“Dictatorial.” “Arrogant.” “Pompous.” “Superficial.” “Tone-deaf.” “Tone-dead.” “Out of line.” “Insulting” — “absolutely insulting.”
These are the words that Nina Turner, president of the group founded by Bernie Sanders to further his “political revolution,” used in an interview to describe the Democratic National Committee. The grievances converge around a recent trip to deliver petitions to the party’s headquarters in Washington, where Turner and other progressives were greeted by barricades, security guards, and an offering of donuts and water, an empty gesture, as she saw it, indicative of an institution that isn’t “smart enough, humble enough, to say let’s take a step back and really listen to the people,” that instead is far too willing to “disregard people,” to “dismiss,” “belittle,” and “shun,” to “push them to the side” — all of which has left Turner with the view, as she puts it, that “the establishment side of the Democratic Party have shown themselves to be dictators,” that “want to dictate the terms of unity.”
In the months since last year’s long and fraught Democratic primary, Sanders and allies like Rep. Keith Ellison have become key partners in that same “establishment side,” working from new leadership roles in the U.S. Senate and at the DNC.
If Sanders is working to change the system from within, Turner’s approach at Our Revolution looks to be the opposite: After taking over last month, she is taking on the same institutional forces that are allied with Sanders, rallying supporters against the familiar target of the DNC, stirring up old fights from 2016, and turning interviews into take-downs of the party — a newly aggressive posture toward the Democratic Party that puts Our Revolution out of step with its own figurehead.
“It is time to make the Democratic Party ‘Feel the Bern’ again,” Turner wrote in an email to Our Revolution members on Tuesday, worded like a warning. “The DNC may think that they can continue working behind closed doors, but they will know different when millions of us come knocking.”
The email recounted the same July 25 visit to DNC headquarters on Capitol Hill.
Turner, the 49-year-old former Ohio state senator, led about 60 supporters that day to the DNC offices to deliver petition signatures supporting the “People’s Platform,” a 2018 policy agenda drafted by Our Revolution in response to the one unveiled that week by party…