Bernie Sanders and his team are certainly having a banner week.
While the Vermont Senator travels the country campaigning for Hillary Clinton, his team has been working to fully capitalize on Paul Ryan’s recent attempts to rile up his right wing base by invoking Sanders as a bogeyman.
Team Sanders has responded by sending out a series of fundraising appeals to raise money for Democratic candidates running downballot in key congressional races.
Ryan first invoked Sanders last Friday while speaking to a group of University of Wisconsin students, warning of what would happen should Democrats retake the Senate majority by defeating some of Mitch McConnell’s enablers.
“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?” Ryan said, emphasizing his words for dramatic effect.
It wasn’t long before Ryan’s memorable comments became the basis for an email appeal sent out to Bernie’s rather large campaign list:
Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan issued a very dire warning this week. You need to see it:
“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes chair of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”
You heard the man. Let’s take back the Senate.
Four of our best opportunities to take back the Senate are in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. Each race is incredibly close. But if the Democratic nominees win, we will have a far more progressive Senate – and a majority to enact our progressive agenda.
The final FEC fundraising deadline of the campaign is Wednesday at midnight. Split a $4 contribution now between Catherine Cortez Masto, Maggie Hassan, Deborah Ross, and Katie McGinty before tomorrow’s deadline.
How close are these races? The latest poll averages have Deborah Ross down by just two points in North Carolina. In Nevada, Catherine Cortez Masto is up by two. Maggie Hassan is down by a little more than two points in New Hampshire. And in the tightest race of all, Katie McGinty is up by less than a half percent in Pennsylvania.
Four Senate seats we need for a majority. Four dedicated leaders who could serve with Bernie Sanders. At most a two percent difference in the polls for every race.
Your contributions can be the difference between victory and defeat in each of these elections. Small-dollar contributions from emails like this can push Catherine Cortez Masto, Deborah Ross, Maggie Hassan, and Katie McGinty over the top on election day.
With tomorrow’s FINAL fundraising deadline for the FEC, the time is now for us to step up and help take back a Senate majority.
Split a $4 contribution between the campaigns of Catherine Cortez Masto, Deborah Ross, Maggie Hassan, and Katie McGinty before tomorrow’s deadline.
You can make the difference in this election to take back a Senate majority. Thank you.
This first email generated nearly half a million dollars, prompting several follow-up appeals which have also been very successful… like this one from Wednesday, which was signed by Bernie Sanders himself:
I heard what Paul Ryan said about me: that if the Republicans lose the Senate, I will be the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
That sounds like a very good idea to me. It means that we can establish priorities for working people, and not just the billionaire class.
What would be equally exciting is if the Democrats took back the House, and Congressman Ryan was no longer Speaker. That would mean the clearest possible path to enact our agenda – the most progressive agenda of any party in American history.
In the last day, you have responded tremendously to our call to support four leaders who will help shift the balance of the Senate. More than 20,000 people have contributed more than $900,000 to ten candidates who are inspired by the political revolution.
During our campaign we pushed ourselves to reach goals that many thought impossible. That is why we set a very big, very audacious goal that we didn’t know if we could reach, but that we thought it was very important to try. But you’re about to smash that $1 million goal.
So, we’re going to need a bigger goal.
Let’s raise $2 million before tonight’s final FEC deadline of the campaign for candidates for the House and Senate.
Can you start with a $3 contribution between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan?
Consider for a moment the power that exists in the U.S. Senate. Right now, the Republican majority is using their power to block any meaningful action on addressing income inequality or climate change. In addition, without a Democratic majority the Senate is refusing to confirm federal judges and, incredibly, has left open a critical seat on the Supreme Court.
With a Democratic majority, we can change all of that. What Paul Ryan is specifically afraid of is the power of the budget committee. That committee defines the spending priorities of the entire government. The work of that committee says how much revenue the government should have, and where its money should go.
I have some thoughts on how the government should allocate its spending. I’m sure you do, too.
The first step to being able to enact our progressive agenda is taking back the Senate. And if we take back the House… well, the sky is the limit for what we can achieve.
Help us reach for our new, audacious goal of raising $2 million for candidates for the House and Senate by midnight tonight. Add a $3 contribution now split between Paul Clements, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Deborah Ross, Zephyr Teachout, Morgan Carroll, Nanette Barragan, and Rick Nolan.
Thank you for all you do.
Paul Ryan’s operatives responded by forwarding the email to their own list in an attempt to generate more cash for endangered Republicans:
— Fowarded Message –
From: Paul Ryan
Sent: Thursday, October 20, 2016 5:09 PM
Subject: FWD Bernie’s Email (Please Read)
I spoke last week about what would happen if we lose our majority in Congress. It looks like Bernie Sanders was listening, because a staffer showed me the message he sent to his supporters yesterday.…
Read it and find out why it is so important to hold the House and Senate this November.
Bottom line: we must stop Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and the Progressive Democrats from taking over Congress. Please consider making a donation today to stop this dangerous, progressive agenda.
Let’s do this,
But two can play at that game, and Bernie’s team has now responded in kind.
It looks like you got Paul Ryan’s attention. And he’s not happy.
The Speaker of the House forwarded the email Bernie sent to you to his entire fundraising list. You can see what he said below.
Paul Ryan really doesn’t like that you donated more than $1.8 million in two days to take back the House and Senate (which is an AMAZING feat, and something for which we are so grateful).
He even put in a big, red button when he forwarded Bernie’s email that says “HELP STOP SANDERS.”
We’ve got their attention. Now let’s show what we really can do.
Split a $3 contribution between Bernie’s thirteen candidates for the House and Senate so we can take back Congress, make Bernie a committee chairman in a Democratic Senate, and enact our progressive agenda.
The incredible contributions you’ve made in the last two days are completely changing the dynamics of these races for Congress. We are so grateful, because your support means campaigns can train more volunteers, talk to more voters, and turn out more people on Election Day.
Paul Ryan knows the tremendous impact you’re having, and he’s scared. Let’s keep it going.
Paul Ryan’s intention in invoking Bernie Sanders may have been to rile up his base, but what he may not have realized is that he was also doing the Democratic Party and its ticket a big favor at the same time.
Democratic Party leaders have been longing to see Sanders deploy his campaign machinery and email list in support of Democrats running downballot. Ryan’s comments provided Team Bernie with the perfect grist for a days-long series of reinforcing email blasts appealing for funds to help Democratic candidates in pivotal U.S. Senate contests — right in the middle of October.
Thanks to Paul Ryan, Bernie Sanders supporters have a better appreciation for what the future could hold. Effective activism is all about sizing up the possibilities and working to turn those into reality, not aimlessly dwelling on the past.
Bernie Sanders may not have won the Democratic nomination for President, but he could be a very influential leader in a Democratically-controlled United States Senate. He could be a key committee chair, perfectly positioned to shape legislation.
I have been telling other activists this for months, but I’m so glad that the Republican Speaker of the House has now come out and said the same thing.
Ryan’s intent was to use Sanders as a bogeyman, as bait for his base. But in bringing up Sanders, Ryan also legitimized him — affirming his importance in this election.
In the span of less than twenty seconds, Ryan concisely painted a vivid picture of the fiercely beloved progressive Senator’s potential role in the 115th Congress… and his comments have clearly excited the imaginations of Sanders’ legions of supporters, who have now been reminded of what is possible instead of what might have been.
Team Bernie has now exploited Ryan’s comments to the tune of nearly $2 million. That’s a lot of money for downballot Democrats in key races.
“If we lose the Senate, do you know who becomes the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee? A guy named Bernie Sanders. You ever heard of him?”
Yes, Paul Ryan, I’ve heard of Bernie Sanders. I was a proud delegate for him to the 2016 Democratic National Convention. And like millions of other people in this country, I’d love to see him as the chairman of a key committee in the United States Senate come January — whether that’s Appropriations or HELP.