By Ilya Sheyman, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Political Action
With a record-setting 78.6 percent of 340,665 votes cast by the MoveOn membership, Senator Bernie Sanders has won MoveOn.org Political Action’s endorsement for president with the largest total and widest margin in MoveOn history.
MoveOn.org only endorses candidates based on votes by our members. Our only previous presidential endorsement during a Democratic primary was for Barack Obama, in early 2008. In 2004, no Democratic candidate reached the threshold for an endorsement.
Here are 5 of the top reasons MoveOn members support Bernie and will mobilize to get out the vote on his behalf in Iowa, New Hampshire, and other crucial early states.
Bernie’s lifelong commitment to standing up to corporate and 1% interests to fight for an economy where everyone has a fair shot.
“His refusal to accept the status quo of the wealthiest Americans using their power to influence politicians matters to me. If we’re going to push back against the rising oligarchy in our country, we need people like Bernie Sanders representing us in government.”
– MoveOn member Matt R., Reston, VA
At the core of Bernie’s campaign is a commitment to fixing an economic system that has been rigged in favor of giant corporations and the wealthiest few and that is making economic inequality worse.
Bernie’s campaign is funded by more than a million ordinary Americans chipping in whatever they can afford — not by billionaires or corporate SuperPACs. In our endorsement vote exit poll, one of the words MoveOn members most frequently used to describe him was “integrity.” He isn’t beholden to lobbyists and corporate interests, and it shows in the positions he’s taken, from fighting to break up too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks, to tuition-free public higher education, to expanding Social Security, to fighting for bold solutions on climate change and a $15-hour minimum wage.
In short, MoveOn members support Bernie Sanders because they believe they can trust him to stand up to powerful interests and fight for what’s right.
2. He’s standing up for justice for communities facing oppression.
“In a nutshell, he exemplifies the ‘We the People’ style of democracy I believe in. He has stood by and with the people, supporting women, people of color, LGBTQ, seniors, and the poor against those who look to subjugate these historically oppressed groups for profit.”
– MoveOn member Natalie R., Claremont, CA
Bernie is fighting for racial justice by calling to demilitarize police, invest in community policing, end the drug war and tackle the epidemic of mass incarceration, and restore voting rights gutted by federal courts. On immigration, Sanders proposes allowing undocumented immigrants to purchase health care through the Affordable Care Act, dismantling inhumane deportation programs and private detention centers, and a path to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. He’s fighting for equal pay for women and to expand and protect reproductive rights, and has pledged to only nominate Supreme Court justices who support Roe v. Wade.
3. He’ll say no to permanent war.
“He represents integrity. He was also right about Iraq and I prefer his stance on foreign policy. I feel that he is concerned with getting our country on track and not getting us in more wars.”
– MoveOn member Janekee C., Davenport, FL
Bernie Sanders has been a strong, consistent voice for the principle that war should always be a last resort. He had the foresight to vote against authorizing the war in Iraq in 2002, was a strong supporter of the nuclear deal to prevent war with Iran, and has been a voice of reason against escalation in Syria and other conflicts around the world.
A diplomacy-first foreign policy has long been one of MoveOn members’ top priorities, and Bernie has consistently stood with us against costly, needless, and unwise military escalation that puts our nation’s security and values at risk.
4. Electability: This election will hinge on turnout, and Bernie is inspiring and mobilizing the communities it’ll take to win.
“I have never been as excited about a candidate as I am about Bernie Sanders. His liberal values match my own values more closely than any other candidate. I respect Bernie Sander’s independence from corporate influence. His focus on social justice and addressing the economic inequality in this country make him the candidate for me.”
– MoveOn member Megan W., Poulsbo, WA
Bernie’s campaign is inspiring millions of people to enter the political process for the first time, including young people and other members of the “rising American electorate” who the eventual Democratic nominee will need to mobilize in order to win in November. He’s raised money from more contributors than any candidate in history at this stage in the primary process, and massive crowds have turned out to see him across the country. Part of why MoveOn members are supporting Bernie is that his agenda excites and inspires them, and they see it doing the same for others.
Experts agree that the general election will hinge on voter turnout. If the Obama coalition can be inspired to vote, Democrats will retain the White House. But if the electorate looks like it did in 2014, when Republicans gained ground across the country and seized control of the Senate, Democrats will be in trouble.
Not only do some new polls this week show Bernie leading the Democratic field in Iowa and New Hampshire, they also show him to be the Democratic candidate who performs best against various hypothetical Republican nominees.
MoveOn members support Bernie because they know his message has broad support and that he is well positioned to win the White House in a general election.
5. Putting members in the driver’s seat is what MoveOn does, and a whopping 79 percent voted to endorse Bernie.
“I voted for MoveOn.org to endorse Bernie Sanders for president because he represents the progressive movement like this organization. His views align perfectly with my own — wealth inequality, a living wage, job creation, Wall Street reform, racial justice, women’s and LBGT rights, college without debt, climate change, and peaceful solutions to prevent war, such as his support for the Iran deal.”
– MoveOn member Terri D., Brookfield, WI
Finally, MoveOn is endorsing Bernie for president because MoveOn is our members. MoveOn only endorses candidates for office after formal membership votes, and in this case, the outcome of our internal democratic process was overwhelming: the vast majority of voting MoveOn members want the organization to support Bernie, so that’s what we’re going to do. We’ve pledged to run a 100% positive campaign. And then regardless of who wins the nomination, MoveOn will support the eventual Democratic nominee in the general election to keep a Republican out of the White House, because the vast majority of members have made clear that it’s what they want MoveOn to do.
More than 340,000 MoveOn members participated in our endorsement process. Sanders won with 267,750 votes, or 78.6 percent. “Fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton garnered 49,811 votes (14.6 percent). Martin O’Malley earned 2,949 votes (0.9 percent). There were also 20,155 MoveOn members, or 5.9 percent, who voted against MoveOn making an endorsement now.
Bernie’s vote total and percentage are MoveOn records — the best any presidential candidate has performed in our 17-year history.