If Bernie runs: DSA’s endorsement debate process

Recently, the news broke that Bernie Sanders is preparing to announce that he is running for president.

In light of this development, DSA members have to figure out how we will approach his campaign. As a first step, this past weekend the National Political Committee (NPC), elected by delegates to our 2017 national convention, adopted by a 10 to 3 vote the process recommended by the DSA Exploratory Committee for the 2020 Presidential Election to consider an endorsement of Bernie Sanders should he decide to run.

The process our National Political Committee adopted is clear and should allow for the maximum amount of member participation and discussion while moving us towards a swift decision one way or the other. The process is as follows:

  • Step 1: Members in every chapter considering participating in a DSA campaign for Sanders should begin in-person discussions about the campaign as soon as possible. Where possible, chapters should debate resolutions that spark discussions about Bernie and the pros and cons of supporting him.
  • Step 2: When Bernie Sanders announces his presidential run, the NPC will email the membership informing them of the launch of the endorsement process.
  • Step 3: The NPC will schedule an emergency NPC meeting to take place within 30 days of the announcement, but after the completion of an advisory poll, to debate a motion to endorse Bernie Sanders.
  • Step 4: Within two weeks of Bernie’s announcement, the NPC will send an online advisory poll to all members asking them if they support DSA endorsing Sanders for president.
  • Step 5: After the advisory poll is sent out, members will have one week to complete the poll.
  • Step 6: With the poll results, the NPC will debate a motion to endorse a DSA Sanders campaign at the emergency meeting.

The Exploratory Committee document adopted by the NPC argues that DSA has an opportunity to play an important role in supporting Sanders’s campaign — both by helping Sanders win the Democratic Party primary and go on to defeat Trump in the general election and by growing DSA as a serious, independent, socialist pole in the broader Sanders movement. And it argues that in order to play this role, DSA must get involved in Sanders work as early as possible.

Finally, the Exploratory Committee recommended and the NPC agreed that DSA only consider endorsing Bernie Sanders for president. Both bodies felt that Bernie is the only viable candidate who would give DSA the opportunity to talk to millions of people about our politics and deepen the struggle against CEOs, billionaires, and giant corporations. Sanders is also the only candidate who DSA chapters — including Hudson Valley, NY, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Louisville, Seattle, East Bay, and YDSA — have called on the NPC to consider endorsing.

From the teachers’ victory in Los Angeles and the ongoing teachers strike wave to the rising pro-socialist outlook of millions of Americans, 2019 promises to be another banner year for democratic socialism. We have so much to look forward to together. But for now, if Bernie announces, all DSA members should be on the lookout in the next few weeks for an email from us with an invitation to participate in our endorsement process!