WATCH |The DNC wants a piece of the Bernie Sanders revolution. They're rolling out the red -- or should I say blue? -- carpet for Sanders at big rallies and media events to try and win over his progressive supporters who have broken from the party. But will it work?
'Come together, fight back'
This week, DNC Chairman Tom Perez and Sanders teamed up for a nationwide unity tour dubbed "Come together, fight back."
The objective? Bring alienated voters -- including frustrated progressives and moderate swing voters -- to the Democratic party.
They're not going to typically blue states. Instead they are stumping in states where Trump won over working-class voters.
Political strategists say the tour is a good move for both Sanders and Perez.
"It's very good for the party to sort of bring back the energy and the youth from Bernie's team. It's also really good for Bernie to sort of expand his base of operations, so to speak, to the party," said Michael Cohen, deputy director of the Political Management Program at George Washington University.
Leeching off the revolution?
Sanders supporters, however, think Perez needs Sanders more than Sanders needs Perez.
"I do not think Perez could do this tour on his own," said Amber Hileman, a Sanders supporter attending one of rallies on the "Come together, fight back" tour in Miami, Florida. "He doesn’t have the support to get people here to listen to his message."
Other Sanders fans at the rally told Circa they felt like the DNC was taking taking advantage of Sanders and progressives.
Don't forget, Sanders still says he doesn't even consider himself a Democrat.
"If the Democratic Party is going to succeed -- and I want to see it succeed -- it's gonna have to open its door to independents," Sanders said in an interview Tuesday on MSNBC.
"There are probably more independents in this country than Democrats or Republicans. It's got to open its doors to working people and to young people, create a grassroots party. That's what we need," he added.
Democrats have to be genuine
Democratic party leaders now see Sanders and his independent "Berners" as a valuable tool to reinvigorate a fractured party. That's a pretty big change from just a year ago, when the DNC viewed the 75-year-old senator and his followers as a threat to Hillary Clinton's campaign.
Their new message of unity will only work if it's authentic.
"You need to inspire the people that number one, the party's listening to you, and number two, there's a place for you here,” Cohen said.
Revolution takes action
But it's going to take more than just a few rallies with Sanders on a unity tour. Democrats will have to prove that they truly support Sanders' progressive platform, and that means real movement on ideas like tuition-free college and a single-payer health care system.
"The difference between Bernie being a mascot and being a voice is a huge deal for these supporters, and that only happens over time,” Cohen said.
Will it work?
Can the DNC work with progressive leaders and independents to unify the party? The jury is still out.
"I think the party can be unified with Bernie Sanders or someone who is more progressive thinking like him," said Shahini Fakhourie, who also attended the Miami rally.
"I don’t believe that this party can ever be unified and I don’t think its going to work," Hileman said.