New Recruit Bernie Sanders for 2020 Movement Based in Colorado

Spencer Carnes with Bernie Sanders circa 2016.
Spencer Carnes with Bernie Sanders circa 2016. Facebook
Organizing for Bernie, an effort to persuade Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to run for the presidency in 2020 that launched today, is based in Colorado.

As first reported by Rolling Stone, leaders of the enterprise include Dulce Saenz, who oversaw Sanders's 2016 campaigns in Colorado and Washington state, plus Colorado Caucus director Mandy Nunes-Hennessey and Spencer Carnes, who headed up the Buffs for Bernie group at the University of Colorado Boulder.

We interviewed Carnes in October 2016 for a post headlined "How Buffs for Bernie Co-Founder Became Major Organizer for Hillary Clinton." And while he was energetically backing Clinton at the time of our conversation, he remained a huge fan of Sanders.

"I think the Bernie Sanders campaign inspired young people to take part in the political process," he told us.

After his initial presidential vote in 2012, Carnes spent much of the 2014 cycle interning for No Labels, a political organization that works to find nonpartisan solutions to the nation's challenges. Then, in July 2015, he got deeply involved in the pro-Sanders movement.

"I started volunteering with a couple of colleagues at the CU Boulder campus, and we launched Buffs for Bernie in August," he said. "We brought Bernie Sanders to campus that October and were knocking on doors before the campaign really got started in Colorado. And for my last semester of college, I got a really cool opportunity to work as a field organizer."

He added: "Bernie Sanders says, 'It's better to show up than to give up.' And I think that really resonates with young people. As millennials, we have a lot of hope, a lot of ambition, and if you talk to us, you'll see that time and again, we find it more important to show up than to give up."

Two favorite sons of Colorado are said to be thinking about a 2020 presidential bid: Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Michael Bennet. But neither of them have the national name recognition of Sanders, who recently said he would consider another White House run.

On its website, Organizing for Bernie discloses that it is "a Federal PAC, and is not connected to Bernie Sanders or his campaign." The outfit hopes to create "a people-powered campaign meant to recruit Senator Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate in the 2020 Democratic Primary and lay the groundwork for a successful campaign operation. Since 2016, Bernie's political revolution has continued to grow and fight for progressive values at every level of government. Now it's time to organize for Bernie! Help us achieve our mission by signing the petition."

The petition and its text are linked below.
Bernie Sanders on the stump.
Gino Santa Maria/
Ask Bernie to Run in 2020

Thank you for joining us in asking Bernie to run. We are all making a difference every day, and by encouraging Bernie to run, we can bring that change to the White House.

Dear Senator Sanders,

When you ran for President in 2016, you redefined what was possible, showing Americans that we could have a just democracy — one that works for everyday people, not just the millionaires and billionaires. Through your campaign, we embraced Medicare for All at a time when it was not very popular. We rang the alarm about climate change and its devastating impacts, and how we could work together to address it right now. We began to imagine a future we could believe in — one that we would be proud to leave for future generations. We got to know our neighbors and met new people in our community, organizing together for what was right.

We fought hard, but in the end, the outcome wasn’t what we hoped for. We were concerned all of our hard work went to waste, but then realized that the political revolution had just begun. When Trump took over the White House, even through our devastation, we continued working with our neighbors and new friends to defend our communities from bigotry, xenophobia and racism.

We’ve been fighting these last two years, and you have been on the frontlines with us. Thank you for making Medicare for All a mainstream issue. Thank you for getting every worker at Amazon a guaranteed 15 dollar an hour wage. Thank you for reforming the DNC for a more fair political process. Thank you for igniting much needed change.

Now we need you more than ever to run for president and take on Donald Trump. We know you can beat him because you are uniquely positioned as the most popular politician in American politics. Your unwavering commitment to working families, reducing income inequality, and addressing climate change as our biggest national security concern are what make you the ideal candidate to win in 2020. We are tired of self-interested and self-serving politicians. We want authentic and bold leaders who take immediate and meaningful action to solve the problems we face.

Senator, I am joining people across the country in asking you to run for President in 2020. The vision you have for our nation can become a reality if we boldly fight for every American and together build the future we can believe in.

In Solidarity,

The 2020 Revolution
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
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