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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Some Sanders Supporters Propose ‘Plan B’ Campaign Against Trump

Gabriel Debenedetti reports at Politico that “A group of Bernie Sanders staffers and volunteers is circulating a draft proposal calling on the senator to get out of the presidential race after the final burst of Democratic primaries on June 7, and concentrate on building a national progressive organization to stop Donald Trump.”
It’s a 1600-word document, which “calls for the Vermont senator to exit the race and launch an independent political group far larger than any other recent post-campaign political operations, such as those started by Howard Dean or Barack Obama.”
Yamiche Alcindor reports at The New York Times, however, that:

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for the Sanders campaign, called the draft plan “totally irrelevant.”
“We are focused on winning the Democratic nomination,” Mr. Briggs said in an email. “This document is something that neither the senator nor anyone he works with has seen. We have no idea who wrote it. We could care less about the document.”

Sanders and his campaign are still focused on making the most of the rest of the presidential campaign. They still hope for an upset win in CA and they plan to be in a good position to win the nomination, should Clinton stumble or hit the political banana peel. However, as Debenedetti explains,

The group of over a dozen Sanders backers crafting the proposal — a collection of volunteers and current and former Sanders staff members, all veterans of other high-profile campaigns, including Barack Obama’s, who insist on anonymity — believes that leaving an imprint on the party platform is an overrated goal. They suggest that the Vermont senator should exit the race if it’s clear he cannot win — a call similar to the one made by Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, his lone Senate endorser — rather than spend the five weeks before the convention in limbo.

Another element of the proposal may not sit so well with Democratic Party officials, depending on the timing:

While Sanders will likely speak at July’s official Democratic convention in Philadelphia, the document proposes that he and his aides host a ‘convention’ event of their own to spur excitement and launch this group: “The best organized independent expenditure organization in history [that will] give the vast (and deeply anti-establishment) base a vehicle into which they will whole heartedly pour their energy.”…Such an effort, they write, would help bridge the gap between Clinton and the “large cadre of young, newly political Sanders supporters [that] sees rejection of Hillary and the Democratic Party establishment as core to their identity.”
…”A Sanders-led (as opposed to Sanders-centered) independent entity could provide a much needed, articulate and energized economic populist voice to the anti-Trump effort without the intrinsic compromising effect posed by close association with Neoliberal Democratic elites, as well as weaning the volunteer base off total reliance on individual candidates during one-off election cycles.”

It’s good to know that this dialogue is underway inside the Sanders campaign. Win or lose, Sen. Sanders has a lot to contribute to the defeat of Trump and the election of Democrats down-ballot from the presidency, If he is able to organize a progressive coalition that can function beyond 2016, Democrats may at long last have the vehicle that can help challenge the GOP’s midterm edge.

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