Bernie Activists Take Over Nevada Democratic Party
By Dan O’Neal and the PDA Team
The PDA National team, progressive organizations and activists all across the country are excited to hear the great news coming out of Nevada: The Berniecrats have taken control of the Nevada Democratic Party!
Led by local Las Vegas Sanders activist Judith Whitmer, a progressive slate swept all the five top elected officers in the state party leadership on March 6th.
Many of us in other states were surprised by this awesome progressive victory in Nevada: left activists doing great political work, winning the state for Sanders in Feb. 2020, but taking over the State Democratic Party? NO WAY!
So how did a hardcore coalition of Sanders activists, members of the local Democratic Socialists of America and Progressive Democrats of America – which organized around the Clark County Left Caucus and worked with other progressives in Reno and around the state – pull this off?
“We were constantly encouraging people to get involved. If you want things to happen, you’ve got to do the work and you’ve got to be involved,” Whitmer said in a recent interview.
“We got better at organizing and out-organizing them at every turn… Coming out of the caucuses, even after Bernie suspended his campaign, we were able to keep all of those delegates energized through the convention process and encouraged them to join the central committee and be involved,” she added.
In 2015 the Sanders campaign and other progressives focused on organizing the large Latino community in Las Vegas. They hired young organizers and linked up with labor and Latino community organizations. They also supported the progressive campaign of Amy Vilela for Congress in 2018, who later became Sanders’s Nevada campaign co-chair. All of that organizaing carried over into 2019, leading to Bernie’s tremendous victory in the Democratic primary against Joe Biden in Feb. 2020.
Whitmer became a national figure during the Democratic Convention when she organized the Bernie Delegates to vote against the national party platform because it did not include a Medicare for All statement.
Now, as the newly elected chair of the Nevada Democratic Party, Whitmer is facing big challenges.
Whitmer and her team are in the process of reorganizing the state party apparatus. The party moderates, anticipating their loss, moved $450,000 out of the party’s treasury and into the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s account. The former party staff resigned en masse on March 8th. “I was a little bit surprised, and I had been looking forward to working with the staff that was there,” said Whitmer.
We in PDA believe it’s incumbent on us progressives to help the new party out. Please donate to to PDA’s Progressive Party fund. All dollars raised today will be split with the Nevada Democratic Party.
The new slate of progressives in charge of the party leadership want to be clear that their election win isn’t about party progressives overthrowing the old guard run by former Sen. Harry Reid. It’s about winning elections by focusing on issues that people are demanding.
“Our goal is to get more Democrats elected to office. I’m very optimistic and looking forward to 2022. We’ll be constantly on the ground, engaging people year-round, we’re not going to wait until the lead-up to the election,” said Whitmer.
Please support the election of true progressives in Nevada. Let’s make this great victory a shining example for the rest of the country.