Bernie Sanders may have lost the Democratic presidential nomination last year, but it appears he hasn’t lost the ardent support of his fan base. Some people who were “feeling the Bern,” including members of the Vermont senator’s campaign staff, certain delegates and a group of volunteers began a campaign Thursday for Sanders to spearhead his own political party.
“Draft Bernie for a People’s Party” is aimed at transforming Sanders’ amorphous, widespread support base into a new, concrete political party. The proposed party said it intends to mobilize opposition to President Donald Trump.
“This party will offer new progressive electoral choices and strive to enact the people-first platform that so many supported during the Sanders campaign,” the website reads.
Sanders’ presidential campaign catalyzed a movement, and there’s evidence that many voters became disillusioned with the Democratic party after it threw its support behind Hillary Clinton as the nominee instead of Sanders. Fourteen million voters changed their affiliation from Democrat to independent in the wake of the election, according to a Gallup poll. The new party will attempt to gather those voters into a “permanent working class party.”
“Sanders campaign already built the coalition, all we have to do is give it a name,” the Draft Bernie for a People’s Party website stated.
If successful, the campaign planned to challenge districts in the 2018 midterm elections and put up its own presidential candidate in 2020. Should that candidate be Sanders himself, the 79-year-old would be the oldest person ever to run for president.
A crowd funding campaign for the party that calls Sanders a “knight in shining armor” had raised $3,000 of its $27,000 goal Friday. Though it’s unknown what Sanders thinks of the campaign to draft him as party leader, the senator has been clear and outspoken about his “Democratic socialist” political views. During the 2016 campaign, he vowed to “fight for a progressive party platform.” Since Trump has taken office, Sanders has voiced his opposition to a number of the president’s policies, calling him a “fraud” and a hypocrite on CNN in early February.
“We are a democracy, not a one-man show,” he said. “We are not another Trump enterprise. It’s called the United States of America.”