Bernie Sanders' 'Washington Post' Op-Ed Is A Classic Feel The Bern Message
The race for the White House is entering the next stage, as both major parties now have their presumptive nominees. But as presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton gear up to put their general election campaigns into motion, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has some important words for the world: The political revolution is far from over.
In an op-ed published by The Washington Post on Thursday morning, the Vermont senator noted how, as the Democratic Party heads toward its July convention, he often hears the question "What does Bernie want?" He notes that this is the wrong question. What we should be asking instead is what his more than 12 million supporters — who have voted for him over the course of the last four months — have been demanding.
Sanders lists some of the most important struggles facing the American people, including the 47 million living in poverty, the campaign finance system, the criminal justice system's institutions of mass incarceration and policing, and the serious crisis facing the planet that is climate change.
Sanders has been adamant for the last few weeks about his intention to continuing his campaign through to the July convention, even though Clinton has the delegates in her favor. However, in an interview with C-SPAN, he told Steve Scully: "It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee, so I’m not going to be determining the scope of the convention." But he continued, "What our job is now is to have [Clinton] listen to what millions of people in this country who supported me want to see happen. We’ll see how that evolves."
It's true that Clinton's biggest challenge moving forward will be uniting the party and reaching out to Sanders' supporters and take their concerns seriously. But will that be possible? According to a Bloomberg Politics national poll from last week, only slightly over half of Sanders' supporters will vote for Clinton in the general election. In April, one Sanders supporter, Yahne Ndgo, who also supports the "Bernie or Bust" movement, told CNN, "I won't vote for Hillary. I can't vote for her. ... I think issues matter as it relates to Bernie Sanders, it's much more about also ideology. It's also about the driving force around humanity. And that's what Bernie Sanders represents."
Sanders made calls to action in his op-ed. He made it clear to the world that just because his campaign may be coming to an end does not mean that the issues which drove his campaign are over. He says that the people who voted for Sanders, or who support the strides he has worked to make for social justice, will continue fighting for just that.
On poverty, Sanders wrote, "We want an economy that protects the human needs and dignity of all people — children, the elderly, the sick, working people and the poor."
On campaign financing, Sanders wrote, "We want a vibrant democracy and a well-informed electorate that knows that its views can shape the future of the country."
On the criminal justice system, Sanders wrote, "We have 2.2 million people rotting behind bars at an annual expense of $80 billion. We want a criminal justice system that addresses the causes of incarceration, not one that simply imprisons more people ... We want the best educated population on earth, not the most incarcerated population."
On climate change, Sanders wrote, "The debate is over. Climate change is real ... We want to leave this planet in a way that is healthy and habitable for future generations."
Though his campaign is all but over, the ideology which drove his political revolution is not. Sanders' supporters showed up for him in the millions because they want and need change, and a Clinton nomination won't alter that fact, but could likely ignite it further.
As Sanders wrote in his article, "we want a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is what we want, and that is what we will continue fighting for."