Long over due.. It’s about time… And great idea!
While even Bernie Sanders is starting to admit that his chance of winning the Democratic nomination is exceedingly slim, some of his former staff and volunteers have formed a political action committee dedicated to giving the senator “the ability to make real change from the White House.”
Brand New Congress, which was launched Monday, is looking ahead to the 2018 midterm elections to “replace Congress all at once” with lawmakers who agree with the Vermont independent’s policy positions. The PAC won’t be able to fully accomplish that goal in 2018, however, since just 468 of the 535 lawmakers in the House and Senate will be up for re-election.
A timeline on the PAC’s website says that it plans to form local search committees to recruit organizers and candidates who are new to politics. (Sanders, for his part, has served in Congress for 26 years.) The PAC says it will codify various progressive policies in a platform that its slate of candidates must support.
Zack Exley, one of the PAC’s founding organizers and a senior Sanders adviser until a few weeks ago, said Brand New Congress can accomplish its goals because Sanders has shown that grassroots candidates who weren’t taken seriously in the past can recruit thousands of volunteers and raise tens of millions of dollars online. The senator has out-raised Clinton in each of the last three months, and has now matched her total fundraising haul, helping him stay in the race much longer than anyone anticipated before the primaries.
“We learned … that the grassroots are better qualified to run electoral campaigns than Democratic party operatives,” Exley told The Huffington Post in an email. “They just need to be given the tools, the data, the offices and the structure to succeed.”
Though it could be challenging to find Republican candidates who won’t flee from any affiliation with former Sanders supporters, the PAC hopes to recruit Republicans to run in districts hostile to Democrats.
“We want a supermajority in Congress that is fighting for jobs, criminal justice reform and the environment,” Exley said. “Most Americans actually want that, and I think we get it by running Dems in blue areas, Republicans in deep red areas, and by running independents wherever we didn’t defeat incumbents.”