A growing slate of Democratic operatives and young progressive organizers who made their bones on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential primary campaign are lining up in 2018 behind another political insurgent, Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.
Michigan was the site of what many in Berniecrat circles still consider their most emboldening 2016 victory. After trailing by double digits in most polls in the days and weeks leading up to the vote, Sanders narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton — a result that seemed to surprise him as much as anyone else — and reignited his flagging campaign.
The candidate profiles have changed, but a similar upset for El-Sayed — front-runner Gretchen Whitmer, a former state Senate minority leader, won a quick round of labor endorsements (though the United Auto Workers have remained notably uncommitted) and led heavily in early polling — would confirm to the Democratic left that its populist playbook for the upper Midwest, and possibly beyond, is a sustainable one.
Now, key members of the group that helped deliver Michigan to Sanders are returning, or hunkering down, to boost El-Sayed, the 33-year-old former Detroit Health Department leader described by activist and supporter Linda Sarsour as “our younger version of Bernie.”
Winnie Wong, co-founder of The People for Bernie Sanders — which has endorsed El-Sayed, as have a number of local Our Revolution chapters — and an outspoken progressive rabble-rouser, has been hired as a paid consultant to the campaign. She was introduced to El-Sayed, alongside Our Revolution President Nina Turner, by Sarsour in Detroit at the Women’s Convention.
“This is really a moment when we can test our ability to actually organize and put together the ‘A-team’ to get behind Abdul,” Wong said.
More information @ Abdul El-Sayed’s official campaign website.
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