Bernie Sanders Supporters Launch “Brand New Congress” As The Next Chapter Of His Political Revolution
As of last month, Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and on the other side of the aisle, things are winding down in the Democratic race too. As we all know, superdelegates won’t be casting their votes until the convention at the end of July, but the media has already declared former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton her party’s presumptive nominee, and following a series of crushing primary losses and being overlooked by handfuls of game-changing progressive leaders handing their support to Clinton, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders seems ready to concede despite making clear his intent to hold out until the convention. Despite this disappointing outcome, his supporters have surprisingly and admirably managed to maintain their fire for reform and Sanders’ political revolution through “Brand New Congress.”
“Brand New Congress,” a new campaign led by Sanders’ famously passionate supporters, aims to sweepingly “replace Congress all at once (except those already on board) that whips up the same enthusiasm, volunteerism and money as Bernie’s presidential campaign,” according to its website. There’s no denying the biggest obstacle to progress and the sort of democratic socialist reforms championed by Sanders — from universal healthcare to tuition-free public college — is a predominantly Republican Congress, ruled by the NRA and fossil fuel industry, that perceives even common-sense gun control measures as radical and climate change as an unconfirmed theory.
It’s worth noting that the leaders of “Brand New Congress” are still pretty optimistic about Sanders’ almost nonexistent chances at the nomination, at least on their website, which claims they’re “busy working for Bernie until he’s in the White House,” and want a “brand new Congress” that will be receptive to Sanders’ hypothetical policies as POTUS.
But “Brand New Congress” volunteers are ultimately considering the future of the political revolution ignited by Sanders, even if it doesn’t contain a Sanders presidency. “We’re proposing the campaign for a Brand New Congress as something to work on next. Only something as big and worthwhile as this can keep the revolution going,” it claims.
This project is, indeed, not only “big and worthwhile,” but also the only way to make Sanders’ progressive platform a reality, even if/when he isn’t president.
The political leaning of Congress is arguably just as important as that of the president, as they preside over what becomes law,while the executive branch’s powers include vetos, executive action, recommending bills, appointing officials, and, of course, unilaterally declaring war. Alongside President Clinton, even the most distrusting, anti-Hillary Sanders supporters could rest easy with a progressive Congress stocked with members who share Sanders’ values when it comes to honest campaign finance, disavowing lobbyists, and supporting economic reforms which better the lives of marginalized groups and the economy at large.
It would be a future to believe in, indeed, though whether or not this sweeping campaign will actually be met with success is to be discovered. However, by mobilizing millions and bringing attention to corruption among “establishment” politicians, from Clinton herself to Republicans owned by banks and the NRA, Sanders has helped create a climate in which “Brand New Congress” has the potential to be successful where it might not have had a chance before.
So, it looks like even if Sanders decided to concede tomorrow, as opposed to a month from now, rest assured the political revolution would push forward. There’s still a rich future for those who feel the Bern to believe in, from the official Democratic party platform to be drafted at least in part by Sanders’ amazing committee appointments (the founder and president of the Arab American Institute and Palestinian rights activist, the co-chair of the progressive caucus and one of two Muslims in Congress, vice chair of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state and Native American rights activist, an environmentalist who’s been writing about global warming long before it reached the mainstream, and civil rights activist Cornel West).
And, now there’s “Brand New Congress,” which I could definitely see Sanders enthusiastically getting behind as soon as he catches wind of it. He’s left quite the legacy, from revolutionizing campaign fundraising to destigmatizing the concept of socialism and associating it with compassionate, common sense economic reforms. But, inspiring his supporters to campaign to uproot and replace the heart of the American political system is arguably his ultimate achievement.