Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign manager will be American Civil Liberties Union national political director Faiz Shakir, the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
The move means that Sanders, who in 2016 became the most successful Jewish presidential candidate in American history, will have his campaign steered by the first-ever Muslim presidential campaign manager.
Shakir is a former aide to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. He has worked at the ACLU since 2017, where he helped lead the organization’s legal challenges to Trump administration policies like the travel ban from Muslim-majority countries and the family separation policy at the Mexican border. Like Sanders, Shakir and the ACLU have come out strongly against state and national anti-BDS laws on constitutional grounds.
Before joining the ACLU, Shakir was the editor in chief of ThinkProgress, the blog of the liberal Center for American Progress think tank. One prominent ThinkProgress author then was Matt Duss, now Sanders’ top foreign-policy advisor. Under his tenure, the blog was criticized by Jewish organizations for an alleged anti-Israel bias that some said morphed into anti-Semitism. In an interview with Tablet in 2017, Shakir called those complaints “unjustified” and “overblown.”
In the 24 hours after announcing his candidacy, Sanders raised $5.9 million dollars from more than 225,000 donors, his campaign announced Wednesday. That number dwarfs the $1.5 million from 38,000 donors raised by California Sen. Kamala Harris in the 24 hours after her launch.