I want to ask you about the importance of left candidates winning local election. You started, obviously, as mayor of Burlington. One thing I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about is how thin the Left’s bench is in terms of elected officials with your national profile.
Well, it is exactly one of the areas we are putting a lot of emphasis on. It is not just electing candidates to be a senator or to the US House of Representatives. It is electing candidates to the school board, to the city council, to state legislature. Our Revolution, which is an organization that came out of my campaign, is focusing a whole lot just on that issue. We need to get young people, working people, involved, and often the way you do that is by running for local office. So to me that is enormously important
Your campaign has changed what millions of American voters expect from any politician that claims to be a progressive, but leading Democrats seem to be of two minds — I’ll put it generously — on this question. On the one hand, there’s support for single-payer health care, which was once relegated to the left fringe; now it’s a litmus test of sorts for anyone claiming to even be a mainstream liberal. But as we saw in the fight to lead the DNC, there’s still incredible resistance to change in the party. How do you see the state of the fight?
We are taking on the entire establishment. We are taking on moneyed interests, we’re taking on Wall Street. We’re taking on the Democratic establishment as well. But what I would simply say is, I think that in a couple of years we have come a very long way. For example, there are a number of progressive chairs of state Democratic parties right now. You’re right, we lost the fight for chair of the DNC; I was supporting Keith Ellison. But we came pretty close and we shocked a lot of people.
So look, you don’t change the world overnight. But I think it is very clear that ideologically and from a grassroots perspective, the momentum is with us.
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