Politico - December 8, 2019
“The election of Donald Trump changed everything for a lot of us,” he said. “The best way to defeat a troublesome zealot like that is to make the strongest case for dramatic change, and I think Bernie Sanders does that.”
PHILADELPHIA — In the shadow of Joe Biden’s campaign headquarters sitting across from City Hall, Elizabeth Warren has snagged endorsements from Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner, and two incoming City Council members here.
It’s a far cry from the 2016 primary, when the vast majority of the city’s Democratic establishment lined up behind Hillary Clinton, and gave the cold shoulder to her progressive opponent, Bernie Sanders.
From New York City to Los Angeles, many of the nation’s biggest cities have turned even harder to the left under President Donald Trump, putting pressure on local officials to embrace the leading progressive presidential candidates — or withhold their endorsements entirely for fear of antagonizing newly energized activists. It’s a drastic political shift in some places, where for decades entrenched party bosses crushed any signs of life on the left or tended to put the weight of big-city institutional support behind Democratic establishment-oriented candidates.
“The progressive, structural change agenda has captivated the grassroots, and local elected officials are the first people to notice those changes and trends and adapt,” said Maurice Mitchell, national director of the left-wing Working Families Party. “There is a ceiling on transactional, machine power. It’s considerable, it’s real — but there’s a ceiling on it.”
Part of the leftward turn is the result of a surge of progressive candidates taking office in recent years. In Chicago, six democratic socialists currently sit on City Council — up from one in 2017 — and all of them have endorsed Sanders. Krasner, the Philadelphia D.A., was elected in 2017 with the aid of the pro-Warren Working Families Party and Sanders-founded Our Revolution. In New York City, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and state Sens. Jessica Ramos and Julia Salazar endorsed Sanders; they all won office in 2018.
“Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been very willing to involve themselves in local issues. That’s unusual.”
Larry Ceisler, longtime Philadelphia political observer
But not all of the shift can be explained by newly elected Democrats. Michael Gianaris, the New York Senate deputy majority leader who represents western Queens, raised eyebrows in local political circles when he backed Sanders this year after endorsing Clinton in 2016. ...
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