Saturday, April 23, 2016
Why Bernie Sanders' Campaign Must and Will Continue
Bernie Sanders is still attracting huge crowds to his rallies.
He still has the enthusiastic support of most young progressives.
In every one of the last three months, he has managed to raise more money than Hillary Clinton. Even though donations to his campaign average only $27, compared to the thousands Clinton gets from her wealthy supporters.
But after losing the big New York primary, the establishment voices calling on him to end his campaign, are getting louder and louder.
And more brutal.
It’s time for Bernie Sanders to admit that Hillary Clinton is winning the primary fair and square, and if he can’t do that, it’s time for him to quit.
Things have been getting sour for Team Sanders for weeks now, but, in the past week, the campaign took a decisive turn away from positive campaigning and actually trying to win towards focusing a baffling amount of energy on a futile narrative about how his losses don’t really count.
But while it's true that Sanders' chances of winning the nomination are slim, and his failure to win the support of African-Americans is hurting him badly.
He also has reason to complain about the way millions of his potential supporters are being disenfranchised. Not allowed to vote, because the establishment closed down applications to join the Democrats more than six months ago.
And he does have at least four good reasons to continue his campaign all the way to the convention.
One, he is still the candidate polls suggest has the best chance of beating Donald Trump and Ted Cruz.
Two, as Matthew Yglesias points out, Sanders and his young supporters are the future of the Democrats.
Sanders is the overwhelming choice of young voters, scoring 67 percent of voters under 30 in New York even while losing overall amidst a set of election rules that were highly unfavorable to his cause. National Reuters polls now show him with a large 56-38 edge over Clinton with voters below the age of 40.
And they want to take that party to the left.
What's clear is that there's robust demand among Democrats — especially the next generation of Democrats — to remake the party along more ideological, more social democratic lines, and party leaders are going to have to answer that demand or get steamrolled.
Thirdly, Sanders is trying to build more than just a party. He's trying to build a movement.
Despite the “Bernie” thing, Sanders presents his persona as no more than the sum of the ideas and principles he puts before the electorate in pursuit of a “political revolution” against a political system in thrall to corporate cash. It’s a project he hopes will outlive his candidacy, and even his person.
“A campaign has got to be much more than just getting votes and getting elected,” he told an interviewer soon after launching his run. “It has to be helping to educate people, organize people. If we can do that, we can change the dynamic of politics for years and years to come.”
For only a movement can power the kind of revolution we need if we are going to save the world.
And lastly but not leastly, only by staying in the race all the way to the convention can Sanders hope to force Clinton as far as possible to the left, and as he is already doing, have her incorporate his ideas into her platform.
So the despite the disappointment of New York, the struggle must continue.
The Bernie Revolution marches on.
And the dream still lives...
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