifetime—Bernie Sanders’s election as an independent to the U.S. House, then Senate, in Vermont. No one else has even come close. And Sanders, after 30 years as an Independent, elected to seek the presidency through the Democratic primary. Continue reading →
Bernie Sanders’ vision of a political revolution in which millions of people stand up and fight back against the establishment by getting involved in the political process is no longer an inspiring vision but a fact of life and a force to be reckoned with.
First there was the ‘yooj,’ historic Women’s March the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as president of the United States organized by Planned Parenthood and other establishment liberal groups.
Just kidding. Here’s the short version of how the DNC delegates are elected:
The State Executive Committee (SEC) drafts a Delegate Selection Plan that is used to pick delegates to the DNC. The only stipulation for this in the state party’s Plan Of Organization is that an even number of men and women are elected as Delegates (section 7.02).
SEC members are elected by the Executive Committees from each county.
The County Executive Committees are made up of a few elected officers and the elected precinct Chairs.
This means the more precincts that are chaired by progressives, the more voting power progressives have to change the party platform, put more progressives in leadership positions at the DNC and state level, and get corporate money out of the DNC.
TL;DR: Changing the Democratic Party starts at the precinct level!
This thesis is the story of Bernie Sanders, the socialist mayor of Burlington and his campaign for governor of Vermont in 1986. The campaign is used as a prism to explore his version of socialist politics and policies within a capitalist state. The policies which Sanders developed in this campaign for lowering property taxes for middle and lower income people, increasing social spending, increasing citizen participation, and raising the taxes for wealthy people and corporations are examined in detail. Sanders claims that city governments can work for poor and working class people; however, this thesis demonstrates the difficulties leftists have in getting elected and in implementing policies whenever they do win. In conclusion, I examine the questions about left participation in the electoral process, the autonomy of the state, and what socialist municipal and state policies should be.
Our Revolution (OR) bounced back from a rocky start and survived the Trump wave on November 8 to help elect 57 down-ballot progressives and rack up 23 progressive victories in ballot initiatives all over the country. OR endorsed a total of 106 general election candidates and worked for/against 31 ballot initiatives, achieving a success rate of 53% and 74%, respectively, in OR’s first general election. Additionally, OR backed 9 candidates in primaries and 7 of them won. (The full list of OR’s 2016 wins and losses can be found at the bottom of this post.) Continue reading →
The following is a December 1, 1987 interview with then-mayor Bernie Sanders by the Gadfly, a University of Vermont (UVM) student newspaper. It is reproduced for the first time here in full with addition of relevant hyperlinks, images, and video.
Gadfly: How did you in your youth view electoral politics, both on a national and on a local level?
Sanders: I don’t think any differently than anybody else in my family, my family was a reasonably non-political family. So the issue: electoral/non-electoral was not relevant. When I was a kid, I think I was reasonably sensitive to the plight of the underdog. Both within the context of classrooms as well as nationally: Black people, Native Americans, these sorts of issues.