Former Interim DNC Chair Donna Brazile dropped a bombshell about the conduct of the DNC in the 2016 presidential campaign that has left many progressives reeling. Bernie supporters largely feel validated in their claim that the primary was rigged, and now a mass exodus from the Democratic Party could be looming.
Draft Bernie for a People's Party announced Thursday the launch of its next phase: the Movement for a People's Party.
Nick Brana, founder of Draft Bernie, says that while none in his movement could have expected so many DNC revelations to come out at once, it has boosted the momentum for the People's Party.
"Donna Brazile confirmed the primary was rigged, and to such a substantial degree. The DNC essentially acted as a subsidiary to the Clinton campaign," he said in an interview for IVN.
But Brana says Brazile was complicit in this as well, doubting her claims that she had no knowledge of what happened in the primary until she became interim chair of the DNC, and suggesting that her prior knowledge of the dealings between the Clinton camp and the DNC is the reason she was chosen for the leadership role.
Brana also notes that since the 2016 presidential election, the Democratic Party has shown no signs of change. In fact, he believes party officials have given progressives one, clear message: "Yeah, we know what we did, and we will continue to do it."
Brana cites DNC Chair Tom Perez's decision to purge Sanders supporters from the DNC board as an example -- something former DNC vice chair and US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard chastised the party for in a recent video calling for total reform of the DNC and its practices.
With support for the Democratic Party at a 25-year low, Republican support even lower, and polls indicating a broad desire for a new major party, Brana sees a perfect opportunity for his movement to form a coalition of like-minded groups to build the People's Party.
The Draft Bernie movement submitted a petition to Sen. Bernie Sanders in September, calling on him to lead the new People's Party, but Sanders has yet to respond. However, Brana says that hunger for a new progressive party exists even without him.
"I think we tapped into something that none of us thought would be so powerful," he remarked in his interview. He added that most people who were attracted to the movement were drawn to the name "People's Party," even without the support of Sanders.
Draft Bernie, along with other progressive groups, hosted a rally and conference in the District of Columbia in September, including a town hall event at American University where they discussed forming a new party versus continuing to try to reform the DNC from within. For many in attendance, including Brana, there is no other option but to form a new party.
As previously reported, the purpose of the new party is not to compete with the Democratic Party, but to replace it entirely.
"The invitation is always open to Bernie," Brana says, but the movement is moving forward without him and is going to start building a coalition of independent-progressive groups, progressive parties, labor unions, and other like-minded organizations.
The Movement for a People's Party is looking to replicate the successes of anti-establishment movements in Europe, such as the shift from a two-party system in Spain to a four-party system, and the rise of Syriza in Greece.
Trust and confidence in political institutions is at an all-time low, and the trend shows no recovery for either the Republican or Democratic Party. Brana calls the current two-party structure "unsustainable" and says a new party "is a foregone conclusion."
The big question is, who will offer the alternative polls suggest voters crave and what will the new party stand for?
Will it be a right-wing populist party modeled after the successes of Donald Trump? Will it be an effort by the political establishment to adapt and mislead voters by backing their own third-party candidate? Or will it be a progressive coalition?
Brana believes that "the trajectory and momentum is on" the side of the progressives. He argues that the majority of Americans are progressive on the issues, and that millions of voters would turn to a progressive alternative if one emerged.
The progressive movement, however, is fragmented into hundreds of organizations, "which gives them poor economies of scale and prevents them from achieving the critical mass for a new party." Brana says if progressives cannot come together, voters will settle for whatever alternative does emerge.
Stay tuned for more developments on this story.