In a recent email to his supporters, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed eight more down-ballot progressives, including Jane Kim, who is running to be a California state senator, and Clara Hart, a refugee from Mozambique who is running for the South Dakota House. Just a day before that, Sanders appointed multiple activists to the Democratic Party's platform-writing body ahead of this summer's convention, including Palestinian liberation activist James Zogby and racial justice activist Cornel West. In doing these things, Sanders is pushing progressivism at every level of government, and is including voices that are generally not heard in the political sphere.
Sanders should not necessarily be congratulated for this; the only reason he has come this far as someone who advocates for justice is because activists have been showing up at his rallies to demand that he do better. That being said, Sanders is actively working to dismantle the Democratic Party's status quo. In appointing people like Zogby and Native American activist Deborah Parker to the party-writing body, he is giving them a platform to create urgently needed change for marginalized communities. Moreover, his new endorsements demonstrate the importance of local elections when it comes to carrying out his progressive vision.
It is of crucial importance that progressives are elected into other offices, in addition to the presidency. While I have no faith in the political system's ability to produce genuine change, I would also rather have people in office who actively seek this change, rather than people who are content to preserve a status quo of systemic injustice. I'm also not confident that the Democratic Party can actually be salvaged from its position as the "not Republican" party at this point, but if Sanders and the activists he has appointed are willing to push the party platform further to the left, then it's something worth trying.
Even as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pressures Sanders to drop out, even as the delegate math does not seem to be in Sanders' favor, it is vital that he continue fighting for a political revolution. He might even do well to join forces with the Green Party's Jill Stein if he doesn't win the Democratic Party nomination. But even if he does make a departure from the Democratic Party, he — and more importantly, the activists and progressives who have invested so much physical and emotional labor into this movement — will have left behind an important call to combat injustice and remedy corruption.