Boy, I really hope he runs. I’d love to volunteer:
In tiny Richmond, California, Sanders has gotten involved in the battle for control of the city council, a campaign that has received little mainstream media attention but has become a touchstone in progressive circles. There, lawmakers are engaged in a fight with Chevron over the oil giant’s plans to upgrade a local refinery and a group of local progressives has been trying to keep the city council under their control against a slate of business-backed candidates.
More than 500 people attended a rally that Sanders headlined in Richmond. He is the only national political figure to get involved.
“He helped bring national attention to it,” said Mike Parker, one of the leaders of the Richmond Progressive Alliance. “He was the first U.S. senator to have spoken in Richmond in my memory. Most people outside of the Bay Area don’t even know that Richmond exists. It really energized people here. We are up against a really tough operation that is sitting on millions of dollars. He helped give people the sense that we could do something just by pulling so many people together.”
Asked why no other national political figures have followed Sanders into the breach, Parker replied, “He has got more guts than they do, and he is independent of the big corporations.”
If Sanders has not been campaigning for some of the big-ticket senators and governors this cycle, it is because he has been hitting the hustings in a manner that resembles more what his eventual (possible) presidential campaign would look like—outside the system, and relying on labor unions and community groups.Sanders has been hitting the hustings in a manner that resembles more what his eventual (possible) presidential campaign would look like.
He has, for example, twice held rallies and town halls for the South Carolina Progressive Network, an umbrella group of grassroots organizations that tries to move the Palmetto State’s politics leftward. He keynoted the Fighting Bobfest, an annual gathering in central Wisconsin dedicated to the memory of the early-20th-century Senator Robert La Follette. And even if candidates haven’t embraced having Sanders on stage with them, he has made the rounds to local Democratic parties, hosting a fundraiser for the Hillsborough County Democratic Committee in New Hampshire (the first primary’s state Democratic senator, Jeanne Shaheen, was a no-show) and keynoting the Clinton County Democratic Hall of Fame Dinner in Goose Lake, Iowa. He has hosted town halls at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union hall in Jackson, Mississippi, and fundraisers at the AFSCME headquarters in Philadelphia and a longshoreman’s hall in Charleston, South Carolina.
In an interview with Esquire magazine, Sanders explained that this approach was consistent with his belief that the two major political parties have failed to reach out to most voters.