Progressive Leaders and Some Former Sanders Senior Staff Launch “Once Again” PAC in Support of Bernie Delegates in Upcoming Primaries
By Alan Minsky, Executive Director – Progressive Democrats of America
Media Advisory for May 5, 2020
Contact: Patricia Brooks, 202-351-1757, firstname.lastname@example.org
Group Aims to Fight for Progressive Policies, Delegates, and Support Grassroots Volunteers.
New York— As part of a livestream on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm Eastern, progressive leaders including former Bernie Sanders campaign staff, co-founders of People for Bernie Sanders, RootsAction.org, and Progressive Democrats of America will announce the “Once Again” campaign to continue to put pressure on the Democratic Party to support progressive policies and candidates across the country.
The Once Again campaign aims to continue the momentum for progressive platform planks like implementing universal healthcare, ending senseless wars, preserving the environment, and eliminating college debt that the Bernie Sanders campaign has championed.
The group will continue to rally support for Senator Bernie Sanders in upcoming primaries in order to reach the threshold of 25 percent of delegates required to bring proposals about the party rules and platform to the entire convention. Although Sanders has suspended his campaign for president, the principles that have defined his life’s work are more important now than ever in the midst of a global pandemic and economic recession.
WHAT: The launch of the Once Again campaign to continue to push the Democratic Party to adopt and support progressive policies and candidates
WHEN: May 5, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern
WHERE: RSVP only to livecast on http://onceagainpac.com
WHO: Former senior Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign staffers, co-founder of People for Bernie Sanders, co-founder of RootsAction.org, and Progressive Democrats of America
“We have had enough of the status quo policies that do not change the material conditions for the poor, working poor and middle class in this country,” said Senator Nina Turner. “We intend to keep pushing for a government that works for everyone.”
“When the Bernie Sanders campaign came to an end, there was an immediate void for where all the support and enthusiasm of his ideas would go,” said Charles Lenchner, co-founder of the People for Bernie Sanders. “The Once Again campaign intends to be a home for those who want to finish the primary season right – with the largest number of Sanders’ Delegates as possible.”
“We appreciate the work Senator Sanders has done on the issues of reducing income inequality, achieving universal healthcare, and generally pushing the party toward the more progressive platform America needs,” said Winnie Wong, former senior advisor to Bernie Sanders, co-founder of the People for Bernie, and advisor to Once Again. “We are going to keep the fight going and continue to pressure the party that going back to normal ways is not enough to succeed in the current atmosphere.”
“Democrats can no longer take Black voters for granted.” says khalid kamau, a #BlackLivesMatter and labor organizer-turned Councilman in Georgia. “There is a new generation of Black voters watching the racial wealth gap deepen because of student loan debt; seeing African Americans die from Coronavirus in alarmingly disproportionate numbers, driven by structural inequalities in healthcare and environmental policies. We want more than a return to the Obama years. We want Student Debt Cancellation, Medicare For All and a Green New Deal.”
“Bernie’s campaign has suspended, but the movement to fight for the Bernie platform must go on,” said Claire Sandberg, National Organizing Director for the 2020 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. “People who recognize the urgency of issues like ending the wars, canceling student debt, and enacting Medicare for All and a Green New Deal must work together to ensure progressive voters make their voices heard in the remaining primaries. It’s also vital that Bernie supporters rally behind down ballot progressive candidates, whose fortunes may be determined by small margins. For those reasons, I support this effort to mobilize Bernie supporters to cast their ballots through the end of the primary.”
“As Sanders has articulated during this campaign, federal budget priorities are crucial matters of life and death on a vast scale,” said Norman Solomon, co-founder and national director of RootsAction.org. “While doing enormous harm abroad, perpetual war is squandering resources that communities desperately need across this country. We will ramp up pressure on Democratic Party leaders to finally oppose the endless warfare and huge military budgets that continue to drain the U.S. Treasury.”
“As life-long activists, we saw the ideas of democratic socialism take off in the 2020 election,” said Alan Minsky, Executive Director of Progressive Democrats of America. “This new enthusiasm is not going to go away, and so we will continue to channel that momentum to keep progressing. Younger people are preferring democratic socialism in general, so we know that this will continue to grow.”
“Progressives and democratic socialists will need to organize and commit to building a movement under a Biden presidency,” said Linda Sarsour, co-founder of the first Muslim online organizing platform, MPower Change, and Sanders campaign surrogate. “We are livid with what is happening in states like New York where Bernie supporters are being denied a chance to fight for change. It is important that everyone has an opportunity to vote in the primary, so Bernie Sanders can gain enough delegates to have influence on the Democratic platform during the convention and keep his most loyal supporters in the fold to win the election in November 2020,” she added.
“We’re electing Bernie delegates because that gives us a voice for independent political action at the democratic convention,” said Larry Cohen, Board Chair of Our Revolution. “Most importantly, if Bernie’s total goes over 1200 we will have over 25% of the key standing committees’ rules and platform. The rules committee matters because we want to at least continue the reforms we enacted between 2016 and 2018 that eliminated superdelegates’ role on the first ballot in the nominating convention. Also, many of us are focused on the platform, which is a minimum for democrats to run on nationally and we want to fight to get in the platform Medicare for All, ending fracking, decent immigration and many other issues.”
Medicare for All: The pandemic has underscored the serious and often deadly injustice of tying health coverage to employment, while leaving upwards of 87 million Americans uninsured or underinsured even in normal times. States like Georgia and Louisiana, which refused to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, lead the nation in hospital closures, infant & maternal mortality, and disproportionate deaths among African Americans due to Coronavirus. The situation is now worsening as millions more workers and their families lose coverage because they’ve lost their jobs. The solution is to fully recognize healthcare as a human right and implement Medicare for All as the cost-effective way to provide enhanced coverage to everyone.
Full Cancellation of Student Debt: Forty-five million people in this country are burdened with $1.7 trillion in student debt. For the average college graduate, that means coping with nearly $30,000 in loans, while students who leave college before graduating also carry a heavy debt load. s both the biggest and has grown the fastest among those with a college education, primarily due to student loans. The racial wealth gap is both the biggest and has grown the fastest among those with a college education, primarily due to student loans. By canceling student debt, we can stimulate the economy from the ground up and make it possible for America’s young adults to pursue their dreams — including careers helping the most vulnerable among us — without the often-crushing burden of debt.
End the Wars: The United States has been engaged in endless wars for nearly 20 years. By turning away from what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism,” we can reorder our priorities and devote far more of the nation’s resources to sustaining and improving lives instead of taking them. The federal discretionary budget — 57 percent of which now goes to the military — should be directed toward meeting human needs and providing for true national security in all its dimensions.
Green New Deal: The climate crisis is an emergency, and we’re running out of time to stop the most catastrophic impacts. With our entire economy in free-fall and requiring bailing out due to the coronavirus pandemic, now is the time to rapidly decarbonize. Instead of propping up the dying fossil fuel industry, we must accelerate the transition to a sustainable economy through a just transition that puts human needs first, reinvests in frontline and marginalized communities, puts millions of people to work in good-paying union jobs, and ensures that critical energy systems operate under public democratic control. We know that black & brown communities are disproportionately impacted by environmental racism, with increased rates of asthma, cancer and other diseases.
ABOUT THE ONCE AGAIN CAMPAIGN: We are activists committed to progressive change. While corporate interests and wealthy elites routinely impose inhumane priorities with their undemocratic power, only intensive grassroots organizing can enable genuine democracy to flower. In the midst of a pandemic that is causing enormous human suffering due to systemic injustice, the political programs long championed by Bernie Sanders are more needed than ever. We can — and we must — carry on this fight.
Once Again plans to register as a PAC and will report all contributions publicly through the Federal Election Commission.