Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison may have failed to win the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination and top leadership post, but they’re the leading faces of a new effort in Republican-leaning states to motivate the party’s base.
That effort is coming to Texas.
Sanders and Ellison will hold a rally at noon on Thursday at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, about halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.
The goal, according to a news release, is to “rally supporters and local grass-roots activists around a progressive agenda.”
Sanders is a liberal independent senator from Vermont who unsuccessfully ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination. Ellison, the first Muslim-American elected to Congress from Minnesota, came up short in his bid to lead the Democratic Party in early 2017.
The pair blasted the Republican Party’s failed health care effort in a statement, and they will speak about a range of issues including increasing the minimum wage, rebuilding infrastructure and a tax overhaul.
“Regardless of where they live or their political affiliations, most people understand that it is absurd for Republicans in Congress to support huge tax breaks for billionaires while pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid,” Sanders and Ellison said. “They understand that the recent Republican health care proposal – which would have thrown 24 million Americans off of their health insurance, substantially raised premiums for older workers and defunded Planned Parenthood while, at the same time, providing almost $300 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent – is a disgraceful idea.”
Other confirmed attendees are Texas Democrats Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa, Tarrant County Democratic Party Chairwoman Deborah Peoples and Dallas County Democratic Party Chairman Carol Donovan.
“The Democratic Party must deliver solutions to the challenges working families face every day,” Hinojosa said in a statement. “We’re proud of the millions of Texans fighting back, running for office or organizing. And we’re proud to have champions like Sen. Bernie Sanders and DNC Deputy Chair Keith Ellison in our corner.”
Sanders barely campaigned in Texas during his presidential run, where he finished a distant second to Clinton with 33.2 percent of the vote.
Last week, he blasted the Democratic Party’s decision to not invest in a special House of Representatives election in Kansas that turned out to be surprisingly close. He argued that Democrats cannot ignore areas, like Fort Worth, that are traditionally dominated by Republicans.
Sanders, Ellison and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez are kicking off their nationwide tour Monday night in Portland, Maine. The 10-day swing, which includes stops in Florida, Arizona, Montana and Nevada, is being billed as a unity tour among Democrats.