Open Letter to Bernie Sanders and Progressives: Action Plan to Reform Government

I’m going to be blunt: Democratic Party performance for labor and the middle class has been deplorable. It’s time to own that. It is time to act on that for real progressive change!

We Are Not Asking
Dec 6, 2016 · 11 min read

There is no way I can shake what I saw this year. None. I now understand what it’s going to take to bring the left back into action and do what the left is here to do; namely work to promote just economic policy for labor and the middle class.

Corruption is legal in the United States today. Money governs policy to the point where legislation passed does not correlate to public support or lack of support at all!

Corruption Is Legal In the USA

What we think about all of this literally almost never matters at all! This is not a functioning democracy. Without meaningful action from the people, for the people, about the people, together, we will continue our rapid move toward complete oligarchy.

Worse, passed legislation correlates very well to money and the result of this is a political environment where the one percent control government, leaving the people who need government left out of the process with predictable results: Essentially flat wages, too few family wage jobs, poor social mobility, personal cost and risk exposure too high and all that has combined to shrink the middle class and organized labor dramatically!

It’s time for something new. It’s time we pool our money, unify as people and take ownership of our government and the Democratic party back. It’s time for our money to compete with the big money and it’s time we secure real power and leverage for progressives and the left in general too.

We saw corruption in action this year. But we also saw something amazing too! Ordinary people got behind Bernie Sanders, volunteering, donating, and the product of that was nearly a quarter billion dollars raised on individual donations average $27, and a near win to the tune of 22 States and 45 percent of the Democratic Party Delegates!

All this against a mature, well funded, well oiled political machine everyone expected to win this election easily. All this starting from basically zero, rallies in Vermont back yards featuring balloons, gaffers tape, easy ups and one of those little PA sets street performers often use. All of this on an unabashedly socialist, “New Deal” type Democratic platform packed with good ideas rooted in basic human need!

A Few Things Stick In My Mind From This Election Season

There really is no excuse to continue on with the current Democratic Party establishment leadership, given the seriously poor overall party performance we have seen to date. Again, it’s just not working for enough people, despite being well intended. Just not effective enough. Incremental change, moves to the right, endless compromises are leaving ever larger numbers of Americans out of prosperity shared by ever smaller numbers of Americans.

The time to be talking about this stuff is right now.

Very large numbers of people do not even recognize the party as having any value for them! These people trend young, and they are not getting what they need out of government, cannot find family wage jobs, are trapped in a gig economy, unable to buy cars, homes, start families. Those that went to school are burdened with debt on par with a mortgage, as if there is any wonder why home buying is off the table. I could go on here, but it’s safe to say the current economic policy isn’t working for a majority of Americans and it’s on all of us to change that.

Take a look at party affiliation as of some recent data from


2016 Oct 5–9 — 27, 36, 32

2016 Sep 14–18 — 27, 40, 32

2016 Sep 7–11 — 29, 38, 31

2016 Aug 3–7 — 27, 38, 31

2016 July 13–17 — 28, 42, 28

Now, think about who is behind Bernie and his ideas presented to us this year generally. Yes, this is coarse data, but worth a deeper discussion.

Among Dems, he won 22 States and got 45 percent of the delegates! Given what we’ve seen, that’s half the Democratic party, flat out.

Among independents who could vote, he had 80 percent, so let’s just call that 60 percent of Independents overall.

There were some Republicans too, 10 percent tops.

Do the math

DEM (28 * 50%) = 14, IND(42 * 60%)=25.2, REP(28 * 10%)=2.8

total = 42%

And that support trends YOUNG. Bernie lit up the future of the nation, filled stadiums and is currently doing it again on his book tour. Anyone seriously questioning who the rightful and best overall leader of the Democratic Party just shouldn’t.

The future of the Democratic Party isn’t with it’s current leadership and the problem lies with the money needed to win elections and stay in office and how that impacts policy decisions.

Because of corruption, nobody is going to do this for us! The good news is we have the numbers and the money to do it ourselves!

Revolution will cost us $27 per month

The Struggle Continues

Have you guys really looked at Bernie’s subtle messaging? Bernie never, ever, puts a fail mode out there. There is always a primary thrust, but no matter what, there is always a build or contingency for the future too.


Simple! As long as America is in pain, as long as the middle class continues to shrink, as long as wages are flat, and as long as over half of us live in poverty despite living in the wealthiest nation in the world, there are simply no excuses!

Bernie ran a campaign for POTUS in order to kick off a movement. Now it’s time to reform the Democratic party and build that movement machine up to win elections needed to not only blunt the worst of what President Trump may do, but prepare the party, and independents, who support the great ideas the left has, to come back and win the Presidency in 4 years and take democracy back for the people.

Nobody will do this for us. We simply cannot expect seriously great change while depending on the same corrupt money, the same leadership and the same ideas that got us here! Think again. It’s not gonna happen.

We must become government with the goal of securing real power and leverage to put behind our ideas improve Congress and hold President Trump accountable for that brighter future he was elected on.

A Plan for Action

A while back, Bernie announced the formation of new Organizations. What follows is an expansion on that idea to maximize grassroots organization power and small donations to actualize change.

Central Funding Organization

The primary purpose of this organization is to present one primary face to the movement for the purpose of collecting recurring donations needed to grow our movement, fund great candidates and win elections! This organization will publish funding goals, metrics, allocate funds to the other organizations and candidates as needed, and be a central place to see results and help winners take it to the people who elected them and secure longer term, sustainable funding of their own.

This is our money, and it’s purpose is to enable us to compete with “the money”, currently working against us, leaving ordinary people out in the cold, shut out of the process with perfectly understandable and unacceptable results!

Until such time as we have undone the damage caused by Citizens United, it is necessary for we the people to pool our money, time, energy and votes to insure our government actually does work for us, not over exploit us, or ignore us.

We raised nearly a quarter billion dollars for Bernie. Runs for Congress range from $100K to some millions of dollars, depending on where and who the challengers are. Do the math, and it’s obvious we can run a few hundred people and given the broad support we have, win a lot of those races. We have more time, if we get this kicked off right now.

That is what this organization will help us do, and it needs to be the right kind of legal entity to make these things happen.

Strategic / Knowledge Organization

First and foremost, this organization collects all data we have from this election season, from the primaries, various Berniecrat campaigns and any interested others, such as delegates, phone bankers, volunteers and advocates willing to share what they know.

It will take this information, perform analysis and formulate election strategies today, well in advance of any future elections and distribute that knowledge among movement candidates. Little things like:

  • Deadlines in various states and elections
  • Early voting, absentee / mail in
  • Problem areas, short on machine, known troubles
  • Prep legal arguments, pleadings, have it all ready to go in advance
  • Recount rules, challenges, deadlines, costs

Think, fewer rookie mistakes + smart strategies known in advance of elections + accurate, reliable data = more wins!

This organization should also be responsible for creating necessary infrastructure, such as phone banking tools, voter list management, competitive analysis on likely targets, and anything else deemed necessary to empower our movement nationally as well as locally.

  • Voter List Software
  • Campaign / activism tools
  • Competitive Arguments by region, issue
  • Tools for smaller / regional / county groups to use
  • Specifics on targeted races!
  • Demographics, and a ton more I can’t list right now

As elections and campaigns run, that data is added to the repository such that future elections always run with the best data and strategy available all the way down to local dog catcher type campaigns.

Most importantly, there is no way we will just blow our money on consultants, ADS, and the like. That stuff will be needed, but this investment is about not only reforming the Democratic Party, but literally prying it out from under big money, proprietary software, and handing it to the people, for the people, run by the people for the longer term!

Here is the beauty of it: Should we do this, and do it right, we will also build up a huge amount of issue / activism type power and leverage! All of the great advocacy we know how to do will get multiplied by having people in Congress working for us.

Think: Not buying a campaign that wins or loses. We are funding the politics we want, the better future we want, and the means to get there, step by step. Our kids will benefit from these investments!

Media / Production Organization

This organization will produce great Bernie Style, positive, issue oriented, political ads, featuring compelling messaging and it’s charter will be to empower anyone willing to run on people money to do so with well produced, clear, compelling media production at their disposal.

Think: Campaign in a box!

Positive Politics is distinctive and having an organization capable of consistent and compelling production will serve to unify our movement and make our campaigns, ideas, people well differentiated and successful.

This frees our people to get out there to work the crowds, shake hands, visit homes, hold town halls, and any other thing they believe will help build support for and advance our ideas.

Campaigns can also submit local issues for production, and or get their own staff trained up to do it better, faster, more live, more local, more relevant! This allows for their region / district as well as their need to position themselves personally as needed.

This org will work closely with the strategic organization to insure messaging is on target and available as soon as any campaign requires it.

Our ideas are clear, well understood, and a lot can be produced and ready to roll into the action when it’s election time. However, some of it may be used to build name recognition well in advance of any election, targeting bad votes, or statements made by the targets to be replaced too.

Advance activities such as strategic media buys and allocations, production of collateral, banners and many other things the movement campaigns will need can be allocated, reserved, or bulk purchased to maximize impact, and or leave options open where needed.

New Leadership Is Needed, This Is How We Get It!

We must become government. New blood is needed. That means some of us, and perhaps some people out there who really can step away from “the big money” and join us. Some will do that, and the better our plan is, the more effective they believe it will be, the more likely we are to capture them.

If we do not do this, I expect we will end up with the same career politicians, all shuffling problems around, all still plugged into their lobbyists, “the money” and the most we are likely to get is lip service to ideas long past due for legislation.

After what I saw this year, no way. We can, need, should, want to do better!

Our money can insure our people we elect are empowered to work for us, and are free from working call center duty too.

Right now, Democrats spend nearly HALF their time in a grubby little room, with a handler who basically forces them to make phone calls to wealthy people, dialing for dollars. That handler has a spreadsheet showing how much they have to raise for the party machine, how much they need to get reelected, and how much might be needed otherwise.

That machine is running right now, polluting the next elections and new members of Congress as we speak. The new people are already getting dragged in there, indoctrinated. We will lose them as they succumb to the non stop promises and non stop chatter from upper class people.

We can end that cycle. I believe we must.

Instead of time in the call center, our people can be holding town halls, engaging with local voters, business and other leaders to better understand how we can improve life for everyone, not just the one percent. We can offer Americans a better choice. Our people will be able to do the work needed in their hometowns and districts to be the best representatives they can be.

Winners of their elections will continue to see funding from the primary organizations, but will be required to build their own local, sustainable funding so that we may continue building our presence in government, free from big money and all the obligations that come with it. The organizations help with that too. Insure success.

This breaks the cycle and insures our people can remain true to the people.

This is government of the people, for the people, by the people as is necessary in these difficult money in politics times.

It goes without saying our goal is to be rid of money in politics, but until such time as we secure the power and leverage needed to accomplish that, we must fund the kind of politics needed to improve the lives of everyday working Americans.

It is time to fight! The left needs to talk about money. We can put our ideas in business terms as well as people terms. We can speak to everyone and build on our already massive support. Support that is just itching for something to latch on to.

“Where do I put that $27?”

It is time to begin this work and form these organizations.

Many of us stand ready and willing to begin our recurring $27 per month donations as well as encourage others to do the same.

Despite all the election problems we are aware of today, many elections are reasonable and winnable. Election reform is a high priority, and many of us will say it’s a top priority. Winning the elections we can win will put us into a position of strength and independence the left has not enjoyed for a very long time.

It is time to take government back for the people. Reform is long overdue and new leadership is needed. This vision does not require anything other than our time, money and votes to succeed.

This open letter is the product of many discussions found at Way Of The Bern, a subreddit community of people looking to advance the great ideas, and campaign Bernie Sanders ran, continue on the Revolution to take government back for the people!

 by the author.

We Are Not Asking

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