Bernie Sanders has just announced his pick of campaign Co-Chairs. An extremely important role, and usually offered just as Chair to a single individual, the Co-Chairs will help lead and shape Bernie's 2020 campaign from the top.
It's a powerhouse team -
California congressman Ro Khanna:
One of the most progressive members of the House (the lower chamber of America's Congress, roughly equivalent to an MP), Ro has been a consistent and headlining ally of Bernie for a while. Working together, they have lead several major movements on progressive issues, including getting the behmoth of Amazon to raise its wages to a $15 an hour living wage, and to end US support in the Saudi operated, Yemen civil war and genocide.
A Justice Democrat, Ro is a strong progressive leader, and has many accomplishments in his own right. An excellent choice for one of the top positions.
Former state senator Nina Turner:
Nina Turner has been one of the most prominent and vocal Sanders surrogates since nearly the start of his 2015/2016 run. A former state senator out of Ohio and accomplished left leader, Sen. Turner was president of the Sanders-founded grassroots organising group Our Revolution, that sprang up after Bernie's 2016 campaign to try and coordinate it. She's bold, intelligent, compassionate and on the right side of the issues.
Next Up -
Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and long time social activist as well as Bernie supporter.
Cohen's charity work includes the Ben & Jerry's Foundation, which receives 7.5% of the company's pre-tax profits. As well as overseeing the TrueMajority and Business Leaders For Sensible Priorities non profits.
He's been a vocal supporter of Democrats, including Dennis Kucinich back in 2004, Obama in '08, and Bernie in 2016. He even created a novelty special flavour of ice cream in honour of Bernie - an individual creation, not by the company itself - called "Bernie's Yearning", the majority of the tub is filled with mint ice cream, and there's a layer of chocolate all concentrated at the top.
You have to smash the chocolate up, stir it in, and distribute it about a lot more fairly 😉
Cohen also helped launch the Stamp the Stampede campaign in 2012, to stamp messages on US currency to promote a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, so reducing the influence of money in politics.
Finally, and perhaps my favourite pick -
Current Mayor of San Juan in Puerto Rico, Carmen Yulin Cruz
Carmen Yulin Cruz has been Mayor of San Juan since 2013, and among her portfolio of efforts and achievements in that roll is the very prominent stance she took against the flacid and outrageously lapse response from the Trump Administration to Hurricane Maria. As well as of course her overall efforts in aiding the town. Her awards and recognitions include the Martin Luther King Centre Justice, Peace and Freedom Award and Humanitarian Leadership Award in 2018, the Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award in 2018, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation Humanitarian Award 2017, and the Puerto Rico Arts Alliance Felisa Rincón Legacy Public Service Award.
She too is intelligent, proactive, and equipped with a fighting spirit. As well as being on the progressive side of the issues, and having a clear history of fighting for the disadvanteged.
This announcement actually really excites me. I've liked each of these leaders in their own right, and to see them come together in this way to help craft a national message is thrilling. Unlike say Hillary Clinton's dull picking of the milk toast, centre right Tim Kaine as her VP - a highly damaging choice that stimulated next to no one, yet isolated swathes of the country - these picks will help make sure Bernie's message is on point, and is filled with fire whenever it's delivered in their spheres of influences, or press appearances.
So it's a progressive powerhouse.
Another key and powerful feature of this announcement is how diverse the team list is.
There's a demonstrably false stereotype posited by the establishment ever since 2015 that Bernie Sanders only caters to white people, and older, richer white men specifically. They push this idea to try and disuade PoC voters and progressive white Democrats who rightly care about PoC causes from learning about the Bernie movement.
Well, that idea is completely on its head. In fact, white people have been the group Sanders has done the least well with for a long while. That's by the polls.
Minorities and promininent minority leaders have been some of his strongest supporters. The Sanders campaign is indeed keen to showcase those facts this year, but more importantly, the leaders from minority backgrounds are themselves keen to get onboard with the Sanders movement, because they feel it's the best major campaign and platform to help people from PoC and minority backgrounds, in the race. This is not just for show.
It also means that where Bernie's efforts to help minorities (be they racial, sexual/gendered, religious, and other minorities) need improving, if/when they do, it'll be diverse leaders putting in the ideas. That's exciting.
An excellent announcement overall, can't wait to hear the ideas they put forth, and see the energy and skills they bring come into action.