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Bernie’s ‘Revolution’ Marches to Philly

With the 2016 Democratic National Convention set to star, Bernie Sanders’ supporters have scheduled “revolution” marches in Philadelphia.

The Hill reports:

Having created a movement campaign that galvanized millions of people, Sanders now finds himself in the unfamiliar role of party power broker as Democrats gather to nominate Hillary Clinton for president.

He’ll get the convention megaphone on Monday when he takes the stage for a prime-time address. Clinton’s campaign is hoping he’ll preach the theme of the four-day event: unity.

The Vermont senator, who endorsed Clinton after weeks of delicate negotiations, is increasingly adopting a two-pronged message heading toward the party powwow, blasting out progressive policy ideas while turning his fire toward Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

“I have a message for Donald Trump: No, we’re not going to hate Latinos or Muslims. We are going to stand together,” Sanders said this week in a string of tweets. “We will defeat Donald Trump because we know that love trumps hatred.”

The Clinton camp has worked behind the scenes to build bridges with the party’s progressive wing, which flocked to Sanders in droves during the extended primary fight. The Democratic National Convention is billing Monday’s speeches as “united together.”

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, declined to comment on the focus of the independent’s speech because it was still being written.

But the convention theme of building a stronger middle class lines up with an important element of Sanders’s campaign: his call to fight the “billionaire class” and create a fairer economy.

Sanders and his staff are also expected to huddle with delegates ahead of his speech Monday, according to The Associated Press.

The Sanders campaign had planned to hold an up to 40,000-person rally in Philadelphia on Sunday, but its permit was denied. According to the Philadelphia mayor’s office, Ashburn Field, where the event would have been held, “has not been opened for expressive activity to the general public.”

The campaign is keeping a tight lid on the specifics of Monday’s events and won’t say how long the independent senator will stay at the Democratic convention. But Sanders is expected to use the meeting to talk about the next steps of the political movement that its adherents affectionately call “the revolution.”

Sanders is working to create “successor organizations” to his presidential campaign to influence down-ballot campaigns and shape the national agenda.

“Our goal will be to advance the progressive agenda that we believe in and to elect like-minded candidates at the federal, state and local levels who are committed to accomplishing our goals,” he wrote in a Medium post hinting at his plans.

The senator has publicly backed away from staging a fight over the Democratic platform heading into Philadelphia, in part because many of his priorities — including the $15 minimum wage — have been included.

But he hasn’t stopped calling for changes to the party’s primary process, which his campaign repeatedly criticized as giving Clinton an unfair advantage.

Sanders is pushing to open up the primaries to independent voters and reform the use of superdelegates, the party officials who can cast their vote for any candidate. Superdelegates overwhelmingly backed the former first lady’s bid before the primaries began and never wavered, even as Sanders racked up victories.

He’s pledging to take his fight to the convention floor if needed. Referring to superdelegates, he told USA Today, “That’s not Democratic and that’s wrong and that’s got to change.”

Whether Democrats will accede to his demands remains to be seen. Sanders is an outsider to the party, having never registered as a Democrat or participated in the party structure, so allies could be hard to come by.

It’s also unclear whether Sanders’s push for changes to the Democratic contests will be enough to assuage his progressive supporters, thousands of whom are expected to protest outside of the convention.

Wary of Clinton, they’re pushing for the resignation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.), the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, along with the elimination of all superdelegates and the repeal of voter ID laws.

Though Sanders has argued that there are too many superdelegates, 14 organizations sent a letter to the convention Rules Committee, the national party and convention delegates ahead of the looming fight calling for the system to be eliminated.

The letter, which was backed by Sanders superdelegate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), argued the current system undermines “the purported values of the party and its members, and reduces the party’s moral authority.”

A group of hundreds of Sanders delegates, acting independently of the campaign, have also sent warning shots to Clinton over her vice presidential pick, threatening that many could “nonviolently and emphatically” protest on the convention floor.

The Bernie Delegates Network — a group created by RootsAction.org and Progressive Democrats of America — blasted out the survey warning that Sanders supporters won’t accept a VP choice like Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) or Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro.

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, separately, is urging Democrats to push for stronger language opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in a post-election lame-duck Congress, even as the Sanders campaign has backed away from publicly demanding tougher language.

Despite the potential headaches, Clinton backers, eager to show a contrast to a visibly fractured GOP convention, are adamant that Sanders and his supporters will be with them.

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said Sanders will play a “critically important role,” including drumming up support among younger voters.

“We are united,” he added. “We are united behind our candidate, Hillary Clinton.”

Photo credit: Raw Story.

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