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Progressive Groups Urge Sanders-Warren Unity to Defeat Donald Trump

When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins. "For the sake of humanity and the planet, we need a tactical alliance between the Sanders and Warren campaigns. Defeating corporate Democrats and Donald Trump will require no less."

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren greets Sen. Bernie Sanders as former Vice President Joe Biden looks on before the Democratic presidential primary debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Six candidates qualified for the first primary debate of 2020., Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images // The Hill

18 Progressive Groups Sign Unity Pledge Amid Sanders-Warren Feud - Jonathan Easley (The Hill)
Progressive Groups Urge Sanders-Warren Unity to Defeat Corporate Democrats in Primary—and Then Donald Trump - Jon Queally (Common Dreams)
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18 Progressive Groups Sign Unity Pledge Amid Sanders-Warren Feud

By Jonathan Easley

January 16, 2020
The Hill

Eighteen progressive groups have signed a unity pledge vowing to keep their fire trained on the “corporate wing” of the Democratic Party amid a burgeoning feud between Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) that has split the left.

The signers include seven groups who back Sanders's 2020 presidential bid and two that back Warren's. The remaining nine groups are either supportive of both candidates, such as Democracy for America, or have not endorsed anyone yet.

The three-part pledge says the groups will “focus our fight for the nomination against candidates supported by the corporate wing, instead of fighting each other.” The groups say they’re committed to ensuring a progressive candidate wins the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and that they’ll join forces to ensure that candidate ultimately defeats President Trump.

“When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins,” said Charles Chamberlain, the chairman for Democracy for America. “We saw it in 2004 when progressives took each other out and John Kerry slipped through to win Iowa and then went on to lose in November to a very unpopular Republican incumbent. We’re determined to not let that happen again.”

Sanders and Warren had agreed to not attack one another and stuck to that pledge for all of 2019.

But the detente exploded in spectacular fashion earlier this week after reports that the Sanders campaign was instructing volunteers to question whether Warren is electable.

Warren later alleged that Sanders told her in a private meeting in 2018 that a woman could not win the White House. Sanders, however, denies ever saying that.

The allegations and denials escalated between the two at Tuesday night’s debate in Des Moines, culminating in a post-debate exchange in which Warren confronted Sanders and accused him of calling her a “liar on national TV.”

Sanders and Warren are at the top of many polls of Iowa with the caucuses only weeks away, and liberals are fearful that the bitter dispute will hurt both candidates and potentially pave the way for a centrist contender, such as former Vice President Joe Biden or former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, to emerge victorious.

“We need a bold progressive president. In our opinion, the most inspirational and electable Democrat we could nominate is Elizabeth Warren,” the Progressive Change Campaign Committee said in a statement. “We are joining this effort out of a belief that it represents leaders in the progressive movement urging everyone from campaign staff to Twitter commenters to focus on defeating a corporate, establishment Democrat like Joe Biden. This effort inherently includes standing opposed to sexism and bad-faith arguments in the primary process. We look forward to working with our friends to enforce these principles."

The unity effort, called “Progressives Unite 2020,” features a website where members can sign the pledge and commit to voting for either Sanders or Warren at their caucus or primary.

That’s particularly important in Iowa, where candidates must reach a 15-percent threshold at a caucus site to win delegates. Organizers will be seeking to ensure that if one of the progressive candidates does not hit that threshold, those voters move to back the progressive candidate that does.

“We need a President who will put the interests of everyday people ahead of those of the wealthy elite and big corporations,” said Bree Carlson, the deputy director of People’s Action, which backs Sanders. “Our members voted to endorse Senator Sanders as the best choice for President because he is ready to work side by side with us to do just that. Senator Warren is our clear second choice, both Senator Sanders and Senator Warren stand heads and shoulders above the candidates seeking only to prop up the status quo of corporate interests."

A full list of the groups that signed on to the effort and the candidates they support is below:

1. Be A Hero Action Fund

2. Black Male Voter Project

3. Black Voters Matter Fund

4. Center for Popular Democracy Action (Sanders)

5. Democracy for America

6. Dream Defenders (Sanders)

7. Inequality Media Civic Action

8. Justice Democrats

9. Our Revolution (Sanders)

10. People’s Action (Sanders)

11. Presente Action

12. Progress America

13. Progressive Change Campaign Committee (Warren)

14. Progressive Democrats of America (Sanders)

15. Roots Action (Sanders)

16. Social Security Works

17. Sunrise Movement (Sanders)

18. Working Families Party (Warren)

 

Progressive Groups Urge Sanders-Warren Unity to Defeat Corporate Democrats in Primary—and Then Donald Trump

"When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins."

by Jon Queally

January 16, 2020
Common Dreams

The heads of six progressive advocacy organizations—some that have endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren, some backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, and others who have remained neutral thus far—issued a joint statement calling for unity among the two candidates and their supporters on Thursday morning, arguing that the largest beneficiaries of this week's dust-up between the two campaigns are establishment Democrats, corporate defenders of the status quo, and ultimately President Donald Trump.

The statement (which can be read in full below) was signed by the heads of Democracy for America, Our Revolution, RootsAction.org, Sunrise Movement, Working Families Party, and Justice Democrats. It argues that the best chance for progressives in the United States to defeat Trump "does not lie with an establishment or corporate Democrat," but rather with unified progressive front.

While Our Revolution, RootsAction, and Sunrise are all openly backing Sanders, the Working Families Party has officially endorsed Warren. Justice Democrats and Democracy for America, meanwhile, have yet to throw their support behind any of the 2020 primary candidates in the Democratic field. Despite the divergent approaches to the primary, the groups called for unity to ensure that Trump is defeated in November and that a truly transformative and progressive vision can take hold.

According to the joint statement, "the surest way to defeat Trump is for the Democratic Party to nominate either Warren or Sanders, as these are the candidates best able to energize voters by providing a vision of a decent society and a fair economy. This vision is sorely needed, as is an administration that will implement far-reaching reforms toward a more just society."

The groups backing either Warren or Sanders said the statement of unity "in no way signals the slightest decrease in that commitment," but added that both the campaigns and their respective supporters will have to "find ways to cooperate" going forward.

"The crossfire amplified by the media is unhelpful and does not reflect the relationship between two Senate colleagues who broadly worked well together for most of the last year," reads the statement. "We hope to build solidarity between delegates affiliated with these two candidates prior to the convention and will encourage the campaigns to work towards a unified convention strategy after the final primaries on June 2nd."

In a column for Common Dreams on Thursday morning, Norman Solomon, co-founder of RootsAction.org and a signatory to the joint statement, wrote: "For the sake of humanity and the planet, we need a tactical alliance between the Sanders and Warren campaigns. Defeating corporate Democrats and Donald Trump will require no less."

The progressive movement has the chance of a lifetime to defeat Donald Trump and elect a truly transformational progressive leader President of the United States.

With multiple progressive candidates competing against neoliberal, corporate and billionaire Democrats, our movement must be strategic as we fight to win caucuses and primaries and elect candidate delegates in state conventions to ensure a progressive wins the nomination and then the general election.

"When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins," Charles Chamberlain, the chairman for Democracy for America, said in a statement. "We saw it in 2004 when progressives took each other out and John Kerry slipped through to win Iowa and then went on to lose in November to a very unpopular Republican incumbent. We're determined to not let that happen again."

We will focus our fight in the primary against candidates supported by the corporate wing, instead of fighting each other.

When progressives fight each other, the establishment wins. We saw it in 2004 when progressives took each other out and Kerry won. https://t.co/nbOLHvssYd

— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) January 16, 2020

Joseph Geevarghese, executive director of Our Revolution, which is part of the Progressives Unite 2020 coalition, said, "Our members are ready to elect Bernie Sanders as our next President, but we must be clear. 2020 is a must-win moment for the progressive movement. It is the best opportunity we have to transform our political system – and take power back from the corporate elites who seek to destroy our country and our climate. We know there are more of us than there are of them. And if we come together and organize, we will win 2020."

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) also made a pronounced call for a progressive truce between the two camps.

"Trump wants progressives pitted against each other. Corporate media want progressives pitted against each other," Omar, who endorsed Sanders last year, tweeted. "Billionaires want progressives pitted against each other. Pitting progressives against each other weeks before the Iowa Caucus hurts ALL of us."

Clarifying that Sanders is "not a sexist" and that Warren is "not a snake," Omar told supporters of candidates to "stay focused on the task ahead: defeating Donald Trump in November and fighting for the America we deserve."

As Solomon, who openly backs Sanders, wrote in his column, "It's easier—and maybe more emotionally satisfying—for anger to spin out of control. But this is a tactical situation."

The overarching point, he said, is this: "Whatever Sanders and Warren supporters think of each other's candidate now, there is no plausible pathway forward to the 2020 presidential nomination for either if the conflict festers."

Read the full statement and the list of signatories below:

A Progressive Unity Statement on the Democratic Presidential Primary 

The importance of defeating Donald Trump in 2020 requires no explanation.

In 2016, mainstream conventional wisdom asserted that Hillary Clinton would easily triumph over Trump. Today, some still argue for a return to pre-Trump policies and politics as the safest path to victory. We disagree. Going “back to the future” does not offer the best path to Trump’s defeat. Nor does it move our country forward in terms of the enormous challenges and inequities facing the American people.

We offer this statement as independent organizations. Some support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or are not currently supporting any candidate for president. For those with a declared preference, this statement in no way signals the slightest decrease in that commitment. Instead, this statement is a shared declaration of our belief that the surest way to defeat Trump is for the Democratic Party to nominate either Warren or Sanders, as these are the candidates best able to energize voters by providing a vision of a decent society and a fair economy. This vision is sorely needed, as is an administration that will implement far-reaching reforms toward a more just society.

Our best chance of defeating Trump does not lie with an establishment or corporate Democrat. The anti-establishment, anti-corporate awareness and anger that characterize American society today are justified, and it would be a huge mistake to once again yield that ground to a phony like Trump. We can do better, and will work to persuade Democrats to choose a strong, progressive nominee.

Sanders and Warren, as well as their campaigns and supporters, will need to find ways to cooperate. The crossfire amplified by the media is unhelpful and does not reflect the relationship between two Senate colleagues who broadly worked well together for most of the last year. We hope to build solidarity between delegates affiliated with these two candidates prior to the convention and will encourage the campaigns to work towards a unified convention strategy after the final primaries on June 2nd.

While we firmly believe that either Warren or Sanders should lead our nation in 2021, we will, in the end, go all-out to defeat Trump no matter who the Democratic nominee is. We urge all American progressives to adopt this view. We owe no less to ourselves, our nation and our world. 

Signed by:

Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Larry Cohen, Board Chair, Our Revolution
Norman Solomon, Co-Founder and Coordinator, RootsAction.org 
Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, Sunrise Movement
Maurice Mitchell, National Director, Working Families Party
Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director, Justice Democrats

Sign the Pledge

We pledge to make our case to the American people on why our chosen candidate is the best choice to defeat Trump.

We pledge to focus our fight for the nomination against candidates supported by the corporate wing, instead of fighting each other.

We pledge to come together in state caucuses, primaries and conventions from the first vote in Iowa to the last vote at the DNC Convention in Wisconsin to ensure a progressive wins the nomination and America elects a Progressive President!

Click here to sign the pledge.

Unite for a progressive president and work together to win