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.”