Several of the founders of March For Our Lives, the anti-gun group founded by students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have officially come out in favor of a 78-year old Democrat running for president. It’s not 78-year old Michael Bloomberg, who has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and years pushing for gun control laws in Congress and around the country, but 78-year old Bernie Sanders, who’s actually backed some pro-2A legislation over the years (though not recently).
The Sun-Sentinel newspaper reports that, despite being aligned with Bloomberg on his anti-gun agenda, the young gun control activists are definitely feeling the Bern.
“I’m so, so excited to endorse Bernie because I know he’s created a movement,” March for Our Lives co-founder Delaney Tarr said in the video. “A movement in the way that the march has, that so many other youth activists have, one that’s not focused on a person, or a candidate, or even just an election, but on change.”
Other Stoneman Douglas alums Ryan Deitsch and Chris Grady also announced their support for Sanders in the video, along with other gun-violence activists that have associated with the March for Our Lives organization since its inception.
One gun control activist in particular has taken to bashing Bloomberg online. Cameron Kasky, who was backing Andrew Yang,
“I am very proud of the Democratic Party for making it clear last night that Mike Bloomberg cannot buy our votes,” Kasky tweeted Thursday, less than 24 hours after Bloomberg’s public evisceration in the Democrats’ ninth primary debate. “One racist, sexist Republican in office is enough.”
I’m not sure if Kasky’s objections to Bloomberg buying elections is only limited those in which the anti-gun billionaire is actually on the ballot, or if he also has a problem with, say, Bloomberg’s gun control group spending at least $8-million to try to turn Texas blue. I suspect that Kasky would claim there’s some loophole in his sense of ethics that says buying the presidency is one thing, and buying a state legislature is another, but I could be wrong.
It’s not just March For Our Lives, by the way. There are several members of Moms Demand Action who’ve been pretty vocal about their non-support for Bloomberg the candidate, as Buzzfeed reported in December.
“We don’t need another business person in office,” said Rhonda Hart, 38, a volunteer with Moms Demand Action in Texas and an Everytown Survivor Fellow, which means she went through a sort of leadership training program. Hart’s daughter, Kimberly Vaughan, died in the Santa Fe High School shooting in May 2018, after a student opened fire in her art class and killed 10 people.
“While he’s our largest donor, it doesn’t mean he is the organization himself,” said Alanna Miller, 19, the Students Demand Action volunteer leader at Duke University and a member of the organization’s national advisory board. “He’s just like any other candidate.”
Many volunteers who spoke with BuzzFeed News pointed out that Moms Demand Action encourages its volunteers to support all “gun sense” candidates. Currently, all 17 of the declared Democratic 2020 presidential hopefuls applied for and received the Mom’s Demand “gun sense candidate accreditation.”
You can explain away the March For Our Lives activists’ support for Bernie Sanders pretty easily. Sanders is easily the top choice for Democrats under the age of 35, while Bloomberg scores most of his support from voters over the age of 50. I think it’s very telling that many Moms Demand Action activists, especially those who are a little higher up the organization’s food chain and have met Bloomberg, are standoffish at best about his candidacy. Bloomberg’s throwing money at micro-influencers and public officials to get their support, yet he’s the biggest funder of Moms Demand Action and he can’t get many of them on his side? What gives?