Bernie Sanders’ Our Revolution: The Bolsheviks vs. the Mensheviks?

I haven’t seen the official coverage for Senator Bernie Sanders’ new group, Our Revolution. It was supposed to launch today. But from this article in Politico from yesterday it looks like internally there is a struggle over control and direction:

The revolution is already tearing itself apart.

Less than a week before its official launch on Wednesday, Bernie Sanders’ new political group is working its way through an internal war that led to the departure of digital director Kenneth Pennington and at least four others from a team of 15, and the return of presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver as the group’s new president.

Weaver shrugged off the suggestion that the group was already falling victim to a caricature of liberal infighting.

“This is an organization that’s a couple of weeks old, and every new organization has to find its footing,” he said.

There isn’t an aide closer to Bernie and Jane Sanders than Weaver. But he became a lightning rod for the criticism of the younger generation who felt that he was curt, dismissive, and overmatched. So when Jane Sanders asked Weaver, who was already involved as a legal adviser to Our Revolution, to take on a greater role early last week — before the ABC News story — Pennington and others immediately protested. They issued what amounted to an ultimatum: him or them.

“A majority of the staff quit as a result of Jeff joining,” said one person familiar with the situation, who added that they had joined with a promise from Bernie and Jane Sanders, and executive director Shannon Jackson, that Weaver wouldn’t be running it and had asked for this promise specifically.

They claim as well that there was a specific argument about fundraising strategy.

Weaver said he had a vision that included more traditional — not just grassroots — fundraising, the person familiar with the situation said.

Our Revolution is aiming to have a long term impact on races all the way down to the most local. They say they’re hoping to start this year, getting the voters activated by Sanders involved in Senate, House and other campaigns.

But Sanders himself has yet to campaign for any candidates whatsoever aside from one rally for Eric Kingson — a New York House hopeful who subsequently lost his primary to the Democratic party’s favored contender.

Sanders’ attempts to get his work for other candidates off the ground has already been sputtering. Around the time he campaigned for Kingson, for example, Zephyr Teachout specifically asked him not to come and campaign for her until he ironed out his eventual endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

Although I agreed with much of Senator Sanders agenda, I never thought he was a good manager and feared that his race was another example of a cult of personality. Particularly when reading the comments and ideas put forward by his most ardent followers. It looks like some of my concerns are coming to fruition. But I wish him well in his endeavor…but it seems like a disorganized mess at the moment:

Weaver said he is optimistic.

“Millions of people voted for Bernie Sanders, hundreds of thousands volunteered, millions donated,” he said. “People are very excited about continuing the work that was done on the campaign and making sure we bring Bernie’s progressive vision to reality.”

VIDEO: Superdelegate David Bowen explains his support for Bernie Sanders

Watch as Democratic State Rep. David Bowen explains why he’s chosen to give his superdelegate vote to Sen. Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination.

I appreciate David Bowen’s stated intention to support the will of the Democratic voters of the state of Wisconsin, who gave Sen. Sanders a convincing win here in Wisconsin’s Democratic presidential primary, and I just wish DPW Chair Martha Laning, who ran on a ticket with Bowen, would have followed his lead instead of flip-flopping on who she’d give her superdelegate vote to.

Watch: Bernie Sanders’ speech after Iowa caucus results

On Monday Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave what at least one report has categorized as a speech that was given with little advance notice due to a Clinton campaign “meltdown” over the Democratic Iowa caucus results.

Shortly after Clinton’s speech, her lone rival Bernie Sanders took to the stage to give his speech, and I think it’s a speech worth sharing with those of you who may not have seen it in its entirety.

Watch for yourselves.

While many have dismissed Bernie Sanders as unelectable, it’s worth noting that many of those same claims were made against Barack Obama in 2007 & 2008 (albeit for different reasons), and it’s clear now those claims were unfounded. Sure, there are certainly obstacles Bernie Sanders would face in a general election, but Hillary Clinton isn’t exactly free from her own baggage.

Ultimately, I look at the electability argument being made by many supporters of Hillary Clinton and I can’t help but think their argument is based more on a desire to preserve the status quo in the Democratic Party than it is on true concerns about the real electability of Bernie Sanders. The fact is, Sanders scares the hell out of many establishment Democrats who’ve become comfortable with our political system as it exists now.

Video: Bernie Sanders takes Tough Question(s) at Liberty University

Yesterday Sen. Bernie Sanders gave a speech and then sat down to answer questions – some of them pretty tough – from students at conservative Liberty University.

Here’s some video of Sen. Sanders’ speech, as well as the question and answer session that followed. The question and answer session begins at approximately 30:35 into the video.

Sen. Sanders’ speech at Liberty University was not remarkable because of its content – thought it was a pretty darn good speech – but because of Sen. Sanders’ willingness to go into what could have been a very hostile environment instead of sticking to safe, scripted, “preaching to the choir” campaign events.

VIDEO: In 180 seconds you will be voting for Bernie Sanders

I’ll admit it – Bernie’s my guy.

While pundits and prognosticators may say Bernie Sanders has no chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in the 2015 Democratic presidential primary, I think his message of universal healthcare, a livable minimum wage, correcting income inequality, and protecting our public education system is one that merits broader discussion among Democrats.

It’s time to move forward

This weekend Democrats elected Martha Laning as the new Chair of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin.

As has been noted here and elsewhere, the race to succeed former Chair Mike Tate was not without negative and attacks, with yours truly having been at the center of some of those attacks. As I’ve noted here and elsewhere, I regret my role in the negativity of the DPW Chair race, especially in the last few weeks of the race. That being said, it’s time to move forward.

Now that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin has chosen its new figurehead, it’s time for Wisconsin’s Democrats to work to heal the rifts we created between ourselves in the months and weeks leading up to the 2015 convention. What’s more, we all need to start looking forward to 2016, because we Democrats have a huge undertaking ahead of ourselves if we’re going to start reversing the damage Republicans have done to our fair state.

We’re all going to need to be on the same page if we’re going to beat Republicans at the ballot box, and I’m willing to do my part – are you?

VIDEO: Rep. Hakeem Jeffries dismantles Sheriff David Clarke on police reform & equal protection

During a recent appearance by Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform, Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries confronted Sheriff Clarke over the blue wall of silence, the need for equal protection under the law for everyone and the unjust death of Eric Garner.

Considering how little Sheriff Clarke’s agency does to actually combat crime in Milwaukee County, it’s curious to see him testify before Congress as if he’s an expert on how to fight crime. After all, this is the same “crimefighter” who once tried to help a drunk driver get back on the road after that drunk driver drove off the freeway and into a ditch.

Democrats Chris Sinicki and Dave Hansen to introduce equal pay legislation

This is great news, but of course Republicans who control the legislature will never let it see the light of day.

State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) and State Representative Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee) announced today that they will be introducing the Equal Pay Enforcement Act, legislation aimed at closing the gap in pay between and men and women.

The Equal Pay Enforcement Act which was signed into law in 2009 was repealed when Governor Walker and Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2011. It is being introduced in honor of Equal Pay Day which is taking place tomorrow, April 14th.

dave-hansen-gb“Even though equal pay has been the law federally since 1963 and in Wisconsin since 1945, women are still often paid less than men 60 years later. This holds true even when women match or exceed their male colleagues in education, skills and experience,” said Sen. Hansen. “This gap in pay is costing Wisconsin women and their families on average $10,000 per year. As a result, Wisconsin families have less money to support their families and our economy.”