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A strong day for Bernie Sanders

It’s a heck of a good day for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, bringing two big endorsements and a fundraising milestone.

Bernie SandersSanders was endorsed Thursday by the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 Americans in telecommunications and information technology, the airline industry, news media, broadcast and cable television, education, health care and public service, law enforcement, manufacturing and other fields. (Full disclosure: I’m a member of the CWA-affiliated Pacific Media Workers Guild, though I don’t engage in union political activities.)

CWA has more than 300,000 active and retired members in the states that will hold primaries between now and April 1. In California, Texas, New York, New Jersey and Ohio, where CWA has its largest numbers of members, activists are engaged in worksite actions, staffing phone banks and signing up new contributors to CWA’s political program ahead of the 2016 election.

Union members voted to endorse Sanders “because he is the candidate who is talking about real solutions to make our economy fair again, CWA President Chris Shelton said in a news release.

“Politics as usual has gotten working people nowhere. It’s time for real change. That’s what CWA members are saying, loud and clear,” Shelton said. “Our members are ready to do what it takes to elect Bernie Sanders as the next president of the United States.”

Sanders also was endorsed Thursday by Democracy for America, the national progressive grassroots group that grew out of Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. DFA said this is the first presidential primary endorsement it has ever made, and Sanders took 87.9 percent of the 271,527 votes cast by DFA members nationwide.

“Bernie Sanders is an unyielding populist progressive who decisively won Democracy for America members’ first presidential primary endorsement because of his lifelong commitment to taking on income inequality and the wealthy and powerful interests who are responsible for it,” DFA executive director Charles Chamberlain said in a news release.

“Throughout his campaign, Bernie has repeatedly said that the huge problems of income inequality, money in politics, and structural racism that our country must confront are bigger than a single campaign — they need a political revolution,” Chamberlain added. “With today’s endorsement, DFA members are joining Bernie’s ‘political revolution’ and working to take it both to the White House and up-and-down the ballot, in races coast to coast.”

Finally, Sanders’ campaign announced it has made history by collecting more than 2 million contributions. More than $3 million was raised since an online push was launched Monday to top the 2 million donation mark; of that, about $1.6 million has been raised just since Wednesday.

“What our vision of a political revolution has already accomplished is to show that we can run a strong and we believe winning campaign without a super PAC, without contributions from millionaires and billionaires,” Sanders said in a statement issued Thursday. “We are enormously proud that we have received more individual contributions at this point in the campaign than any candidate who is not an incumbent president. As the campaign continues to succeed, we expect those numbers to grow exponentially.”

Sanders trails Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton by 24 percentage points, according to an average of six recent national polls compiled by Real Clear Politics. In Iowa, he trails Clinton by 18 points, but in New Hampshire, he leads Clinton by 5 points.

The next Democratic presidential primary debate is scheduled for 5 p.m. Pacific Time this Sunday, Dec. 19 on ABC News; it will be held at St. Anselm College in Goffstown, N.H., with David Muir and Martha Raddatz of ABC News as moderators.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.