Back in 2013 and 2014, the name Bernie Sanders probably didn’t mean much to the majority of Americans. Yet, in 2016 he was able to inspire young people to turn out in record numbers to vote for him, but how?
Sanders’ policies aligned with what we all had wondered about and dreamt of, but very few candidates actually advocated for. His interests were always in the American people rather than corporate or political interests. Bernie’s campaign was about uniting us, not dividing us, and he was most certainly the candidate that should’ve won in 2016, and he is the candidate that transformed the Democratic Party moving into the 2020 election.
Much like FDR, Bernie Sanders took an interest in social issues and worked them into his progressive platform: supporting the working-class, pressing corporations for higher taxation, and building policies inspired by the drafted ‘Economic Bill of Rights’, such as a federal jobs guarantee, a nationalized social healthcare system, and of course, a living wage. These policies have not been prevalent in the Democratic Party since the FDR era, however. Sure, few politicians were advocates for these issues, but none were taking these policies all the way to the Democratic National Convention, and they sure as hell weren’t taking these policies to the presidency, but Bernie is changing that.
The establishment is still very much alive today in the Democratic Party despite the high rise in progressive politics. They are not letting up when it comes to choosing a president that doesn’t have the interest of the American people in mind; they are almost purely supportive of candidates who ensure corporations, big-money interests, and wall-street executives are put ahead of our own working-class citizens. As representative and diverse as some candidates are, that does not necessarily mean they are putting the interests of Americans first. It is disappointing that at one of the last few debates before the final two candidates, there was only one person of color on the stage, and the establishment seems to favor white candidates who are, again, more representative of billionaires than people of color or working-class people from any background.
Even prior to the election, the DNC was nothing short of certain that Joe Biden would be 2020’s Hillary Clinton for them. The media turns a blind eye to Sanders but is now praising candidates like Biden in hopes that he can garner more support for the establishment and even more support for billionaires. When an establishment candidate is not performing as well as the establishment had hoped, they will do everything they can to ensure that either a different establishment candidate is chosen, or that the progressive is attacked as much as possible.
Where are we headed?
If Sanders was elected, it would have meant Democratic candidates moving forward would have had to uphold his progressive policies. Without an ounce of progressivism prevalent in any leftist politicians from previous elections, it is no surprise that a candidate was able to take advantage of this and make progressivism the foundation of their platform.
Despite what our current president may be telling you, our country is by no means perfect. We have a high rate of poverty, income inequality, homelessness, and racism in this country. If we can bring our party back to its roots, there is no telling how diverse, excellent, inspiring, and amazing our society would become.
This article was updated during the Democratic National Convention to fix some talking points and tenses.