April 5, 2016
Defeating Trump can’t be enough. If Sanders really wants to pull Clinton left, he must make her earn his support
Sanders’ political revolution has already begun, no matter what happens to his specific campaign and whether or not he leads it. It is gaining more strength by the day.
Feared because of his impressive successes to date, the Democratic Party machinery has increased pressure on Sanders to withdraw from the race.
Except for brief interludes, the mainstream media has all but ignored his campaign, occupying itself instead with the often silly titillations of the Republican “race.” But Bernie Sanders has vowed to continue till the last vote is casted.
But with or without winning the nomination, the Sanders’ campaign has already achieved a political milestone.
THE BEST AGENDA SETTER
Income and wealth inequality, the corrupt campaign finance system, and the revolving door between Wall Street and the White House are now a part of the everyday conversations across the country.
The calls for a $15 minimum wage, student debt forgiveness, free public higher education and a single payer system have gained support among millions of Americans.
As a nation, we are far ahead of where we were a year ago when Sanders announced his candidacy. Sanders also broke with the longstanding American disease of declaring this country as incomparable and in a class of one.
His insistence on looking at Europe and asking why nations there can have health care for all at affordable prices and not sink their young with student debt puts important questions on the American agenda for the future.
These pressing issues can’t be airbrushed out of the American picture of the future.
Given these achievements, Sanders is right to continue campaigning with the goal to win the nomination. However, his campaign must seriously consider the possibility of not winning the nomination and must work on developing the most appropriate strategy to continue the political revolution.
THE “E” QUESTION (AS IN ENDORSEMENT)
What should the campaign do if Sanders fails to win the nomination? Under what conditions should Sanders endorse Hillary Clinton? This may be the thorniest question in the Sanders campaign now.
The Clinton campaign seems to feel secure in the assumption that it will receive Sanders’ endorsement in July.
Banking on Democratic voters’ disgust with Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-women positions, the Clinton team is confident of getting the support of a big segment of Sanders’ followers in the general election.
Sanders’ supporters would not want Trump as the next president of the United States. However, opposition toward Trump should not be viewed an unconditional endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
Fearing a Trump victory should not lead to abandoning the legitimate demands of the millions who have joined his political movement. Hillary Clinton should still do the work to earn the vote of Sanders’ supporters. (This will also strengthen her efforts against Trump more than taking them for granted.)
SPELLING OUT THE CONDITIONS
The time is now for Sanders to clearly specify the exact conditions for his possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton in July.