In a move that will ultimately shock no one, the Democratic Socialists of America—the largest socialist organization in the country—has formally endorsed Bernie Sanders in his bid to become the next president. An earlier poll of members found that 76 percent of those surveyed supported the endorsement, but there was perhaps a hint of lingering uncertainty on whether the National Political Committee would follow through. They did just that on Thursday night, throwing the support of its nearly 60,000 members behind the Vermont senator. In an email sent to members, the group outlined their rationale:
Sanders is the only democratic socialist running for president in 2020, and the only socialist in American history with a serious chance of winning the presidency. His platform — the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, College for All, ending mass incarceration, strengthening unions, and a living wage — would transform American society by ending the worst forms of poverty and inequality while empowering us all to fight for even more.
At the same time, leadership reiterated the need for a “massive, multi-racial working-class movement” to achieve true reform.
In recent days, Vox speculated that recent reparations comments would hurt Sanders’ endorsement chances, and indeed two caucuses asked the NPC to withhold the endorsement. Another story in Vice last week reported that some DSA members “wish their organization would sit this one out.”
Nevertheless, the endorsement was not truly in doubt after the member poll. If socialism is ever going to have a real moment in the U.S., that moment is imminent, and the DSA’s growth from a 5,000-member organization to its current size is due in large part to two opposite forces: the Sanders campaign, which brought democratic-socialist ideas to the national conversation and shifted the Overton window on leftist discourse, and the Trump victory, which had the effect of shifting many liberals to the left and increasing political activity. It would have been odd, to say the least, if the DSA abstained.