At the start of this week, Bernie Sanders announced that he is running for the office of the President of the United States for a second time. Along with that announcement, Bernie also announced that his 2020 campaign manager is going to be Faiz Shakir, a progressive, Muslim advocate, and National Political Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Regardless of your opinion on Bernie, this is a huge deal. Faiz is almost certainly the first Muslim campaign manager for a presidential election in history. He is also the first American of Pakistani descent to be a campaign manager of a campaign in the U.S. Shakir will replace Jeff Weaver, Sanders’ former campaign manager and close friend — although Weaver will still be part of the campaign as well.
For those who don’t know who Shakir is, his most recent position was serving as the National Political Director of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), which he joined in 2017. Under this role, Shakir developed and implemented strategies to advance the organization’s priorities at the federal and state levels. Shakir has also worked as a senior advisor to former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, as well as a senior advisor/Director of Digital Media for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. He has done amazing work fighting for the LGBTQ community, and the American Muslim community, as well as many other groups and issues.
Since Shakir joined the ACLU around the time Donald Trump became president, he has also become known for leading a myriad of legal battles against the Trump administration. Needless to say, Shakir is an incredible asset to our democracy and hiring him was an intelligent move by Sanders. Although Shakir has little campaign experience, it seems most people already planning to vote for Bernie agree that hiring him was a smart decision because he is well-respected in the Democratic party and in progressive circles in general. Just listen to what Adam Jentleson, Harry Reid’s former deputy chief of staff, stated for CNN:
“Faiz is a diehard progressive who knows how to work effectively within the system…Reid did not make a big decision without consulting Faiz. There’s no one he trusted more on how the progressive community would react on something and no one whose advice he took more seriously on pushing him to the left.”
These are HUGE statements that speak volumes for how valuable Shakir’s presence in this campaign is going to be. After all, in order to run a successful campaign, you need to be able to trust the people in your inner circle, and you need to know that they have the best for your campaign in mind, as well as what’s best for the people, not just themselves.
Beyond his work ethic, Shakir also provides another asset for Sanders with his age and ethnicity. As a 39-year-old American of Pakistani origin, Shakir will bring a youthful vibrancy to the campaign, along with the unique ability, as a POC, to tap into the issues plaguing individuals of all diversities. But, as already explained, Shakir’s younger age doesn’t mean he’s short on accomplishments and experiences. His goal is to move the government as “left” as possible, and according to sources close to him, he’s already done a tremendous amount to accomplish that.
Again, no matter what your stance on Bernie Sanders is, hiring Faiz Shakir was no doubt a power move that’s telling for how Sanders is planning on running this campaign compared to his previous one. Shakir will bring youthfulness, diversity, professionalism, and intellect to the race. He’ll make sure to fight for what’s right, while also fighting for everyone’s individual rights. Together, Sanders and Shakir will be a power team who will work to tear down the injustices and damage that the current term had created. The 2020 presidential election is already looking like one for the books.