Senator Bernie Sanders is fired up in the wake of President-elect Biff's shocking victory. Yesterday he made rousing appearances on The View and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, looking as energized as ever. For anyone battling the dark undertow of despair that Emperor Trump is currently surfing into the White House, Sanders's impassioned words are a lifeline right now.
In the first clip, after the rapturous chanting of "BERNIE! BERNIE!" dies down, Colbert cordially asks the Senator how he's been, to which Sanders replies tersely and without humor: "It's been a tough week." Indeed. He then goes on to analyze some of the overlap between the frustrated working class voters who were receptive to both Sanders's and Trump's campaigns.
"Democrats should not be losing to a candidate who insults so many people, who wants to give huge tax breaks to the top two-tenths of one percent, and who rejects climate change. How are we losing these elections? Something is fundamentally wrong," Sanders said. "What I'm trying to do right now is bring about structural changes in the Democratic party so it becomes a grass roots party."
In the second clip, Sanders expanded on his current agenda, bluntly declaring that "the Democratic Party cannot continue to be run by the liberal elite. The party has got to transform itself to be a party which, first of all, opens the door, that is the party that feels the pain of working-class people, of the middle class, of low-income people, of young people."
"Our job right now, and this is terribly important, what you do now is get heavily into the political process," Sanders said. "When millions of people stand up and fight back, we will not be denied."
Sanders has endorsed progressive Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison for the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, saying he would be "a fresh start." In 2015, Ellison anticipated Trump's victory early in the Republican primary, only to have the punditry laugh smugly in his face on live television.
During a recent TV appearance on Sunday, Ellison said, "You’ve got to have a vision to strengthen the grass-roots. Make the voters first, not the donors first. I love the donors and we thank them, but it has to be that the guys in the barbershop, the lady at the diner, the folks who are worried about their plant is going to close ― they’ve got to be our focus."
The Huffington Post breaks down the significance the DNC chair will have in steering the party's direction through the wilderness:
The head of the DNC is typically anointed by a Democratic president, and is often a figurehead primarily responsible for fundraising, rather than major strategic decisions. With Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress and the presidency, however, the head of the DNC will play a much more influential role in Democratic politics. The formal selection of the chief is decided by a complex voting process involving state party leaders, who drifted strongly for Clinton over Sanders in the presidential primary. Endorsements from Reid and Schumer suggest that the thinking in establishment circles has become more sympathetic to Sanders supporters following Clinton’s loss.
In an op-ed in the Times last week, Sanders expanded further on how the Democratic Party can recover:
In the coming days, I will also provide a series of reforms to reinvigorate the Democratic Party. I believe strongly that the party must break loose from its corporate establishment ties and, once again, become a grass-roots party of working people, the elderly and the poor. We must open the doors of the party to welcome in the idealism and energy of young people and all Americans who are fighting for economic, social, racial and environmental justice. We must have the courage to take on the greed and power of Wall Street, the drug companies, the insurance companies and the fossil fuel industry.
When my presidential campaign came to an end, I pledged to my supporters that the political revolution would continue. And now, more than ever, that must happen. We are the wealthiest nation in the history of the world. When we stand together and don’t let demagogues divide us up by race, gender or national origin, there is nothing we cannot accomplish. We must go forward, not backward.