Bernie Sanders waves
Bernie Sanders waves to attendees of Netroots Nation (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Edi­tor’s Note: North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute Founder and Exec­u­tive Direc­tor Andrew Vil­leneuve served as a 2016 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion del­e­gate for Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders. The views expressed in this post are his own; NPI does not endorse can­di­dates or engage in elec­tion­eer­ing for or against any candidate.

Dear Sen­a­tor Bernie Sanders:

Wel­come back to the cam­paign trail, and thank you for your tire­less efforts to advance wor­thy caus­es like cli­mate jus­tice, Medicare For All, tuition free col­lege, and an end to for­eign pol­i­cy blun­ders like the inva­sion and occu­pa­tion of Iraq.

As one of your proud 2016 nation­al del­e­gates from the State of Wash­ing­ton, I’m writ­ing to ask that you sched­ule a vis­it to Cas­ca­dia so that peo­ple in Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Ida­ho can engage with your 2020 pres­i­den­tial campaign.

We here in the Pacif­ic North­west have been vis­it­ed by many of your fel­low 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­tenders dur­ing the past few months, and we’ve great­ly appre­ci­at­ed the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see and hear from them in per­son. But we have not yet had the priv­i­lege of inter­act­ing with you yet. And we’d like that to change.

We have spent the past few years expand­ing access to the bal­lot, enact­ing leg­is­la­tion to ensure a just and respon­si­ble tran­si­tion to a clean ener­gy future, increas­ing the min­i­mum wage, pro­vid­ing paid fam­i­ly leave, bol­ster­ing access to repro­duc­tive care, defend­ing net neu­tral­i­ty, and mak­ing col­lege more affordable.

Mean­while, our Attor­neys Gen­er­al Bob Fer­gu­son and Ellen Rosen­blum have repeat­ed­ly and suc­cess­ful­ly tak­en the Trump regime to court to stop a litany of ille­gal and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al abus­es of power.

Many of the ideas we have been work­ing on advanc­ing here at the state lev­el in this great green land are ideas that are cen­tral to your pres­i­den­tial campaign.

You’ve repeat­ed­ly empha­sized that health­care is a human right and that nobody should be priced out of a col­lege edu­ca­tion, for instance.

And you’ve released a bold cli­mate action plan that calls for sweep­ing new invest­ments to secure our future. Notably, you’ve called for poli­cies that will allow the pub­lic to own the means of gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­i­ty, like so many sub­re­gions of Cas­ca­dia already do through pub­lic util­i­ty dis­tricts (PUDs).

We’d sure like the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss these ideas with you, sans media filter.

So far, we haven’t had that oppor­tu­ni­ty. And the clock is ticking.

Sen­a­tor, I ask you to direct your staff to sched­ule a trip to Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, and Ida­ho as soon as pos­si­ble. Bring your cam­paign to Cas­ca­dia so that our region can hear from you and engage with you before the vot­ing begins.

Bernie Sanders greets the "yuuuge" crowd at Safeco Field
Bernie Sanders greets a “yuu­uge” crowd at Safe­co Field in March of 2016 (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

Unlike in 2016, no state in the Pacif­ic North­west will be using cau­cus­es to appor­tion pres­i­den­tial del­e­gates to the upcom­ing DNC in Mil­wau­kee. Wash­ing­ton and Ida­ho will be using pres­i­den­tial pri­maries, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Oregon.

Here in the Ever­green State, my col­leagues and I on the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee had a spir­it­ed debate about whether to con­tin­ue using cau­cus­es for both allo­ca­tion and del­e­gate selec­tion, or switch to a pri­ma­ry-cau­cus hybrid approach. In the end, we made his­to­ry by approv­ing a Del­e­gate Selec­tion and Affir­ma­tive Action Plan that uti­lizes a pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry as the method of del­e­gate allo­ca­tion for the first time in the his­to­ry of our state party.

As a result of this deci­sion, we expect an unprece­dent­ed num­ber of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans to par­tic­i­pate in decid­ing how our par­ty’s del­e­gates to the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee will be allocated.

Wash­ing­ton’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry will con­clude on Tues­day, March 10th, 2020, along with Ida­ho’s. You’ll note that I used the word “con­clude”. As we are an all vote-by-mail state (with acces­si­ble vot­ing cen­ters for those who need them), we do not vote on a sin­gle day, but rather over the course of three weeks.

Bal­lots in Wash­ing­ton’s pres­i­den­tial pri­ma­ry will be mailed in mid-Feb­ru­ary, about two weeks after the Iowa cau­cus­es, and are sched­uled to reach vot­ers begin­ning on Feb­ru­ary 21st, 2020. That’s less than one hun­dred and twen­ty days from now, and it is one day before the Neva­da Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus­es are sched­uled to be held.

Sen­a­tor, if you are to secure the 2020 Demo­c­ra­t­ic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion, you will need Cas­ca­di­a’s sup­port. While majori­ties of those turn­ing out in our state’s respec­tive nom­i­nat­ing events sup­port­ed your can­di­da­cy three years ago, we have many more com­pelling can­di­dates to choose from in 2020.

We want to hear from you as well as them.

So, please: make a swing through Cas­ca­dia a top pri­or­i­ty of your cam­paign in the com­ing weeks. As you know, we are a for­ward-think­ing region that exem­pli­fies the notion that the states are the lab­o­ra­to­ries of democ­ra­cy. We aren’t just resist­ing the awful­ness at the fed­er­al lev­el. We are chart­ing our own course.

We have proved that progress is pos­si­ble even in dif­fi­cult times.

There’s so much that needs doing to put our nation on a sus­tain­able path to peace and pros­per­i­ty, of course, and that’s why it would be so won­der­ful if you brought your cam­paign to places like Seat­tle, Port­land, Boise, Eugene, and Spokane. If there’s any­thing that I can do to facil­i­tate a vis­it by you to our beau­ti­ful cor­ner of the coun­try, please do not hes­i­tate to have your staff reach out.

Very tru­ly yours,

Andrew Vil­leneuve
Founder, North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute and North­west Pro­gres­sive Foundation
Co-Chair, Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty Advo­ca­cy Committee

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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One reply on “An open letter to Bernie Sanders: Please bring your 2020 presidential campaign to Cascadia”

  1. I’m for War­ren but I would like to see Sanders cam­paign here! Hope the cam­paign responds to your letter. 

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