The CPD Action network decided today, with 75% of the ballots cast, that we will endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for President. Senator Sanders is the ultimate movement candidate and we are proud to endorse him. We know that he will stand up for our communities and our values.
Sanders, along with Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro, represents a promising future for progressive politics in the United States. We know that our network would be lucky if any of them become the eventual nominee.
How we got here
The People’s Convention
During the CPD Action network’s People’s Convention this July in Detroit, Michigan, 1,600 members of our network voted to adopt a federal platform committed to: 1) building a people-powered democracy, 2) transforming our justice system, 3) securing fundamental human rights for immigrants, 4) investing in equity and repairing historic wealth stripping, 5) protecting workers, 6) ensuring safe, affordable housing, 7) educating for the future, and 8) taking back our health care.
We also kicked off our first-ever presidential endorsement process. Initially in the running were: Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Cory Booker, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Julian Castro all video called in to our People’s Convention and answered questions from members about the elements of our federal platform.
As the convention came to a close, 600 of the members in attendance took part in a straw poll of their favorite candidates. Senator Sanders, Senator Warren and Secretary Castro came in as the top vote-getters.
Narrowing the Field
Over the ensuing four months, the 44 community organizations in CPD Action’s network that have political arms had an opportunity to directly engage and rate the candidates in the running for our endorsement.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris made clear that they were not interested in being considered. Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker and Beto O’Rourke engaged with our network around policy and answered a questionnaire about their positions, but didn’t engage further.
Julian Castro, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren sat in on policy forums about health care, housing, transforming our justice system and the school to prison pipeline with our affiliates. They held in-person meetings with CPD Action members and spoke with affiliates in our network.
Countdown to an Endorsement
In the last three weeks of our process, each voting affiliate embarked on a process to determine who they would vote for. Some organizations, Like Rights and Democracy in New Hampshire and Vermont, and New Florida Majority, held large member assemblies to discuss the candidates and have a convention-style vote to choose who their organization would endorse. Other affiliates, like OLE in New Mexico and Make the Road Action, which spans over five states, convened their networks in the last several days to make a final decision in time for CPD Action’s vote. Other groups text-surveyed their members to gauge where their broad membership stood on the candidates, and then convened their leadership committees of long-time members to make a final decision. With the diversity of our network, each affiliate was able to engage in a process that best served their organizational model.
We did not reach the necessary threshold of 60 percent on the first ballot to make an endorsement. We went to a second ballot with our top two vote-getters, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Each affiliate cast their ballots over the past couple of days and 75 percent of them chose our endorsed candidate: Bernie Sanders.
Why we decided to endorse
The CPD Action network is composed of some of the most powerful community organizations across the country and in key battleground states. We’re prepared to turn out our mobilizing force this primary.
There is too much at stake this election for Black, Brown, working-class, immigrant and anti-racist white voters to be on the sidelines. Our votes are the key to electing a progressive Democrat to the White House. For us to turn out and defeat Trump, we need a movement that represents us and a candidate connected to it.
We decided to make an endorsement to help elect a candidate who is accountable to us and our communities.
We believe that we can win a multiracial democracy that centers the voices that have been ignored, sidelined and siloed in the Trump era and the political history of this country.
And instead of the parachute-in, last-ditch campaigning of the party, we need to be directing resources to community organizing and power-building in the long term.