Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Bernie Sanders throws his hat into the ring.

The news that Bernie Sanders has announced he is seeking the Democrat Party nomination for US President is welcome.

The fact that a democratic socialist and progressive, has to do so through the Democrat Party rather than through a third party exposing these values is unfortunate. 

Bernard Sanders  has served as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007. The longest-serving Independent in congressional history, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1990 and caucuses with the Democratic Party, enabling his appointment to congressional committees and at times giving Democrats a majority.

Indeed although Sanders is not a member of the Vermont Progressive Party the only "Third Party" in US Politics to really challenge the two-party system he is has strong links and is  supported by them.
After the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, the Vermont Progressive Party has the highest number of seats among State and National offices for any organised party.

However the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is an organization of democratic socialistsocial democratic and labour-oriented members in the United States.

According to Wikipedia.

In the United States elections of 2017, the DSA endorsed fifteen candidates for office, with the highest position gained being that of Lee Carter in the Virginia House of Delegates.[40] DSA members won 15 electoral offices in thirteen states, bringing the total to thirty-five (the DSA, having changed its electoral strategy at its national convention, had anticipated picking up approximately five seats): city council seats in Pleasant Hill, Iowa (Ross Grooters), Billings, Montana (Denise Joy), Knoxville, Tennessee (Seema Singh Perez), Duluth, Minnesota (Joel Sipress) and Somerville, Massachusetts (JT Scott and Ben Ewen-Campen); and the seat in the Virginia House of Delegates contested by Carter, among other offices.[41][42] 56% of the DSA members who ran in this election cycle won compared to the 20% previously in 2016.[42] These results encouraged dozens more DSA members to run for office in the 2018 midterm elections.

In the 2018 midterm elections, the DSA had anticipated seeing the first DSA member in Congress and reaching 100 elected officials nationwide from its strategic down-ballot campaigns.[5] 42 formally endorsed people were running for offices at the federal, state and local levels in 20 states, including Florida, Hawaii, Kansas and Michigan; Maine's Zak Ringelstein, a Democrat, was its sole senatorial candidate.[43] Local chapters have endorsed 110 candidates.[44] Four female DSA members (Sara InnamoratoSummer LeeElizabeth Fiedler and Kristin Seale) won Democratic primary contests for seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, two of them defeating conservative male Democratic incumbents.[45][46][47][48] Additionally, Jade Bahr and Amelia Marquez won their primaries in Montana for the State House[49] and Jeremy Mele won his primary for the Maine House of Representatives.[50][51] In California, Jovanka Beckles won one of the top two spots in the primary and advanced to the general election for a State Assembly seat in the East Bay.[52]On June 26, DSA member and endorsee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez won the Democratic primary against incumbent Representative Joseph Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district in a surprise upset, virtually guaranteeing her the congressional seat in the heavily Democratic district which spans parts of the Bronx and Queens.[53][54] However, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed the win as "not to be viewed as something that stands for anything else"[55] and argued that it only represented change in one progressive district.[56] Conversely, head of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez proclaimed her to be "the future of our party"[57]whereas the Trotskyist International Committee of the Fourth International critiqued her and the DSA as being a "left" cover for the "right-wing Democratic Party", particularly in regard to foreign policy.[58] Six weeks after Ocasio-Cortez's primary victory, DSA member and endorsee Rashida Tlaib won the Democratic primary in Michigan's 13th congressional district.[59] Both Ocasio-Cortez and Tlaib went on to win their respective general elections to become members of Congress. Ultimately, about a dozen members (or non-members who were endorsed) won office in their state legislatures.[60] In the aggregate, the DSA had backed 40 winning candidates at the state, county and municipal levels.[11][61]Ocasio-Cortez's victory and the subsequent publicity for the DSA led to more than 1,000 new members joining the organization the next day, approximately 35 times the daily average[62] and their largest ever one-day increase in membership.[63] These signups helped boost the organization to 42,000 members nationally in June 2018.[64] That number increased to 50,000 by September 1, 2018.[65]

Under the US election system third parties are at an even more disadvantage than the UK , especially when the cost of running means that candidates are often reliant on financial backing by corporate interest .

It could be that Trump's victory has reinvigorated  the Progressive Left in US Politics and it could see an increase number in the Democrat Caucus declaring themselves as such.

But it will be a long struggle Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign showed that the Progressive Left in the USA has a much larger support than we see through the two-party system.

However it does mean rather than seeking a Plurality of parties , the two party system will continue in the US.

The far right has seized the Republican Party however and the Democrats should relaise that if they need to find a voice they need the likes of Bernie Sanders  and in the future Alexandria Ocasio-Corte.

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