Robert Reich: 7 of the Big Legacies of Bernie Sanders' Historic Campaign

Bernie Sanders’s campaign is now officially over, but the movement he began is still just beginning. He’s provided it seven big legacies:


First, Bernie has helped open America’s eyes to the power of big money corrupting our democracy and thereby rigging our economy to its advantage and everyone else’s disadvantage.  

Polls now show huge majorities of Americans think moneyed interests have too much sway in Washington. And thanks, in large part, to Bernie’s campaign, progressives on Capitol Hill are readying a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, and bills requiring full disclosure of donors, ending gerrymandering, and providing automatic voter registration.

None of these will get anywhere in a Republican-controlled Congress, but they will give progressives a powerful theme for the upcoming election. It’s called democracy.

Second, Bernie has shown that it’s possible to win elections without depending on big money from corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires. He came close to winning the Democratic nomination on the basis of millions of small donations from average working people. No longer can a candidate pretend to believe in campaign finance reform but say they have to take big money because their opponent does.

Third, Bernie has educated millions of Americans about why we must have a single-payer health-care system and free tuition at public universities, and why we must resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act and bust up the biggest banks. These issues will be front and center in every progressive campaign from here out, at all levels of American politics.

Fourth,the Sanders campaign has brought millions of young people into politics, ignited their energy and enthusiasm and idealism.

Fifth, the movement Bernie ignited has pushed Hillary Clinton to take more progressive positions on issues ranging from the minimum wage to the Trans Pacific Partnership, the XL Pipeline, Wall Street, and Social Security.

Sixth, he’s taught Americans how undemocratic the Democratic Party’s system for picking candidates really is. Before Bernie’s candidacy, not many people were paying attention to so-called “super-delegates” or whether independents could vote, or how primary elections and caucuses were run. From now on, people will pay attention. And the Democratic National Committee will be under pressure to make fundamental changes.

Seventh is the real possibility Bernie has inspired of a third party – if the Democratic Party doesn’t respond to the necessity of getting big money out of politics and reversing widening inequality, if it doesn’t begin to advocate for a single-payer healthcare system, or push hard for higher taxes on the wealthy - including a wealth tax - to pay for better education and better opportunities for everyone else, if it doesn’t expand Social Security and lift the cap on income subject to the Social Security payroll tax, if it doesn’t bust up the biggest banks and strengthen antitrust laws, and expand voting rights. 

If it doesn’t act on these critical issues. the Democratic Party will become irrelevant to the future of America, and a third party will emerge to address them. 

Bernie, we thank you for your courage, your inspiration, your tireless dedication, and your vision. And we will continue the fight.

#story_page_post_article

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.