Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is mobilizing a massive army of one million volunteers across the United States, asking them to throw parties where supporters can gather and watch a video speech from the 2020 presidential hopeful.
The parties will be held on April 27, the date Sanders’ campaign is touting as the “official launch of Sanders’ 2020 organizing,” according to Politico.
“If there has ever been a time in American history when our people must stand together in the fight for economic, social, racial and environmental justice — now is that time,” Sanders will say in an email to supporters, Politico reported.
“In other words, we need to create an unprecedented grassroots political movement,” Sanders’ email will state.
“Our biggest strengths are Bernie and his message and policies and the size and dedication of our volunteers,” Claire Sandberg, the 2020 campaign’s national organizing director, said in the Politico report. “So we are very prepared to put people to work, to give them the tools to organize on their own.”
As for Sandberg and the other staff working officially for the Sanders’ campaign, they are paid and unionized.
In 2016, Sandberg was in charge of a “distributed organizing” program that taught volunteers to launch phone-banking and texting efforts on Sanders’ behalf.
“According to Sandberg, that initiative led to ‘80,000-volunteer hosted events, 85 million phone calls, 10 million peer-to-peer text messages and also 5 million doors’ knocked on in conjunction with Sanders’ field operation,” Politico reported.
Sandberg said that Sanders’ 2016 campaign got a late start.
“We only got the machine fully up and running once by the point that it was almost too late,” Sandberg said. “So we’re very excited this time around that we’re going to give volunteers the tools to do those things right from the jump.”
The campaign is also going to give volunteers “more leadership and deeper training.”
Meanwhile, other campaign announcements include what Politico said are new talent and alums from Sanders’ last campaign, some of whom recently worked on failed campaigns:
Becca Rast will be the campaign’s national field director, after managing Jess King’s unsuccessful campaign for Congress in Pennsylvania last year. She was a board member of the Sunrise Movement, a group of young environmental activists pushing for the “Green New Deal.”
Hannah Fertig, who helped steer the field and organizing enterprise for Abdul El-Sayed’s failed 2018 gubernatorial campaign in Michigan, will be Sanders’ deputy national field director. She returns from his 2016 bid. Cole Edwards, another 2016 staffer, will be the campaign’s distributed organizing director. He had the same role during Sanders’ tour in the midterm elections.
Yong Jung Cho, who recently worked as the campaign manager for Kaniela Ing’s losing congressional bid, is taking the role of Sanders’ constituency organizing director. Notably, she was an organizing manager for one of Sanders’ current opponents, Beto O’Rourke, when he nearly upset Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) last year.
The volunteer and staff news comes one day after Sanders’ campaign announced it has raised $18.2 million in the first quarter of 2019.
“Sanders said he pulled in $5.9 million in the first 24 hours of his 2020 campaign, a massive number only outmatched by O’Rourke, who reported raising $6.1 million on his first day,” Politico reported.
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