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Movement Updates

With surge in youth vote and 92% of caucus-goers supporting the Green New Deal, Sunrise Movement helps deliver Sanders win in Iowa

Des Moines, IA —Today, after a four-day delay in the release of caucus results, Bernie Sanders is declaring victory in the Iowa Caucus after the Iowa Democratic party’s results show him winning a majority of votes on the first and second alignment. This victory comes in the first major contest of the 2020 presidential Democratic primary, showcasing the dynamism of his youth voting base and the overwhelming popularity of the Green New Deal as a governing agenda. With 97% of precincts reporting, the results as of now show a Sanders victory with a lead of nearly 6,000 votes in the first alignment and 2,518 in the final alignment. With the margin of victory in second voting being under 3,000, and Sunrise Movement getting over 7,000 young Iowan voters to pledge to caucus for a Green New Deal champion as a part of our intensive 6 month field program and national endorsement of Sanders, it’s safe to say that our movement helped deliver the margin of victory for Sanders in this key race.

Iowa also saw an overall youth voter share increase of 33% from 2016 levels, with Sanders capturing 48% of the youth vote according to the Washington Post. Since the announcement of the Sunrise endorsement last month, the climate crisis rose to be the most popular issue along with healthcare for Iowan Democratic caucus-goers and the constituency’s support for the Green New Deal surged by 10 percentage points, reaching a record total of 92% according to the most recent polling by Data for Progress.

“Young people across Iowa turned out in historic numbers to show that our generation is the largest political force in this nation,” Sunrise Movement co-founder Varshini Prakash stated in a recap video of caucus night. “Our movement and our Iowa team quite literally shifted public opinion on the climate crisis — bringing Iowan public support for the Green New Deal to an unprecedented majority and helping to push Green New Deal champion Bernie Sanders to the top of the race. If this many young people participated in the notoriously inaccessible and time-intensive Iowa caucuses, this could be a promising sign for even higher youth turnout in New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday to bring Sanders more victories.”

“The Democratic Party’s intransparent delay in results matched with their decision to release partial results over an undisclosed timeline was completely unacceptable and undemocratic,” Sunrise Movement Political Director Evan Weber said. “Young people already have an immense amount of distrust for the Democratic Party because we see the ways in which the establishment has consistently shut us and our issues out in favor of maintaining a broken status quo. Disasters like this throw fuel to the fire — but we’re channeling that fire into organizing thousands of young people in New Hampshire to generate historic youth turnout like we did in Iowa and deliver a mandate for a Green New Deal and a Bernie Sanders presidency.”

In the final week before the caucus alone, Sunrise leaders across the country made over 18,000 calls to Iowans to get them to turn out for Bernie Sanders. Sunrise Iowa also partnered with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement to look beyond the caucus and this election cycle, bringing together community leaders to sketch out a motivating vision for what winning the Green New Deal would mean for Iowa — as depicted in an animated video that premiered on the day of the caucus.

“Over the last 6 months, we’ve canvassed through sleet and snow and met thousands of young Iowans,” Sunrise Movement Iowa organizer Mona Abhari, 23, said. “The team here has kept pushing through the doubts of the entire professional political class, and accomplished so much. If we’re going to defeat Trump and win a Green New Deal, this has to just be the beginning. 2020 is going to be a pivotal year — not just for our generation, but for every single generation that will follow us for centuries to come.”

Senator Sanders made the Green New Deal a cornerstone of his campaign strategy in Iowa. In addition to investing millions into television and digital ad buys highlighting his Green New Deal platform and how it would transform Iowans lives, the campaign also held a series of prominent climate crisis town halls that spotlighted Sunrise Movement and progressive figures like Rep. Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Ro Khanna, and more.

“Do not underestimate your power,” Senator Sanders directed towards American youth in a tweet posted on the day of the caucus. “You will transform this country if you turn out to vote.”