Sanders urges party to go beyond comfort zone

OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Bernie Sanders, who attracted millions of college-aged and young adults to his presidential campaign a year ago, is following through on a promise he made when he left the race: to promote younger leaders for the Democratic Party. It's part of an eight-state circuit of rallies with Democratic National Committee leaders.

"From now on in, the Democratic Party will be a party of 50 states, and that most certainly includes the attractive state of Utah" he said.

They view Sanders as a uniquely powerful bulwark against the party's embrace of policies (free trade, austerity, privatization, etc.) they despise. Sanders campaigned for Mello during the tour.

Others, such as Tom Pierrello of Virginia, reflect Sanders' challenge to the party establishment. "It is imperative that Jon Ossoff be elected congressman from Georgia's 6th District and that Democrats take back the U.S. House", Sanders said in statement.

But the rancor both onstage and in the crowds indicate the party can not simply paper over the internal divisions exposed during the Democratic primary battle past year between Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Perez's predecessor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, resigned after Sanders' campaign pounced on leaked emails that they said showed party officials had favored Clinton during the primaries. But Sanders repeated his line that President Trump "did not win the election; the Democrats lost the election".

"People are not involved if you're not thinking about running for school board, city council, state legislature or whatever it is", said Sanders. They want to hear that optimistic message of inclusion.

Sanders drew big cheers from the crowd when he brought up immigration. It is time we got involved in a way that we have never done before.

It takes more than being a younger Democrat for a candidate to gain Sanders' support. When the crowd reacted, organizers changed the song and turned up the volume. "Although he has not started that conversation with us, our door is always open and we welcome the opportunity to start a productive dialogue on how Heath Mello can help us promote and protect access to women's health care in Nebraska".

"The current process by which the Democratic Party does business is a failed process". She supported Sanders in last year's primary.

Over the last few days, Sanders's has at times offered some odd comments for a guy pushing for Democratic unity.

Sanders said Democrats need to represent all 50 states not just the East and West coasts and focus more on protecting the working class.

"Donald Trump, we will lead the resistance and that's exactly what we're doing together", Perez said. "The best I can fathom is that they have simply convinced him that a united front against [US President] Donald Trump is going to be the best way under this system to oppose the most right wing tendencies of this administration".