Results are in on Democracy for America’s national supporter poll to determine if – and for whom – they will endorse for president. Bernie Sanders dominated, with 87.9% of the vote. DFA set what Time Magazine called a high bar for endorsement, requiring a supermajority of 67%, which Sanders cleared by nearly 21%. Sanders’ numbers include 77.8% of voters who were already DFA members prior to this survey; the remainder made up by high-energy organizing among members on Sanders’ behalf to their own contacts. Simple, basic, getting the word out. Grassroots organizing that money can’t buy.
New Jersey is an ATM state for the DNC – and Clinton, and key state Democratic Party officials lined up behind Clinton long ago, including NJDSC Chair John Currie, who signed an August endorsement letter that also included U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, representatives Bill Pascrell, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Donald Payne Jr., Democratic leaders of the NJ Senate Steve Sweeney, Loretta Weinberg, Nia Gill and Bob Gordon, and a long list of legislators and county chairs. NJDSC Vice-Chair Lizette Delgado-Polanco and Political Director Jennifer Holdsworth are also both active Clinton organizers in NJ. Clinton has been here multiple times for high-donor cocktail parties hosted by top NJ fundraisers like Michael Kempner.
It will be interesting to see – in this state – whether New Jersey’s grassroots will rise up and work hard enough for Sanders to overcome the impact of NJ’s wealthy moderate Dems’ checkbooks and state party leaders who claim progressive values but choose a moderate for their White House standard-bearer. Consider that a challenge.
A first: This marks the first time DFA – which was born out of Gov. Howard Dean’s run for president in the 2004 Democratic primary – has endorsed for president in a contested primary. In 2007, the organization ran a similar member survey, but its winner Barack Obama did not clear the 67% hurdle. All three of the Democratic candidates – Hillary Clinton, Martin O’Malley and Sanders – campaigned directly for the endorsement, sending lengthy and detailed emails to hundreds of thousands of DFA members. Hillary Clinton’s email was accompanied by a message from Gov. Dean endorsing her, a message he signed as DFA’s Founder.
In the last presidential cycle, there were 155,000 responses to DFA’s call to members, as Clinton and Obama battled for the Democratic nomination. This time, there were 271,527 votes cast. Now that its membership has set DFA’s direction, it will immediately begin organizing for Sanders in key primary states – Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada and on to the nearly-dozen Super Tuesday states. Sanders has called for a political revolution to elect populist progressive candidates across the country to local school boards, municipal councils, state legislature and even to Congress. DFA, which has always had a vigorous campaign and activist training arm, expects to fully participate in that goal. From DFA’s statement to press:
Like DFA members, Bernie has kept the fight against income inequality front and center in the presidential race. The 2016 presidential primary election could’ve been dominated by the same Republican-Lite rhetoric that helped Democrats lose control of the U.S. Senate in 2014. Instead, Bernie’s ideas and solutions for rebuilding the middle class have dominated the debate. His success has helped move critical issues like expanding Social Security, debt-free college, breaking up the big banks and getting big money out of politics — all issues supported by the majority of Americans nationwide — into the mainstream of the Democratic Party.
Next Democratic Debate – Saturday night: Only 4 Democratic debates were sanctioned before voting begins this cycle by the DNC, which under the leadership of Clinton 2008 co-chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, threatened candidates that participation in any non-sanctioned event would mean their elimination from the official debate schedule, a first. That, and the small number of debates – reported to be a request by the Clinton campaign – has led to sharp criticism of Wasserman Schultz as an effort to game the debate schedule to protect Clinton’s position. Wasserman is on shaky ground with some in DNC leadership, most vocally Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), a DNC Vice-Chair. The next debate is this Saturday – Dec. 19 – from Manchester, NH. Local NH station WMUR has been dropped as a sponsor by the Democrats, because of the possibility that candidates would have to cross a picket line to participate. IBEW employees may be headed into contract dispute with the station. Here’s how to watch.