The most important moment of the Sanders revolution is upon us. As we experience the stages of grief over the death of our dream of a Bernie Sanders Presidency, it will be easy to disconnect from what we have accomplished and from what our goals are. It will be easier for us to forget what we loved about our campaign and to give into the feeling that our dream, our Founding Father’s dream of a government of, by and for the people will always be out of reach. From one griever to another, I implore you to lend an ear as we figure out where to go from here.
There are three things that must occur in order for us to move on to the next phase of the revolution, the sooner the better.
First, we must accept that short of an indictment or other such unforeseen event, Bernie Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee, nor will he run as an independent. He will endorse Clinton and ask you to vote for her. Clinton won this with the numbers, we can and should debate about how she got to requisite number of delegates, but we must accept that she did and not get mired down with useless denial. As we have much to do.
Second, we must not disengage. Don’t vow to never vote again, don’t become so disillusioned that you fall back asleep and give your political power over to those that we have been fighting against. Show up in November, show up for your local elections and primaries. Don’t drop out of the process now; this is what the establishment wants and expects.
And most importantly we must realize our power. Step back and look at what we have accomplished. We did not get Sanders elected, but was that the goal? Yes it became the goal, but was it the goal in the beginning? Did Bernie Sanders expect to win the nomination when he first announced? Or was his goal to give voice to the issues that matter, to give voice to the voiceless and get them involved in the political system?
Remember the first time you heard Bernie Sanders speak, what struck you about him? Were you so invested in him personally that first day? No, it was his message. The message that our political system needs to work for us and that we have the power to ensure that it does. Our collective goal in the beginning was to wake up, get involved and force the establishment to address the issues of the working poor and middle class. We found our political power after years of believing that we had none.
We took on the money.
We proved that politicians do not have to take money from special interest groups by putting financial skin in the game ourselves and funding Bernie Sanders’ campaign. (We incidentally outraised Hillary Clinton significantly. Her big money donors could not keep up with us.)
We now know and politicians now know, that it is unnecessary to take bribes in order to be politically competitive. This will have real consequences. We will hold our politicians accountable for where they get their money and hopefully more honest thoughtful people like Sanders will be able to run for office; now that they know that can compete financially if they stand with the people.
Look around in your local political scene, I bet you can find an example of someone who has been inspired to run by Sanders who needs your support. The fact that for the first time, the nominees for both parties were the candidates that spent the least in their respective contests proves how the old system of money influencing politics is changing.
We took on the media
We did not accept that the mainstream media was ignoring Sanders. We took to social media relaying all the latest news from our states. We started blogs and wrote letters to the editor in our local newspapers. We emailed 20-year-old videos of Sanders giving Alan Greenspan what-for on the House floor to our co-workers. We got the word out. We showed up. We filmed the rallies when the press wouldn’t. We forced the mainstream media to cover Bernie Sanders. We showed their bias. We shut off CNN and turned on TYT.
We took on the Democratic Party
Bernie Sanders could have run as an Independent but he did not. Opting instead to get as much political capital as he could by infiltrating the Democratic Party and dragging it back to its working class roots. Had we not supported Sanders surely President Obama would not be talking about expanding social security. Hillary Clinton would not have endorsed a $15 minimum wage. Nor would the country be talking about the consequences of trade deals, big money in politics and affordable college. We forced that dialogue.
We engaged in the process. We forced the DNC’s hand and got more debates when the DNC wanted to hide Sanders’ message and Clinton’s lack of one. We learned the Party rules in our state, and worked to change them for the future. We showed up at the polls and at the state conventions, forcing state Democratic parties to reflect our stances on super delegates and expanding participation. We got Cornel West on the DNC platform committee. We have a real good chance of getting Debbie Wasserman-Schultz out of office.
So where do we go from here? In order for the People’s Revolution to progress we need as a collective and as individuals to simply continue down the path that has worked for us; taking on the money, media and political process.
Continue to fight big money in our political system; push for publicly funded elections in your state. Keep donating small amounts of money to candidates that represent your values. Find or start your local chapter of Wolf-PAC, an initiative to lobby states to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizen’s United. Teach your neighbors that we can no longer turn a blind eye to our government’s system of bribery.
Continue to push against the narrative of the MSM. Seek alternative points of views, but always keep in mind whose agenda is being propagated. Keep yourself informed of the real issues and continue to inform others. Call out the MSM when they lie and fail to address our issues. Continue to write letters to the editor. Film and share the stories that they won’t.
Continue to take on the political system. Force the DNC to get rid of superdelegates. Help third parties get on the ballot. Start a third party. Take on the systematic voter suppression and fraud that you witnessed first hand. Push to do away with provisional ballots and electronic voting machines.
Find politicians like Bernie Sanders. I know you think this will be the hardest. Yet there are people in office and who want to run for office that are honest, gracious, moral and fair. I promise you they are out there. Bernie Sanders was right under your nose for the last thirty years after all.
Bernie Sanders lifted the veil and showed us the political power that we always had. That was his job. It is our job to step up, take our seat at the table and exert that power. While at the table, if you find rules that you don’t like, change them. If you find people that don’t represent you values, vote them out. Show up, speak up and continue the fight. That is what Bernie Sanders will do. That is what we will do.