Bernie Sanders: still the one for area progressives

Brennan LaBrie
blabrie@ptleader.com
Posted 7/3/19

Three years after they split from the Jefferson County Democratic Party to support Sen. Bernie Sanders, The Jefferson County Progressives aren’t budging.

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Bernie Sanders: still the one for area progressives

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Three years after they split from the Jefferson County Democratic Party to support Sen. Bernie Sanders, The Jefferson County Progressives aren’t budging.

Even though several of the 24 candidates seeking the Democratic National Committee’s nomination this year have adopted positions that were unique to the U.S. senator in 2015, it was clear during a gathering to view the Democratic debates that local Progressives are not abandoning the senator from Vermont.

More than 40 members of the self-styled Jefferson County Progressives met at the Port Townsend Community Center for a kind of viewing party June 27 and Sanders’ comments were met with the loudest cheers and claps. The clear antagonist of the night in the room was former Vice President Joe Biden, with most of his comments drawing groans or boos from the crowd.

The progressives’ reasoning behind supporting Sanders was summed up by Linda Brewster.

“All these ideas people are talking about originally came from Bernie. It was Bernie’s statements from 2016 that they all courted.” She added that his policies were the biggest influence of the previous night’s debate. “The real winner last night wasn’t even on the stage,” she said.

When it comes to who they support after Sanders, the progressive’s responses likely resembled the wide range of choices among the general Democratic electorate.

After the debate the night before, the group had voted Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii as the winners. When asked who they liked in the second debate, Sen. Harris, D-California got the most approval, followed by South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Warren, who shares many of Sanders’ policies, is the most common alternate to Sanders for the progressives.

“I think Warren is like Bernie-lite; a lot of the progressive candidates are,” said Chelsea Pronovost.

While many thought these candidates performed well, most interviewed said they don’t trust where they receive their campaign money from, especially from PACs. They feel confident that Sanders only receives donations from individuals. In addition, they all believe Sanders has followed through on his progressive promises the most among his competition.

“I support Bernie because I know that he’s got the track record,” said Mike Regan. “You can’t really trust what the other candidates are saying, since they weren’t supporting those things in the past.”

When asked if they would vote for Biden if he were to become the nominee, many said they don’t want to think about it, and most gave a firm “no.”

“I would be very sad if my progressive friends didn’t vote their conscience and intellect,” said Kacie Starling, a precinct committee officer for the local Democratic party who is also a progressive. “I think everybody should think long and hard before deciding to vote along party lines.”

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