Throwing up their hands in frustration with the Democratic Party, progressives on Wednesday opened a new bid to draft independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to form a third party — and presumably use it to run for president.
In advance of the "People's Summit" in Chicago this weekend, progressives released a move to "Draft Bernie For A People's Party." The effort included a long report that showed that Sanders is the right person for a new political movement. He is scheduled to speak at the summit.
"The facts and figures in the briefing show that a new party is the only way to defeat [President] Trump and the Republican agenda," said Draft Bernie founder and director Nick Brana, the former national political outreach coordinator for Bernie 2016 and former electoral manager for Our Revolution. "This is the case that has convinced Sanders surrogates and working people across the country to join the movement to Draft Bernie."
The report decries Republicans and Democrats. "The majority of Americans are progressive and want a major new political party. Despite Bernie Sanders' monumental efforts to reform the Democratic Party, it remains firmly in neoliberal control. The Democratic Party has made it clear that it will not be the vehicle for the political revolution," said the report.
Faith in Sanders, the 2016 Democratic Primary runnerup to Hillary Rodham Clinton, is so strong, that draft supporters compared him to Abraham Lincoln and the new Republican Party.
"If Sanders starts a party for the progressive majority, it could supplant the Democrats in a few short years. Much like Abraham Lincoln's Republicans replaced the Whig Party in just four years," said a letter from the draft group.
Among the reasons the group said it wants Sanders:
— Bernie is the most popular politician in the country and has an 80% favorability rating among Democrats and 57% favorability among independents. His appeal with conservatives would attract many anti-establishment Republicans to the new party as well.
— A new party that attracts just half of the Democrats and half of the independents would be the largest party in America by far.
— If Bernie starts a new party, we would begin with at least half of the Democratic Party. Then we would add independents, young voters, anti-establishment voters, the white working class, people of color, third party voters, people who have given up on voting and many conservatives who have a favorable impression of Bernie. This would make the party significantly larger than what remains of the Democratic Party.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org