- Nearly 4,000 progressive activists gathered at Netroots Nation in Philadelphia last week to strategize and hear from some of the most outspoken Democrats on the party’s left flank.
- The activists, lawmakers, and Democratic party officials at Netroots overwhelmingly aligned with the more progressive wing of the party. But some remain undecided about their 2020 primary vote.
- "I’m here for Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren," Chris Petzold, a Washington state Indivisible chapter founder, told INSIDER. "I really want to see a woman in the White House next, I think it’s beyond time."
- Here’s what 13 of them had to say.
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PHILADELPHIA — Nearly 4,000 progressive activists gathered at Netroots Nation in Philadelphia last week to strategize, debate big policy issues, and hear from some of the most outspoken Democrats on the left flank of the party.
Kelly Thome, a retired molecular biologist from Massachusetts who has attended all 14 annual Netroots gatherings called the weekend a "combination family reunion and summer camp for progressives." Kim, a labor organizer and freelance writer who asked to keep her last name anonymous because she’s often threatened online, called Netroots "liberal Coachella."
The activists, lawmakers, and Democratic party officials at Netroots overwhelmingly aligned with the more progressive wing of the party.
The crowds were particularly enthusiastic about progressive Reps. Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, who challenged the Democratic establishment during a Saturday morning panel, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who also spoke over the weekend.
Kim, who is an anarchist, said she won’t vote in the 2020 election because she wants to "get rid of the whole system," but she said Warren "would have the most luck in pushing through not-terrible legislation" among the 2020 presidential candidates. Kim added that while she believes Sen. Bernie Sanders has better positions than Warren on capitalism and workers’ rights, he "has a lot more work to do when it comes to listening to people who aren’t like him."
Philadelphia City Council member Helen Gym riled up the Netroots crowd on Saturday when she called for activists to push the Democratic Party leftward.
"At the local level, we had an oil refinery that blew up, so yes a Green New Deal matters to us," Gym told INSIDER after her speech. "We had a hospital that’s closing because private equity swept in and bankrupted it in less than 18 months and 3,000 people are out of job and 50,000 patients don’t know where to go in the poorest city in the country, so yeah Medicare for All matters."
She went on, "People who are regressive are politicians who refuse to listen to the people, and that doesn’t just have to be Donald Trump or one particular party."
Here’s what other activists had to say:
Summer Stinson (right), Washington state public education advocate: "I’m a huge Warren fan … I was supporting Bernie last time, but I’m supporting Warren and her ‘plan for that’ this time."
Chris Petzold, a Washington state Indivisible chapter founder said, "I’m here for Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren … I really want to see a woman in the White House next, I think it’s beyond time."
Dave Manson, executive director of the Idaho Falls Community Food Basket, wants a candidate who’ll fight poverty.
He was a Sanders supporter in 2016, but he’s undecided now and probably won’t vote for Sanders: "I like the energy, youth, focus, and passion of some of the other candidates."
Stan Shapiro, left, co-founder of Philadelphia Neighborhood Networks, and Bo Dirnbach, a retired schoolteacher, both support Sen. Bernie Sanders.
"There are other candidates who are approaching [Sanders’] level of progressivity, especially Elizabeth Warren," Shapiro said.
Dirnbach, added, "Maybe a Bernie-Warren ticket with Tulsi Gabbard as secretary of defense?"
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