Bernie Sanders unveils strategy to back his progressive ‘revolution’

Hillary Clinton’s one-time rival in the White House race, Bernie Sanders, is launching a national movement to help propel progressive candidates into power in the US general election.

The self-styled democratic socialist senator, who won the support of 12m voters in nominating contests before being defeated by Ms Clinton, is calling his movement Our Revolution and is unveiling his strategy in Washington today.

The movement is already supporting at least 100 progressive candidates in down- ballot races across the country, each of whom has been chosen by Mr Sanders because he believes they will work for a more equitable America.

“During our campaign we assembled a movement of millions of people ready to fight for the country we know we can become,” Mr Sanders said in a recent email to supporters.

“Now it’s time for all of us to get to work. At this meeting [in Washington], I and others will lay out some of the next steps we can take as a movement to empower a wave of progressive candidates this November and win the major upcoming fights for the values we share.”

Meanwhile, he is preparing to go on the road with Ms Clinton to campaign for her, especially in the states he won in the primaries — New Hampshire, Maine, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

“I feel very strongly that Donald Trump would be a disaster for the country,” he said. “I want to do everything I can to see that Secretary Clinton wins.”

Mr Sanders began fundraising for Our Revolution earlier this month with the goal of “transforming American society”.

He says he wants to “revitalise American democracy by bringing millions of working people and young people into the political system” and support “progressive candidates across the entire spectrum of government — from school board to US Senate”.

Mr Sanders is essentially fulfilling a promise he made to continue his “revolution” even after bowing out of the race and backing Clinton.

He began by winning support at the Democratic convention for a number of his issues, including the aim of state college-free tuition, expanded healthcare and a minimum wage of $15 (€13) an hour.

Today, he is taking the next step by recruiting more like-minded election candidates for his cause.

After Mr Sanders endorsed Ms Clinton, many of his supporters who vehemently opposed her vented their disappointment.

However, a Pew Research Center poll later showed that 85% of Democrats who voted for Mr Sanders in the primaries said they will vote for Ms Clinton.

Strong pockets of resistance to Ms Clinton remain, however, and some of his supporters have said they may vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein or Libertarian Gary Johnson.

Indeed, Mr Sanders himself may also expand his reach beyond the Democratic party, telling progressive groups: “If you have some strong independents who would like to run, it would be my inclination to support them.”

The Sanders Institute, which he set up to back his movement, will highlight issues he says the “corporate media” fails to focus on, including the disappearing middle class, income inequality, rising levels of poverty, and problems affecting seniors and children.

However, not everyone is on board with the Sanders “revolution”. Some supporters were angry recently when it emerged he had spent $600,000 buying a holiday home in his native Vermont.

He already owns one home in the state plus a property in Washington.

Some branded the move hypocrisy for a democratic socialist who rails against income inequality in America.

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