By JONAS POGGI
Last May, a white-haired senior citizen from the second smallest state in the country embarked on a mission to change the United States of America. This man is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who last May from the steps of Capital Hill announced his presidential campaign. Sanders at the time was the only member of the Democratic Party to challenge political mogul Hillary Clinton– and Sanders wasn’t even part of the party. Sanders was viewed merely as a fringe candidate, whose only purpose in the race would be to push Clinton further to left, a place she sits hesitantly.
This viewpoint held by many was false. Sanders did not enter the race to bring new issues to light; rather, he entered the race to win. Sanders brought new issues to the table for Hillary as well as the nation to face: elimination of college tuition, decriminalization of marijuana, campaign finance reform, single-payer healthcare, and reparation of infrastructure among many others.
Slowly but surely, Sanders closed the gap between himself and Hillary in the polls, to the point where he is ahead of her in some. Sanders’ campaign has taken off based solely on individual donations. He does not rely on super PAC donations, a major source of funding for nearly every other candidate. Without a PAC, Sanders has raised nearly the same amount of money as Clinton had, based solely on individual contributions that average $27 per donation.
So what’s next for the Sanders campaign? Does Sanders have a trick up his sleeve that will knock Clinton out of her spot? Will he unveil a bombshell policy that will give him enough momentum to win the race? Could an indictment halt Clinton’s campaign? Will Bernie Sanders be able to win the nomination and subsequently the presidency?
The answer is simple: it doesn’t matter. Sanders has already won.
Sanders is calling his campaign a “political revolution”. Although the campaign start as a revolution, that is exactly what it’s become. The Sanders campaign is a campaign based on only individual donations rivaling a campaign based off of a Super PAC and corporate donations, a campaign that has pulled the largest crowds of any candidate, a campaign that is based on putting a “socialist” in the White House.
This campaign has swept American voters off their feet. Even though he doesn’t have as many voters as Clinton does, almost everyone has heard his message: not a message based on hate or discrimination, but a message based on helping those in need. This message has been spread across the country, and what many members of the American demos once considered radical liberalism and democratic socialism has been normalized.
This is how Sanders has won. Sanders is setting an example for others with his views wishing to pursue politics. He has become the first modern democratic socialist; indubitably, he will not be the last.
This revolution is not about putting Sanders in the White House, it is instead about changing politics on all levels. For there to be real change in this country, it must come from the local level. This would mean putting people with the ideas held by Sanders in smaller positions: school board, city council, mayor, state senator, or representative.
The Bernie Sanders campaign has already proved beyond any doubt that it is possible to have campaigns based off of the individual’s ideas and not the ideas of their corporate backers, campaigns based off of small donations, campaigns that are in the interests of the masses. The Sanders campaign will not be the only campaign like this. More people will start their own campaigns like this. And, like Bernie, they will win.
A large portion of Bernie’s support group are people under 30. Typically, this age group is one of the smallest in voter turn out. But now, these people are voting, and they’re voting for Sanders. These people will be the future of American politics. This indicates that there will be an increase in these new Democrats not only voting for other other Democrats, but also running for office themselves. Typically this would mean running for Congress or another large, national office– but the influence of the Sanders campaign has gone far beyond that.
As a grassroots movement, the campaign is centered around organization. These Sanders supporters will not only run for national office, or even for state office, but for local office. These future leaders will draw inspiration from Sanders campaign style as well as his ideology. The new generation of social democrats will be able to trace their roots back to the white-haired senior citizen who changed the political process.
This is the future of American politics. It all starts with that angry old man’s seemingly impossible campaign. Even if Sanders doesn’t become president, he has already left a permanent mark on the future of this nation. And by doing that, Bernie Sanders has already won.