About Berniecrats of California
Berniecrats of California
Berniecrats of California was born out of the grassroots efforts to win the California ADEM elections in January of 2017.
After the 2016 Presidential Elections a large group of Bernie Sanders delegates and supporters continued to organize across the state with the objective of continuing the "Revolution". Knowing that the California Democratic Party elections were coming in mid 2018 a few of the leaders of the progressive movement started to organize with the purpose of winning control of the party. One of the initial steps was to dominate the January elections. Many groups and individuals participated.
Among them was Alexis Edelstein, himself a Bernie Sanders delegate and media surrogate. Alexis realized early on that getting the vote out was going to be a huge challenge given that the majority of people were not aware of the elections. Having volunteered with the Bernie Campaign, Alexis knew about GOTV tools including Hustle (a texting app). In order to utilize Hustle and purchase databases Alexis needed to build out an organization and thus Berniecrats of California was born.
Berniecrats of California organized over 40 of the Assembly Districts and combined to send out over 100,000 texts in the week leading up to the election. On average progressives won one additional seat in the districts with texting! Berniecrats of California was also one of the first organizations to partner with Our Revolution who sent out thousands of emails in the days leading up to the election.
Now the Berniecrats of California are a 501(c)(3), non profit organization. Our goals are to advance the Progressive movement in California by assisting, educating and supporting organizers and delegates.
Our board consists of Bernie Delegates, PDA members, DNC members, Social Media gurus and Progressive leaders.
We're happy to announce that we've partnered with OpenProgress to offer up an exciting new volunteer management software focused on Progressives in June!
The OpenProgress Volunteer program will offer activist, organizers, organizations and campaigns the ability to easily manage their volunteers. For volunteers this will serve as a one stop shop where they can volunteer for multiple groups and manage their calendar as well as communicate with the organizers.
This one stop shop will eliminate the need for multiple communication tools like Google docs, Google Forms, email, Facebook Groups, Excel and everything else.
This will also allow for multiple organizations to tap into additional volunteer resources and will allow them to easily scale up.
The initial version will be available in June with enhancements planned throughout the rest of the year. In 2018 additional tools will be integrated including 3rd party tools, gamification and Facebook tools.
The launch will be June 15 and there will be no cost to use the tool, in 2018 a small monthly fee depending on results will follow. Berniecrats of California will be setting up training's and helping share this software within the Progressive movement.
As a 501c3 we work off of contributions. Please consider donating to the cause. DONATE HERE
‘Berniecrats’ roil state Democratic Party leadership fight
For California’s “Berniecrats,” the fire’s not out yet.
Nearly a year after propelling Sen. Bernie Sanders to a close second finish against Hillary Clinton in California’s presidential primary, some of his most ardent supporters are still organizing – this time within the state Democratic Party itself.
At stake is the party chairmanship held by the departing John Burton, a liberal icon, a longtime lawmaker and former Senate leader who became chair in 2009.
They surprised insiders by dominating the obscure process — electing a third of the delegates for the state convention, scheduled for May 19-21 in Sacramento.
Vying to replace Burton are L.A. County Democratic Party leader Eric Bauman, currently the state party’s vice chair and a major power in California labor politics. Facing him is activist Kimberly Ellis, the director of Emerge California, which seeks to have more women and people of color elected to public office.
Rather than fading into the sunset with their defeated standard-bearer, Sanders’ activists emerged from November both irked and emboldened.
They have joined forces with other some other progressives to support Ellis and take over the party’s leadership, promote a more left-leaning policy agenda and diminish the clout of corporations and business-friendly moderates.
“We’re hoping to get Kimberly Ellis elected, that’s probably the primary goal, but the other is to get Bernie people involved in local government,” said Alexis Edelstein, founder and CEO of the 300-member Berniecrats of California.
They surprised insiders by dominating the obscure process — electing a third of the delegates for the state convention, scheduled for May 19-21 in Sacramento. They believe they have turned the once-sleepy race for a new party chair into a serious contest with Bauman, long viewed as the front-runner.
“We see our biggest opportunity as the party,” Edelstein said. “We want to make a concerted effort. If we can change California, we can change the rest of the country.”
“They do understand that while this may be mind-numbing and uninteresting to most people, this is the thing you need to do to effect change.” — Fred Keeley
It’s not unusual for dedicated supporters to emerge from a defeat determined to fight on. What is unusual is for that sentiment to last much past Election Day.
“By about Wednesday or Thursday, that stuff usually disappears,” said former Assemblymember Fred Keeley, who represented Santa Cruz County – a hotbed of Sanders’ support. “That’s the interesting piece of this. We’ve had weeks of activity, and they’re the beating heart of all of it.”
Keeley said the continued organizing and activism by Sanders backers is rooted in their long-term agenda.
“The organization has continued on because it wasn’t a personality cult or anything close to it,” he said. “These folks by and large are relatively sophisticated players. They do understand that while this may be mind-numbing and uninteresting to most people, this is the thing you need to do to effect change.”
Once the dust settled from November, California’s Berniecrats focused on the weekend party meetings held in January to elect state party delegates from each Assembly district. They partnered with other progressives to build slates of candidates and then used Hustle – a texting application used extensively in the Sanders campaign – to turn supporters out.
“I’ve been a single-payer healthcare advocate for 30 years. When they engage with me, when they talk with me, the conversation changes.” — Eric Bauman
The effort brought surprising crowds to the usually sparsely attended meetings at union halls and recreation centers scattered across the state.
“In some places, the voter turnout quadrupled,” Edelstein said. “We managed to get about 60 percent of the seats. It was a huge win.”
Both Ellis and Bauman were Clinton supporters. But some Berniecrats came out against Bauman after a consulting firm in which he is a partner received $78,000 from the pharmaceutical industry-sponsored committee opposed to Proposition 61, which Sanders supported, as did the California Nurses Association.
Bauman said others in his firm did the work opposing the measure, which ended long before Proposition 61 was defeated. While campaigning for state chair, Bauman, a nurse, said he’s had to explain to Sanders supporters his own record supporting universal health care.
“I’ve been a single-payer healthcare advocate for 30 years,” Bauman said. “When they engage with me, when they talk with me, the conversation changes.”
Berniecrats also see their mission within the party is to drive riving out the influence of corporations.
“We have to get away from the corporate money. The corporate money is the one percent,” said Norma Alcala, a Sanders delegate to last year’s national convention who’s now running for vice chair of the state party. “We want to get back to what the party stood for.”
“These events generally occur after we have a big loss. It’s part of the natural ebb and flow of political parties – just as the Tea Party was a reaction to Obama.” — David Townsend
Alcala said she’s tired of seeing candidates elected as Democrats in the Assembly and state Senate vote against progressive legislation.
“You may have a Democrat who’s not a true Democrat. Someone has to have a backbone,” she said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to reactivate the party, re-energize it and redefine it for the 21st Century.”
For all their high-minded principles and progressive policy goals, many Berniecrats also express lingering resentment over how they – and their candidate – were treated during last year’s campaign.
“I have a real problem with annointings,” Acala said. “The party never gave Bernie a chance. It was an uphill battle.”
Keeley said addressing those concerns should be a priority for Democrats if they want to build a winning coalition four years from now.
“I don’t have some horrible feeling about the party, but I do think it is essential –not important — I think it is absolutely essential if we are going to do something in 2020 that we recognize the most egregious sin on the part of Democrats in 2016 was the party apparatus putting its thumb on the scale in the primary,” he said.
David Townsend, though a longtime consultant to moderate Democrats in the Legislature, sees no cause for concern the spike in progressive activism among Sanders supporters.
And despite the success Berniecrats enjoyed in January, it’s not clear how much sway they will hold over the other two-thirds of state convention delegates.
“These events generally occur after we have a big loss,” Townsend said. “It’s part of the natural ebb and flow of political parties – just as the Tea Party was a reaction to Obama. It’s a natural part of what happens in a political party when you lose.”
Townsend said it’s healthy for the party to debate big ideas and to generate renewed enthusiasm among activists. But he doesn’t see the Berniecrats having much success at the ballot box in California, where the top two primary finishers move on to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.
“What are they going to do? They’re not going to win legislative seats,” Townsend said. “With a top-two runoff, the far left won’t win any more than the far right.”
Nor does Townsend put much stock in the Berniecrats’ drive to reject corporate support.
“If you want to choose as a candidate to take no corporate money, then you’ll be a very short-term candidate,” he said.
And despite the success Berniecrats enjoyed in January, it’s not clear how much sway they will hold over the other two-thirds of state convention delegates, which will be made up of county central committee members and delegates appointed by state office holders.
“This is all part of the churn of ideas,” Townsend said. “We have to go through the process of self-immolation before we get back to reality.”
The 2017 California Democratic Party Convention is taking place May 19-21 in Sacramento.
Over 3,000 delegates are headed there to vote on new party leadership. We won 60% of the delegate election in January now we need your help to get these delegates to Sacramento!
Each delegate has to cover their own cost to get to Sacramento and between the transportation, lodging, fees and food the cost adds up!
While some delegates have set up a gofundme page or something similar, many delegates do not have the social media bandwidth or network to amass any significant funds. The Berniecrats of California would work as a centralized depository in which all funds donated to this event will go to the participating delegates. (*minus any marketing costs including social media ad buys and any printed collateral)
The Berniecrats of California are a 501(c)(3), non profit. All contributions to the Berniecrats of California are tax deductible and there is no limit on how much an individual or organization can donate.
We invite all Progressive Delegates who are interested to agree to become a designated participant to the Berniecrats of California in order to participate. (Applications will be available by May 1st via crowdpac update and social media)
April 27, 2017
Berniecrats of California has become an official Our Revolution Partner!
This will allow us to work in unison on multiple projects as the Revolution continues!
The State Senate votes on SB 54 on Monday! But the following Senators are yet to commit to voting YES.
Please call them and ask them to vote YES!
Sample script: "Hi my name is ____, and I live and vote in your district. I'm calling because I'm against the separation of families and the criminalization of my immigrant neighbors. This is an important issue to me and I want the Senator to vote YES on SB 54 this Monday."
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