'This Is Not a Game': Sanders-Inspired Movement Mobilizes Against Trump
Galvanized by Donald Trump, progressives inspired by Bernie Sanders' presidential run are organizing on all levels to take on the looming right-wing administration
The progressive supporters who fueled Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign are mounting a resistance on all levels to President-elect Donald Trump's impending right-wing administration, bringing Sanders and his progressive colleagues, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.), into the spotlight.
"I think what they have to understand is that more than ever it is imperative for the American people to be involved in the political process. Many of the positions that Trump advocated during the campaign are positions not shared by the majority of American people," Sanders said at a book signing for the release of his book Our Revolution in New York on Tuesday, according to the Guardian.
The book is currently a best-seller on Amazon.
"Our job is to mobilize our people and make sure that Trump listens on issue after issue to what the American people want," Sanders continued.
The Guardian spoke to a passionate Sanders supporter who was inspired to get involved in politics by the senator's presidential run, and plans to join the movement against the looming Republican-dominated federal government:
Gregory Fritz Jr, 39, had been waiting outside Barnes & Noble, in Midtown Manhattan, since 6.30pm on Sunday night. He had driven from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and slept under "a couple of blankets" in order to be the first in line to meet Sanders.
"He changed my life," Fritz said. "He made me a better person. He opened my eyes."
Fritz said he had not been politically engaged before Sanders’ bid for the Democratic nomination, but he said he would now continue to campaign for ideas raised by the Vermont senator, like universal healthcare and a national minimum wage.
"We got to keep active. Keep protesting, keep involved in our local communities," Fritz said.
"We got to build from the bottom up so we have local candidates, state candidates."
Those comments have been echoed by members of other groups inspired by Sanders, such as the People for Bernie and Millennials for Revolution, who are joining forces with more established organizations as well as single-issue groups to oppose Trump's right-wing policies.
"It's really like [...] the moment where the Tea Party mobilized," Moumita Ahmed, an organizer with Millennials for the Revolution, told the Guardian. "How we're feeling right now that's how they felt when Obama won. So that's what we think will happen here as well. You're probably going to see some sort of actual Tea Party of the left."
"Our big goal is to support primary challenges against those Democrats who negotiate with Donald Trump," Waleed Shahid, an organizer who worked on Bernie Sanders’ campaign, told Politico. Shahid is now working for the progressive group AllofUs.
Shahid went on to echo Ahmed's statements: "The approach mimics that of the Tea Party," the organizer explained, "which has used insurgent primary bids to unsettle establishment Republicans and drive the Republican Party rightward. It gave people in the Republican Party who are upset with the establishment an identity. You could be a Tea Party Republican. We think there’s a lot of power in that."
Within the Democratic Party, Sanders and Warren are pushing for the progressive Rep. Keith Ellison (D.-Minn.) to be the next chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). Ellison formally announced his intention to run for the position on Monday.
Sanders and Warren were also given top positions within the Democratic leadership, the Huffington Post reported Wednesday, which will see them playing larger roles within the party.
Sanders is the new Chair of Outreach, writes the Hill. "In the role, Sanders will be in charge of reaching out to blue-collar voters who flocked to President-elect this year," the outlet reports.
"Sanders will also serve as the top Democrat on the Budget Committee," notes the Huffington Post. Warren will serve as vice chair of the conference.
"We need a sharper, bolder economic message about returning the economic system, which so many feel is rigged against them, to one that works for the people," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters Wednesday.
Long a fierce critic of Trump, Sanders is giving a speech at 7pm EST Wednesday in which he will discuss the path forward for progressives.