18 progressive groups sign unity pledge amid Sanders-Warren feud
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)