Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called on Maine Democrats to help “transform” the party through political activism at all levels of government Monday during the first stop of a national tour aimed at unifying a fractured base.
“Our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party . . . into a 50-state party and a party that does not continue to ignore half of the states in our country,” Sanders, whose populist rise caused major heartburn within the Democratic National Committee last year, told the fired-up Portland crowd at the State Theatre. “Our job is to create a democratic party, a grassroots party where decisions are made up from the bottom on up, not from the top on down.”
Sanders – who many in the crowd believe should and perhaps could have been president – took the stage immediately after the man tasked with convincing voters from Maine to Alaska that the Democratic Party still stands for them.
Tom Perez, the newly elected chairman of the DNC, acknowledged that the party will “have to earn your trust” but pledged to lead a new, more inclusive party focused on rebuilding.
“The mission of the new DNC is not simply to elect the president of the United States,” Perez said. “It is to elect Democrats from the school board to the Senate.”
More than 1,500 people gathered at the Portland theater for the event, dubbed the “Come Together and Fight Back” rally.
More in the comments!