Well, it was only a matter of time before U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., used the political capital he collected on the campaign trail last year to advance his socialist-liberal agenda.
Last week, his wife, Jane O'Meara Sanders, announced they had launched the Sanders Institute:
During Bernie's presidential campaign, I had the pleasure of traveling around this country—seeing its beauty and experiencing the passion and dedication of its people. I learned so much from meeting people who were involved in making their communities better and I came away with a determination to ensure those voices would be heard.
I wanted to start an organization that would bring people together to learn from each other and discuss how to make our country and our democracy better. I wanted to actively engage individuals like you, along with the media and other organizations, in learning about progressive solutions to economic, environmental, racial and social justice issues. A true democracy requires an informed electorate and we have so much to learn from each other.
In addition to the Sanders, the new institute will be led by David Driscoll, Jane's son from a previous marriage, who previously worked as "Global Director of Team" at the Burlington, Vermont, snowboard manufacturer Burton Snowboards. Ellyn Heald will serve as program director, while Colleen Lineweaver will serve as research director.
Heald is a former singer/songwriter/actress who served as a staffer on the senator's failed 2016 presidential campaign. Lineweaver is a research associate at The Glover Park Group, and is a former communications intern at the Brookings Institution who formerly worked for former Secretary of State John Kerry when he was a U.S. senator.
Not exactly a group that seems poised to turn American liberalism around. But, the Sanders Institute has been able to attract a number of interesting "fellows":
- Robert Reich—former Secretary of Labor, professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley
- Nina Turner—Ohio state senator, college professor, leader in the DNC
- Harry Belafonte—Emmy Award winner, musician and actor, one of the leading Sanders 2016 campaign surrogates
- Jeffrey Sachs—world-renowned professor of economics with an emphasis on "sustainable development" and a leader in the Agenda 21 movement at the United Nations
- Cornel West—anti-Semitic professor of philosophy and "Christian Practice" at Union Theological Seminary and a professor emeritus at Princeton University
- S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii—Hindu environmentalist and war veteran who first joined Congress in 2012
- Bill McKibben—environmentalist author of the book The End of Nature, one of the leading voices in the "Climate Change" movement
- Danny Glover—actor and another of leading Sanders 2016 campaign surrogates
- Ben Jealous—former president and CEO of the NAACP, now a partner at Kapor Capital, where he invests in "social impact tech startups"
- Stephanie Kelton—professor of economics at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, formerly chief economist to Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee and economic adviser to the Sanders 2016 campaign
If you're confused about what exactly this "think tank" is going to be doing, here's its mission statement:
True democracy requires an informed electorate.
The mission of the Sanders Institute is to revitalize democracy by actively engaging individuals, organizations and the media in the pursuit of progressive solutions to economic, environmental, racial and social justice issues.
According to the Sanders Institute website, it is currently seeking a 501(c)(3) non-profit status from the IRS.
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