[Editor’s note: This is another in our continuing series on what the presidential candidates are doing at the local level.]
I went to a Bernie Sanders event for his presidential run that was called “The Plan to Win Party.” It took place at The Middle East, which is located in Central Square in Cambridge. The goal of the “party” was to inform people about how to get the word out about Sanders and get people out to vote. This was one of many parties around the country for a plan to win.
The event started with a video from Sanders where, among his remarks, he said that it is not enough to talk about good ideas: the Civil Rights Movement and the Labor Movement were not started by the government, but by citizens. Sanders also said that he wants to prevent Republicans from getting the vote of the working class. He is willing to tell the truth about what is broken in this country. A final thing he said was that real change never comes about without struggle.
The next part of the evening was a video created by people who work on Bernie Sanders’ campaign to tell supporters how the primaries and caucuses work. They explained that the early states are the most important because that is how candidates who win those states will gain momentum. The four early states are New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina. The primaries in these states usually cut down the candidate pool to two or three candidates, and the other candidates usually drop out after that, the next big event in the election process is “Super Tuesday” where Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Democrats Abroad, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, and Virginia have their primaries or caucuses. That event usually narrows down the candidates to two or one person. Super Tuesday is on March 3rd in 2020 and it is important that you go out and cast your vote for whoever you think is the best candidate. If you want more information about how the primaries work, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
After that, they spoke about strategies for speaking to people you know, and to people that you do not know. The most important part is sharing your story and why you support the candidate that you are choosing. The big ideas for conversations are persuading people to vote for your candidate (in this case, Bernie Sanders), and to get people who normally would not vote to vote. They gave the tip that rational debate or arguing is a bad idea, and instead you should share your own story and motivations. In the 2016 election, 55% of eligible voters cast a ballot. They also said that you should ask people what they have anxieties about and what matters to them, their families, and their communities.
They then spoke about the Bernie Sanders app called “BERN” that you can download from the Apple app store or the Google Play store. It is a way to build a list of people you know who will be voting, track conversations, tell them how to register to vote, or vote in general.
Upcoming events in Massachusetts that Sanders supporters are rallying behind include phone banks and traveling to New Hampshire to knock on doors and speak to voters, because New Hampshire is an early state. There is a phone bank event in Cambridge this Sunday, September 29th at Workbar and another one on Monday, October 7th at the Middle East. One of their goals is to make one million calls between September 27th and October 6th, 10 days to make calls; and they ask people to dedicate two hours of their time at home or at a phone bank to reach this goal. They are working on transportation to New Hampshire, as well as canvassing in Massachusetts. You can text “WIN”” to 67760 for a National Calling Day shift.
Some policies that Bernie Sanders supports are: the Green New Deal, Medicare for all, defeating the NRA, erasing student loan debt, and criminal justice reform. The people who planned this event concluded by saying that Sanders fights for working people. He wants to transform this country from one that simply works for a few to one that works for all. And they reminded everyone about what the senator has said: real change never comes without a struggle.
To find out more about the Sanders campaign, his website is www.berniesanders.com