OPINION: Sanders’ message will endure in Democratic party


When the Associated Press received the remaining super delegate commitments and declared Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee on Monday night, the party’s two campaigns reiterated their focuses on the states voting the next day.

In some respects, these similar uncoordinated responses reflect the prevailing solidarity in the party in contrast to the mess happening on the other side.

Often the two candidates agreed on the issues asked of them in the debates, POLITICO’s Nolan McCaskill said in “9 things Clinton and Sanders agreed on during the debate,” such as manufacturing and instant background checks.

Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, likely mournful and a little frustrated now, should know that voting for Clinton in November is the most efficient way to ensure Sanders’ creed will be pursued and that it has already been driven into the hearts of the party’s future leaders, establishing sustainability for his political revolution.

Political influence

Victory for Sanders supporters may be the tangible influence the candidate will leave on the trajectory of liberal politics, Clare Foran said in The Atlantic article, “A Pivotal Moment for Bernie Sanders.”

Among Sanders’ campaign proposals, transparency and administration of the primary system will be pushed for with the implementation of: A secret ballot in caucuses á la the GOP’s system; universal primary vote reporting; a curtailed superdelegate function; and a complete opening of closed primaries to expand the party to Independents, BuzzFeed News’ Ruby Cramer said in, “Sanders Campaign Considers Party Reform Fight.”

Sanders’ success in achieving members on the platform committee comes in an attempt by the Democratic National Committee to quell potential floor fights by Sanders’ delegates, according to Nicholas Confessore in The New York Times article, “Bernie Sanders and Allies Aim to Shape Democrats’ Agenda After Primaries.”

2016 isn’t 2008

Glazing over the difference between her 2008 ambitions and Sanders’, Clinton has begun to implore Sanders to emulate the consolidation of supporters around the nominee that she oversaw in 2008.

Sanders disowned that duty, withholding any obvious inclinations to unite the party as she did in 2008 in hopes for a position in the nominee’s administration or a later run for president, which Sanders is unlikely to do, NPR’s Tamara Keith said in, “With The Nomination All But Decided, Clinton’s And Sanders’ Goals Change.”

Compared to 2008, the Democratic nominee of 2016 has won from the right of their primary challenger. As a result, Clinton cannot reach out to bitter Sanders supporters with, “You’re stuck with the incremental change from the establishment candidate that you’ve been conditioned to fight against for a year.”

The future

The reliable segment of support Sanders received from young people may have come, in part as a response to the relatively moderate platform Clinton started on, and as a rejection to the translucent pandering targeting them, Matthew Yglesias said in Vox article, “Bernie Sanders is (still) the future of the Democratic Party.”

“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,” Yglesias said.

So what’s next for the Vermont senator?

Returning to the Senate with all the privileges that come with his new prominence in national politics, Sanders will uphold his recent affiliation with the party of the Democratic colleagues he’s been caucusing with for 26 years as an Independent.

His insurgency may find solace in Brand New Congress, a new political action committee pursuing the historic fundraising and volunteer infrastructure of Sanders’ primary campaign in a presidential-style campaign, Samantha Lachman said in Huffington Post article, “Former Bernie Sanders Staffers Seek To Elect A ‘Brand New Congress.”

I believe this will encourage people to elect cross-party Sanders-esque candidates in the 2018 midterm elections.

Speaking in February to hundreds of his supporters at an evening rally in Rochester, Minnesota, Sanders made it clear that his election was not his central goal.

“There is something more important,” Sanders said. “It is about transforming America. It is about thinking big and the kind of country we want to become.”

His presidential candidacy may be over, but Sanders will persist in the political implications of his campaign moving forward.

Contributing writer for the Collegian. I’m a senior studying journalism and mass communications and working on minors in political science and music. I also manage digital operations as a communications fellow with the Kansas Democratic Party; I do not report on or write about anything political unless it shows up in the opinion section.