Meet Bernie’s Ragtag Band of Congressional Supporters

You can count those endorsements on one hand

Jacquelyn Martin/AP

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Following his decisive loss to Hillary Clinton in South Carolina, Bernie Sanders landed a mixed bag of surprise endorsements: one from a notoriously volatile hedge fund manager-turned-congressman, who is under investigation for potential ethics violations, and the other from a rising star of the Democratic party.

On Monday morning, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) announced his support online in a blog post titled “I Feel the Bern.” Grayson, a super-delegate who is serving his third term in the House, said that a recent online poll he conducted showed 86 percent support for Sanders (this number is at odds with national polls, which show Sanders down 7.5 percent against Hillary Clinton as of Monday).

While the Sanders campaign thanked Grayson, his support may not be doing it any favors. Grayson has been in favor of regulating Wall Street, but raised eyebrows with his decision to continue running a hedge fund while he served in the House of Representatives. That decision prompted an ongoing House Committee on Ethics inquiry and a searing New York Times investigation published earlier this month, which alleged that during difficult economic times he paid attention to the hedge fund at the expense of his congressional duties. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has urged Grayson to drop his bid for the Florida Senate seat. Grayson denies any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) on Sunday resigned as vice chair of the Democratic National Committee to endorse Sanders (as chairwoman, she was not allowed to support a candidate). In a filmed speech posted to her official YouTube account, Gabbard said, “I cannot remain neutral any longer. The stakes are just too high…We can elect a president who will lead us into more interventionist wars of regime change, or we can elect a president who will usher in a new era of peace and prosperity.”

Gabbard’s decision follows a public squabble with DNC leadership last year after she appeared on MSNBC calling for more Democratic presidential debates. The DNC had faced criticism for limiting the number of televised debates, which was seen as a ploy to protect Hillary Clinton’s candidacy from the insurgent Sanders’ campaign.

These two unexpected endorsements nearly double the ranks of elected lawmakers supporting Sanders—he still only has 5. Clinton, meanwhile, has racked up more than 200, including 12 governors and a host of former Congressional colleagues.

Sanders thanked both Grayson and Gabbard for their endorsements.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest