Video Source: TYT Politics
Approximately 400 people showed up in Washington to attend the People’s Convergence Conference from September 8 to 10.
The event included a town hall at American University where panelists discussed the future of the progressive movement. Specifically, whether or not Sanders supporters and other progressives should continue to try to change the Democratic Party from within or form a new party.
Event organizers say an overwhelming majority of attendees want a new party with Bernie Sanders at the helm, but are also ready to move forward without him.
“We are in a period of rapid change. People are looking for a new political home,” said Nick Brana, founder of Draft Bernie for a People’s Party, in an interview for IVN.
For many of these Sanders supporters, there is no other option. Brana says the Democratic Party has become a corporate party that has forgotten millions of its own voters while putting corporations and special interests first.
The 2016 election was a prime example of the overwhelming number of voters who are tired of the political status quo and partisan establishment politics, and are looking for something new.
We are in a period of rapid change. People are looking for a new political home.Nick Brana, Founder of Draft Bernie for a People's Party
Bernie Sanders was an extremely popular candidate in the Democratic primary, yet he has spent his tenure in Congress as an independent.
Donald Trump won the Republican nomination and the presidency, but he was not a Republican before running and continues to challenge the party establishment.
Both candidates were able to gain appeal among voters with their own populist message, but one candidate was successful, the other was not.
Bana believes that this will continue to happen because the Democratic Party is giving these voters only one option by not allowing anyone, but party-anointed candidates a chance to win their primary elections.
“If you block out the escape path to the left, then people will go to the right,” he said.
So the Draft Bernie movement plans to move forward with the creation a new party, and delivered 50,000 signatures to Sanders’ office asking him to form this People’s Party to give voters an alternative option.
Brana believes that Sanders’ popularity in the United States would allow the new party to overcome legal and institutional barriers that currently keep third parties from gaining a foothold on the national stage — including party primaries, debate exclusion, and ballot access laws.
Yet Brana and other supporters are aware that the senator may not get behind this plan.
Sanders has not outright said he would never support the creation of a new party. However, his focus to date has been on changing the Democratic Party from within, and with the increased popularity of his single-payer legislation, that may not change.
Brana says Draft Bernie will be submitting questions to the senator’s office within the week. If Sanders indicates that he is not interested in creating and leading a new party, supporters have discussed creating a People’s Party without him.
Without Sanders, Brana says further discussions would be had about building a coalition of left-leaning groups, including labor unions, third parties (like the Green and Justice parties), special interest groups, and more to form a new, united party.
IVN will keep you updated on the development of this story.