The Democratic Socialists of America have officially endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders for president saying the self-described socialist running for the Democratic nomination is the best candidate to put forth a "class-struggle agenda" heading into the 2020 elections and the first candidate of his kind in the nation's history with a legitimate chance of winning.
The endorsement came in a vote by the group's National Political Committee on Thursday night after surveys of chapters and members nationwide showed 75 percent approval for the decision.
"Bernie Sanders is part of an incredible revival of resistance to billionaires and their corporations," said DSA national director Maria Svart. "Democratic socialists are proud to join with Sanders, his millions of supporters, teachers and other workers on strike across the U.S., and students protesting climate change across the world in fighting for a society that puts people over profit."
Democratic Socialists of America is proud to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders for president! We’re building a mass movement to take on the billionaires and win a society that puts people over profit. Join us https://t.co/Gsy5Ij2G2K pic.twitter.com/66DHY9hqyk
— DSA (@DemSocialists) March 22, 2019
Citing key issues on his platform—including support for the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, free higher-education for all, ending the nation's cash bail system, defending and strengthening unions, and fighting for a living wage for all workers—DSA said in a statement that Sanders was the only candidate in the race able to "transform American society by ending the worst forms of poverty and inequality while empowering workers to fight for even more."
In addition to being the only socialist democrat in the running, the group added, Sanders is also the "only socialist in American history with a serious chance of winning" the presidency. Numerous polls show Sanders leading among all the declared Democratic candidates, both nationally and in key states.
Reporting for In These Times on Friday, Emma Whitford offered a detailed view of how the group—which has grown rapidly in recent years—arrived at their decision:
The vote also came after a one-week advisory poll open to all dues-paying members that endorsed Sanders 3 to 1 (13,324 people, roughly a quarter of DSA’s membership, weighed in.) But it's just one event in an ongoing internal debate about how DSA, which saw an explosion in membership after Sanders's primary run in 2016—from 6,100 members to 56,000 today—should approach this second go-around. It is also, importantly, not binding for individual chapters.
Many DSA members agree that Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist who has popularized policies like free college and Medicare for All, is the only presidential endorsement worth considering. Some large chapters, including Philadelphia DSA, Detroit and Chicago, doubled down with their own local endorsements. Members argue that entering the race early will ensure an organized and effective field strategy.
As part of the endorsement, DSA also launched a nationwide organizing effort to back the senator's campaign and urged people to sign up:
DSA’s endorsement launches our campaign for Bernie and the democratic socialist movement behind him. Be a part of the movement to put people over profit and elect the first socialist president in American history, sign up today! https://t.co/Mnge5npqAX
— DSA (@DemSocialists) March 22, 2019
Svart said the group and its membership nationwide "know that no single president can do this alone: only by building a massive, multi-racial working-class movement for the long term can we fight back against the capitalist class. We just have to remember: we have the power if we stand together."