The End of Bernie Sanders’ Campaign is not the End of His Movement

Bernie’s idea of a “political revolution” can and will live on through young Democrats.

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks to a crowd in Los Angeles in August. (Photo credit: Michael Holden — Flickr)

After Sen. Bernie Sanders’ losses in all five of the states holding primaries on March 15th, many people have called Tuesday’s results the final nails in the coffin of the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Of course, this may well be true. The delegate math for Bernie looks all but impossible moving forward, even with expected wins in many of the states through April. Bernie would need to win states like New York and California by a decisive margin to hope to have a majority of delegates going into the convention, and even then it’s not a guarantee that enough super-delegates would switch their votes from Clinton to Sanders when the actual convention happens.

Yes, Bernie’s campaign might well run out of steam, and he will more likely lose the primary contest than not, but that does not mean that his “political revolution” is over. Bernie Sanders has touched a very large swath of the Democratic party with his message of hope, equality, and justice, and that is something that has dug its roots firmly within the Democratic Party, especially within the millennial generation, who Bernie has been the strongest with by far. His message of big, inspiring, and progressive values has reached many millions of people, as shown by his ability to raise tens of millions of dollars from millions of individual contributions averaging under thirty dollars apiece. While it sounds like a typical talking point for Sanders, it is quite an achievement to consider. No candidate in history has ever had such a large “crowd-funded” campaign, and it speaks to the impact that Sanders’ campaign has had on Americans on the whole.

While Sanders might not win the Democratic nomination, it is certain that his big progressive values that have true staying power. My message is simple: Do not give up hope. Everyone who supported Bernie Sanders, especially young people, should continue to work hard to make sure the Democratic Party is representative of our values. It is easy to blame the party for their handling of the primary, or how conservative they've become, and it is easy to become jaded and give up hope on this years presidential election process. However, the defeatist attitude accomplishes nothing, and is exactly what Bernie Sanders has been trying to counter with his campaign.

Sen. Bernie Sanders at a rally in Portland, OR (Photo credit: Troy Wayrynen — AP)

In order to change the Democratic Party, people need to change the party from the inside out. The best way to effect change is through a local level upwards to the state and national stages. More often than not, many seats on town and city Democratic committees go empty. These are the grassroots positions in localities that are the most basic way in which local politics are shaped, and most people don’t even know they exist and never bother to run for them. State politics go ignored, despite the fact that many decisions made by a state government effect the people just as much as the federal government. In order to truly carry on Bernie Sanders’ so-called “political revolution,” it is imperative that people maintain the same level of political consciousness that they have had throughout this primary campaign and use it to try to effect politics on the local level. People should also get involved with local labor movements in order to ensure that workers get a fair deal and a fair income. Bernie’s campaign has been about change and justice, and if we want to see a new era of progressive change and justice, if we want to see campaign finance reform, if we want to see health care guaranteed as a right to all people, the sure fire way to move to that goal is to get involved, be an activist, be informed, and possibly run for office yourself.

Bernie’s campaign might not have a chance of winning the Democratic primary, but there’s a reason why he has constantly made the point throughout that this is our movement, not just his. In order to make the change we want to see, we the people, as well as we the millennials, need to stay involved in the political process and advocate for the issues that matter to us. Senator Sanders has tapped into a ferocious force within the new liberal generation, and in order to capitalize on it we must not lose hope beyond this presidential election, and we must look forward and make sure that our elected officials are held accountable for their actions, and that our progressive values are advocated on every level of government.

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