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The Sunrise Movement Is Mobilizing to Stop Joe Biden

Want the best of VICE News straight to your inbox? Sign up here.WASHINGTON — Despair, denial, desperation, and ultimately, a rededication to electing Sen. Bernie Sanders. That’s how the nation’s preeminent youth climate group is handling the Super Tuesday losses of Sanders, who now looks dangerously close to flopping in his second attempt at the…

The Sunrise Movement Is Mobilizing to Stop Joe Biden

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WASHINGTON — Despair, denial, desperation, and ultimately, a rededication to electing Sen. Bernie Sanders.

That’s how the nation’s preeminent youth climate group is handling the Super Tuesday losses of Sanders, who now looks dangerously close to flopping in his second attempt at the Democratic nomination.

The Sunrise Movement rose to prominence after a Green New Deal protest in front of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office and other hardball tactics earned them props from the progressive left. Earlier this year, they endorsed Sanders on the strength of his embrace of the Green New Deal, and have since been fully absorbed into his campaign, knocking doors, making phone calls and appearing on stage alongside the candidate.

Varshini Prakash, the group’s executive director, led a conference call with group members across the country Sunday night just days before what could be a disappointing blow to Sanders’ campaign in Tuesday’s Michigan primary. She tried to rouse her troops into action after what she called a “rude and clear reminder” of the power of the Democratic establishment and media to sway the electorate.

“We have had some tremendous wins, we have had some close and heart wrenching losses,” she said. “I feel like I cheered, I cried, I raged, I felt confused, I felt defeated, I felt hope, I felt so much love for this movement, and above it all I felt proud.”

READ: The Sunrise Movement bet big on Bernie in 2020. Here’s why.

Super Tuesday was a heartbreaker for Sunrise members, who see climate change as the existential issue of their time and, until last week, were watching their candidate leading the race for the Democratic nod against all odds. Even as she said she doesn’t buy the narrative that Sanders’ Super Tuesday loss was that bad, Prakash said it’s a super close primary that could go either way.

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So what now? Well, they’re open to ideas — and they’re asking their members to go rogue.

Whether it’s hosting a teach-in at school, a get-out-the-vote party, a social media campaign, or canvassing on the dating app, Tinder, Prakash said she doesn’t want her members to wait for instructions from group leaders about where to show up and how to protest.

“We need to embody what Martin Luther King described as a fierce urgency of now and we don’t totally know how exactly we’re going to do this,” Prakash said. “We also need to start thinking more creatively and outside the box about what we can do that goes beyond convincing one voter at a time. We need to think about how we can make 2020 a generational uprising for a Green New Deal.”

That could lead to some bold and unpredictable protests over the next few months. Prakash called for a return to the “moral protests,” “strikes,” and “strategic disruption,” that catapulted the group from unknown advocates to a regular fixture in progressive politics, like the Pelosi protest or a days-long sleep-in on the outdoor steps of the Democratic National Committee office calling for a climate debate.

READ: Sanders vs. Biden is about to get really, really ugly

One group member chimed in on the chat section of the Zoom app Sunrise used to hold the conference call that they’re planning a banner drop at former Vice President Joe Biden’s Philadelphia campaign office. Another suggested Bernie-related graffiti on the sidewalks and walls around schools. Yet another is self-publishing a Green New Deal for Christians book.

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