Feel the Bern? Here’s the Next Step

Daniel Strauss:

The revolution is back in business.

Supporters of Bernie Sanders’ failed presidential bid are seizing on Democratic disarray at the national level to launch a wave of challenges to Democratic Party leaders in the states.

The goal is to replace party officials in states where Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton during the acrimonious Democratic primary with more progressive leadership. But the challenges also represent a reckoning for state party leaders who, in many cases, tacitly supported Clinton’s bid.

“I think the Bernie people feel very strongly that they were abused, somehow neglected during the primary process and the conventions,” said Severin Beliveau, a former Maine Democratic Party chairman who supported Sanders in the primary. “In Maine, for instance, where Bernie got 70 percent of the caucus vote, they are emboldened and in effect want to try to replace [Maine Democratic Party chairman] Phil Bartlett, who supported Clinton.”

It only took one day after the presidential election for Maine state Rep. Diane Russell, an outspoken Sanders supporter who helped spearhead a push to change how the state allocates its superdelegates, to announce her plans to challenge Bartlett. Russell, whose superdelegate reform effort was sparked by frustration over the fact that a majority of Maine’s superdelegates backed Clinton despite Sanders’ dominance in the state’s caucuses, is positioning herself as a liberal alternative to Bartlett.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.