June 25, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders strongly invoked the Labor Movement and this nation’s other great social justice movements on Thursday night in New York City, when he laid out bold plans to both “transform the Democratic Party” for ordinary working people and “revitalize American Democracy.”
Sanders made the powerful declarations before a packed theater of ardent anti-establishment followers inside West 43rd Street’s landmark Town Hall.
Corporate media outlets have relentlessly pressured Sanders to officially drop out of the presidential race and announce his support for rival Hillary Clinton ever since the conclusion of the Democratic primaries.
But the Brooklyn-born senator did not officially announce his exit from the presidential nominating process or announce his support for Clinton. Instead, Sanders — who officially garnered some 13 million votes during the Democratic Primaries — outlined a two-prolonged effort to wrest the Democratic Party from hawkish neoliberals and tepid TPP critics like the former first lady and secretary of state.
“What the system is designed to do — what corporate media is designed to do — is to tell you that we cannot achieve real change. That the only thing you can accept is incremental, tiny little changes. But what our campaign has been about, and is about, is saying: Sorry, we’re thinking big. We want real change,” Sanders said.
To accomplish that change, the Sanders campaign is focusing its progressive energy both inside the Democratic Party establishment and outside of it.
Last week, during an online presentation to supporters, Sanders urged his followers to become directly involved in the electoral process by either running for elective office themselves, or helping other progressive win seats on school boards, city councils, state legislatures, Congress and the Senate. Upwards of 20,000 have already signed up to do just that, according to the Vermont senator.
Here in New York, the Sander's campaign has already backed the congressional bids of progressives Zephyr Teachout and Eric Kingson in next Tuesday’s Democratic Primaries.
“You can beat the establishment,” Sanders said at Town Hall this week. “They are not as powerful as people make them out to be. We won 22 states [during the primaries]. I have no doubt that a strong, well organized grassroots movement can take on the establishment and can defeat the establishment.”
Sanders’ impressive showing against Clinton during the 2016 Democratic Primary season, has earned his campaign five appointees on the body charged with formulating the Democratic National Committee’s official platform for July’s party convention in Philadelphia.
In addition to helping to craft the “most progressive platform by far in the history of the Democratic Party,” Sanders vowed his campaign will also pressure the Democratic Party rules committee to scrap election practices that have proven to be a barrier to increased voter participation. They include ending closed primaries and getting rid of super delegates.
“We are going to change that,” an impassioned Sanders said. “And while we’re at it, we might as well transform the entire Democratic Party. What that means is forcing open the door for ordinary people, for working people and young people — rather than allowing wealthy campaign contributors to be running that party.”