Lancaster Stands Up members voted by a wide margin to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. A supermajority of our members have determined that, more than any candidate in the race, Sanders embodies the ethos of our organization. And it is our assessment that Sanders is the candidate best positioned to defeat Donald Trump on November 3rd.
Our organization started three years ago when 300 community members came together for an emergency meeting in the wake of the 2016 election. In that very first meeting, we asked ourselves how Trump could have won. We asked ourselves why so many voters had stayed home.
Soon we were engaging with voters directly. To date, our volunteers have knocked hundreds of thousands of doors and made as many phone calls to our neighbors across Lancaster County.
What have we learned? The most common thing we encounter at the door is alienation from politics; a feeling that no one in power—and neither major political party—really cares about people like us.
To be clear, our members are aligned in opposition to Trump and the GOP. Truthfully, though, it has often been hard to get excited about the alternative. For decades, prominent Democrats parroted Republican talking points about “free trade,” “welfare reform,” and being “tough on crime.” They failed to muster a coherent counter-strategy to the GOP’s dog-whistle racism. They passed devastating trade deals like NAFTA, and marched in line on the disastrous Iraq War. They turned a blind eye as big money corrupted the American political system and finance capital rewrote the rules of the economy. The party’s leaders neglected to fight visibly for everyday working people—urban and rural, white, black, and brown—who had once been the party’s core base.
Today we can’t afford to nominate another complacent, corporate-friendly politician. Too many voters would stay home again. We would lose again.
We need a president who will tell the billionaire class that their days of rigging our democracy and cheating working families are over. Bernie Sanders will be that president. He has stood consistently for working families. When prominent Democrats were embracing “free trade” deals, deregulation, and gutting the social safety net, Sanders was winning elections in Vermont with an entirely different message. He never wavered in calling out the bad behavior of powerful institutions and individuals at the top—including within the Democratic Party.
By consistently fighting for working people, Bernie has energized a formidable movement. His campaign has activated millions of supporters, boasting by far the largest number of volunteers and small donors of any campaign. He’s winning key swaths of voters who are essential to Democrats’ taking back the White House. He has significantly more support than any other candidate from young people, people of color, and working-class voters who used to be the Democratic Party’s center of gravity. If there were any doubts about Sanders’ ability to build a winning coalition, they were put to rest in Nevada, where he won by a landslide—and he won almost every demographic, even including self-described moderates.
Bernie not only listens to people like us, he encourages us to lead. He is the strongest supporter of labor unions and grassroots membership organizations. He understands that organizations like ours are essential for the revitalization of our democracy. And we feel very at home with a candidate whose slogan is, “Not me, us.”
The reality today is that no president can deliver good policy without a powerful force applying pressure from the outside. The GOP will fight tooth and nail to defeat legislation that would protect workers, rein in Wall Street, or tax the wealthy. Considering the well-oiled machine of GOP obstructionism of the past decade, it’s clear that we need a mass movement to accomplish any meaningful change.
Millions of Americans believe in Bernie’s message: that healthcare is a human right, that the minimum wage must be a living wage, that college must be affordable, and that we must confront the climate crisis and rebuild our economy in the process. By standing up consistently to powerful interests, Sanders is generating enthusiasm from voting blocs that the Democratic Party has been bleeding out for decades. He’s building the kind of force we need not only to win the nomination and then the White House, but also to accomplish a bold agenda for working people under a Sanders Administration.
That’s why we like Bernie. We feel fortunate to have a candidate who really is in our corner. And we’re eager to put Lancaster Stands Up’s volunteer energy to work to elect President Sanders.
This statement was written by members of Lancaster Stands Up leadership team, following an all-member endorsement vote where 60% of members voted to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. See the full breakdown of results here. Portions of the statement have been drawn from previous writing of LSU leadership team members.