Following corporate media’s Warren-Sanders controversy, progressive groups call for unity
In this July 30, 2019 file photo, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after a Democratic presidential primary debate in Detroit. | Paul Sancya / AP

The leaders of six major progressive organizations—some on record endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren, some backing Sen. Bernie Sanders, and others so far neutral—issued a joint statement calling for unity between the candidates and their supporters in the wake of the media-stoked controversy over gender and electability that has threatened to distract from the campaign to beat Donald Trump. The statement’s signatories argue that the only winners of a Warren-Sanders divide are the corporate wing of the Democratic Party and Trump. The statement came a day after Rep. Ilhan Oman, D-Minn., called for a truce. “Trump wants progressives pitted against each other,” Omar tweeted Wednesday. “Corporate media want progressives pitted against each other. Billionaires want progressives pitted against each other. Pitting progressives against each other weeks before the Iowa Caucus hurts ALL of us.” Below is the full text of the unity statement and the list of signatories.

A Progressive Unity Statement on the Democratic Presidential Primary

The importance of defeating Donald Trump in 2020 requires no explanation.

In 2016, mainstream conventional wisdom asserted that Hillary Clinton would easily triumph over Trump. Today, some still argue for a return to pre-Trump policies and politics as the safest path to victory. We disagree. Going “back to the future” does not offer the best path to Trump’s defeat. Nor does it move our country forward in terms of the enormous challenges and inequities facing the American people.

We offer this statement as independent organizations. Some support Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren or are not currently supporting any candidate for president. For those with a declared preference, this statement in no way signals the slightest decrease in that commitment. Instead, this statement is a shared declaration of our belief that the surest way to defeat Trump is for the Democratic Party to nominate either Warren or Sanders, as these are the candidates best able to energize voters by providing a vision of a decent society and a fair economy. This vision is sorely needed, as is an administration that will implement far-reaching reforms toward a more just society.

Our best chance of defeating Trump does not lie with an establishment or corporate Democrat. The anti-establishment, anti-corporate awareness and anger that characterize American society today are justified, and it would be a huge mistake to once again yield that ground to a phony like Trump. We can do better, and will work to persuade Democrats to choose a strong, progressive nominee.

Sanders and Warren, as well as their campaigns and supporters, will need to find ways to cooperate. The crossfire amplified by the media is unhelpful and does not reflect the relationship between two Senate colleagues who broadly worked well together for most of the last year. We hope to build solidarity between delegates affiliated with these two candidates prior to the convention and will encourage the campaigns to work towards a unified convention strategy after the final primaries on June 2nd.

While we firmly believe that either Warren or Sanders should lead our nation in 2021, we will, in the end, go all-out to defeat Trump no matter who the Democratic nominee is. We urge all American progressives to adopt this view. We owe no less to ourselves, our nation and our world.

Signed by:

Yvette Simpson, CEO, Democracy for America
Larry Cohen, Board Chair, Our Revolution
Norman Solomon, Co-Founder and Coordinator, 
Varshini Prakash, Executive Director, Sunrise Movement
Maurice Mitchell, National Director, Working Families Party
Alexandra Rojas, Executive Director, Justice Democrats