Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ candidacy for Democratic nominee for President has ignited a progressive flame that promises to burn bright for the foreseeable future.
While he has yet to “endorse” Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sanders has said he will vote for her in November, which sounds like the dictionary definition of endorsement.
Still, since the California primary all but sealed Clinton’s nomination, the Senator from Vermont has kept rallying his troops and pushing progressive activists to run for local office. “We need to get people running for office at every level of government,” Sanders told C-SPAN.
In fact, his call for a bottom-up revolution has stirred many into seeking public office.
According to Thinkprogress.org, as of last week, there have been 12,624 citizens who signed up through the Sanders Web site showing interest in running for local office, representing every congressional district in the country.
It is clear that Sanders’ main goal is to influence the Democratic platform as much as possible. He has already pushed Clinton to the left on trade, with the former Secretary of State coming out against the TPP, a trade deal she helped negotiate when she was in the Obama administration.
Sanders has also succeeded in placing a number of influential progressives on the Democratic convention’s platform committee, including Dr. Cornel West and Rep. Keith Ellison, (D-Minn).
Less progressive tranches of the Democratic Party leadership do not sound enthusiastic about Sanders’ moves, since losing the nomination. Former longtime Senator from North Dakota Kent Conrad, explained to The Huffington Post: “So far [Sanders] has been riding a wave of good feelings in the sense he ran an incredible campaign.”
Conrad added, “But that has a pretty short shelf life and then people start looking at you through a different lens, and that lens is: Are you a team player? Do you have the larger picture in mind or are you just focused on yourself? At some point, pretty soon, he crosses the threshold. He may have already crossed it.”
The Sanders campaign is still up and running, providing moral support to down-ballot progressives. If he doesn’t endorse Clinton before the convention, however, he may not get a prime-time spot in Philadelphia. If he does, his speech could provide the catalyst for cooperation and consensus between the various wings of the Democratic party, as they join forces to defeat Donald Trump.