For Immediate Release
Nov. 9, 2017
Carol Ehrle | email@example.com
Media Team | media@ForAPeoplesParty.org
Washington D.C. — The American progressive movement is reeling from the back-to-back revelations that the 2016 Democratic primary was thoroughly rigged and that the party purged Sanders supporters from the DNC. The past few weeks have made clear a conclusion that progressives have long fought to avoid: there is no path to power inside the Democratic Party.
As the Democratic Party shuts the door on progressives, Gallup shows that more Americans are calling for a major new party than ever before. A large majority of Americans now want an alternative to the Democrats and Republicans. In just five years, support for a new party has jumped from 46 to 61 percent. There are already far more independents than Democrats. But now even most Democrats are saying that their party does “such a poor job that a major third party is needed.”
It is in this turbulent political context that Draft Bernie for a People’s Party is launching its next phase: Movement for a People’s Party (MPP).
Launched in February by Sanders campaign staffers, delegates and volunteers, Draft Bernie quickly grew into a major national organization at the helm of the rapidly growing movement for a new political party. Tens of thousands of working people broke with the Democratic Party and joined Draft Bernie’s call on Sen. Sanders to create a genuinely progressive party. Draft Bernie’s articles and interviews have spanned dozens of mainstream and independent publications reaching millions of people.
Thousands of passionate volunteers across every state have hit the streets and social media to speak to fellow progressives about starting a people’s party. Leading Sanders campaign surrogates including renowned public intellectual Dr. Cornel West and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox have joined the movement. Many others, including National Nurses United head RoseAnn DeMoro and Our Revolution President Nina Turner, have also supported the call for a people’s party.
When Draft Bernie was founded, few progressives were talking about starting a new party. In just a few months, Draft Bernie has flipped the script and the idea of building a people’s party has gone viral. Sen. Sanders holds out hope that the Democratic Party can be reformed, but the American people have made their preference clear.
Draft Bernie built tremendous grassroots support for a people’s party and now MPP will assemble that support into a coalition of working people, unions, progressive organizations, and community groups that can collectively launch a nationally viable people’s party. Across the country, MPP members will build the coalition for a people’s party one conversation at a time. The momentum is on our side as each passing day makes it clearer that the Democratic Party has no interest in representing its overwhelmingly progressive base.
Tuesday’s Gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia reinforced the need for a new party as a former Goldman Sachs executive was elected in New Jersey and a fiscal-conservative who voted for George W. Bush twice won in Virginia. Both men were Democrats who represent the rightward shift in a party that is running billionaires in states like West Virginia, Illinois and Florida. The Democratic establishment will interpret the election results as a vindication of neoliberalism and a license to continue business as usual. Working families will suffer as the Democratic Party continues to chase Trump and the Republicans further to the right.
The public’s acute disdain for the Democratic Party can be seen in a new CNN/SSRS poll that finds the party’s favorability has fallen to its lowest point in more than a quarter century, from 44 to 37 percent since March. Republicans fare even worse, with just 30 percent of Americans holding a favorable view. A separate Pew poll shows that trust in government has fallen from 49 percent to 20 percent in the past 15 years. The historic unfavorability ratings reveal an electorate that is fed up with both establishment parties and desperate for a political alternative.
A new party that supports free public college, universal health care, a living wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, getting big money out of our elections, and much of Sanders’ 2016 platform, will give Americans a party to vote for and inspire millions back to the polls. MPP is well on its way towards that goal.
“Confidence in institutions and affiliation with the establishment parties are at historic lows. The number of independents and Americans calling for a major new party are at historic highs. These are long term trends that show no sign of slowing down. We’re on course for a major political realignment,” said Draft Bernie Founder and MPP National Director, Nick Brana, who lobbied the superdelegates on Sanders’ presidential campaign.
Public anger and frustration has reached a boiling point and neither major party is giving voice to policies that would alleviate the hardship that working people face. Last year, voters in both major parties tried to nominate presidential candidates who weren’t truly members of their party before the election. They succeeded on the right and were blocked on the left.
The revolution against establishment politics is not limited to the United States. Anti-establishment parties are rising across Europe. The two parties that have dominated French politics for decades, the Republican and the Socialist parties, were overtaken by two new parties in this year’s presidential election. Spain’s two -party system split into four parties in 2015. In Greece, Syriza overtook the country’s establishment parties and elected a prime minister.
The major parties are crumbling. The question is not whether there will be a new party in America. The question is what will the new party stand for and who will offer the country the alternative it so desperately craves? Will it be a right wing populist party, the kind that Trump, Bannon and Mercer foreshadow? A new neoliberal party masquerading as third way, the kind that French elites used with Macron? Or will progressives come together to offer working people a genuine alternative? asked Brana. “There is a new political reality in America. If progressives don’t offer an alternative that fills the anti-establishment void, someone else will, just like Trump did last year,” he said.
The majority of Americans are progressive and want a new party. However, progressives are fragmented into hundreds of organizations and numerous parties, which forces them to compete for supporters, volunteers, donors, and voters. That prevents them from building the critical mass of resources and support for a new party. Draft Bernie popularized the idea of starting a people’s party. The Movement for a People’s Party will unite that support into a coalition for a nationally viable progressive party.
MPP national director Nick Brana was the national political outreach coordinator on Sander’s presidential campaign. He was also a founding member of Our Revolution and its first electoral manager.