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‘Not Me, Us’: In Iowa Home Stretch, Sanders Focuses on Movement That Brought Him Here

Days before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, as attacks intensified from right-wing Democrats desperate to stop him from getting the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders stuck to the same message he’s been pushing for months: “Not me, us.”

“Our job is to give people hope,” Sanders tweeted Saturday. “If we stand together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”

Sanders celebrated two big endorsements on Friday—from youth-led Zero Hour Movement and the Muslim Caucus of America. 

By prioritizing the climate crisis, said Zero Hour co-founder and executive director Jaime Margolin, Sanders earned the group’s endorsement.

“You don’t have to convince [Bernie] and you don’t have to beg him to make common sense decisions,” said Margolin. “He just does. And it’s obvious, it comes naturally to him.”

The Muslim Caucus cited Sanders’ history of standing up for marginalized communities and working Americans as crucial to the group’s decision to back him.

“We believe that Senator Sanders is the best candidate to lead the much-needed political revolution to put American values back on track and American leadership back on the globe,” the caucus said in a statement.

The Iowa caucuses will be held Monday night across the state. Sanders has led in recent polling, but the campaign is not taking anything for granted.

The senator has been largely absent from Iowa in the last two weeks as the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump—who Sanders would likely face in a general election contest—forces the senator to be in Washington. But the multiracial, diverse movement behind the senator’s campaign has stayed busy on the ground.

The campaign is pulling out all the stops to get the vote out in Iowa, calling on surrogates like filmmaker Michael Moore, former Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, rock band Bon Iver, and Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) to spread out across the state and get out the vote. 

Tlaib was the center of controversy after video of her booing the mention of comments from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton disparaging Sanders went viral Friday night, prompting calls for an apology from people in the Clinton orbit. 

Clinton has attacked Sanders in recent weeks as the senator has risen in the polls nationally and in Iowa and New Hampshire.

“Nobody likes him, nobody wants to work with him, he got nothing done,” Clinton said of Sanders in footage aired on January 21. “He was a career politician.”

Sanders is one of the most popular politicians in the country and the most popular senator in the U.S. among constituents.

The attacks coincide with the release of Clinton’s Hulu documentary “Hillary,” which airs on March 6.

Tlaib issued a statement on Saturday calling for Democrats to look forward in unity to the election and not to allow those opposed to progressive politics to get under the skin of Sanders supporters.

“I will continue to strive to come from a place of love and not react in the same way of those who are against what we are building in this country,” said Tlaib. “This is about building a just and equitable future for my two boys, children across the country, and future generations.”

The Sanders campaign appeared ready to move on Saturday, with press secretary Briahna Joy Gray asking supporters and volunteers to stay the course. 

“We are powerful,” tweeted Gray. “We can do this.”

“Let’s let them know what this is all about.”


Main Image: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. 2019. | Gage Skidmore

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Common Dreams

This article is republished from Common Dreams under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.