The Legacy of Bernie Sanders

The decision of the FBI to recommend that no charges be filed against Hillary Clinton over her use of a personal email account while serving Secretary of State ended whatever slim hopes Bernie Sanders had for gaining the Democratic nomination. However, Bernie has made it clear that he’s not yet done with his ambition to move the Democratic Party more towards the progressive wing of the Party.

Bernie has played the long game since he first harbored the wild idea that he could wrest the nomination away from Hillary Clinton. He started and ended his campaign with a homegrown group of believers who had little campaign experience and relied upon the unbridled enthusiasm that he generated among his supporters to fuel the campaign.

Still, Bernie refuses to go quietly into the night and remains determined to force the Democratic Party to move towards a platform that encompasses many of the ideals that captured the imagination of his supporters during his quest for the nomination.

When we began this campaign, nobody really thought it would go very far because many of the pundits were saying who in America supports the idea of a political revolution?
— Sen. Bernie Sanders

Bernie has forced Hillary to the left

Bernie has already forced Hillary Clinton to embrace some the progressive wings’ positions on issues such as the Keystone pipeline and the Trade Pacific Partnership. Bernie has forced Hillary to take a more aggressive stance on health care such as allowing people to buy into Medicare. Sen. Sanders championed these positions during his campaign, and has made it clear that he will continue to push the Democrat Party to the progressive side of the political spectrum.

In the beginning, Clinton did not take Bernie’s candidacy seriously. She viewed Bernie as the slightly odd but likable older Uncle and treated him with kid gloves. However, as the campaign progressed and Bernie refused to go along with Clinton’s feeling that the nomination was hers for the asking, Hillary became increasing irritated as Sanders declined to fade away. By spring, it was evident the two candidates did not like each other.

Nevertheless, Hillary can ill afford to ignore Bernie or his supporters. They represent a significant and dedicated pool of voters who will choose to either sit out the election or support Trump if Hillary does not embrace a platform that Sen. Sanders feels he can support.

Bernie as Vice President

According to CNN, “Hillary Clinton is not considering Bernie Sanders as a running mate.” Bernie has said that he does not expect to be considered as her running mate. In fact, the Clinton campaign seemed to go out of their way to let the world know that Berne was not even being considered for the VP slot.

Bernie Sanders Not Being Vetted as Hillary Clinton’s Running Mate.
— The Wall Street Journal

Perhaps Hillary should rethink that decision. A recent Monmouth University poll showed that 39% of all voters said they would be more likely to vote for the Democratic ticket if Sanders were on it.

Source: Shutterstock

Twenty percent of Sanders supporters say they’ll vote for Trump

In fact, there are some who feel that a Trump-Sanders ticket would make sense.

It is not surprising that Bernie Sanders embraces the policies of failed socialist and quasi-socialist governments from decades past. Nor is it that surprising that Donald Trump, whose views on everything are a strange mishmash of gut reactions, prejudice and emotion, finds them appealing. But it is stunning that serious conservative Republicans who are devoted to free market ideas are backing Trump, looking the other way and crossing their fingers. The cost of doing so is now clear: Donald Trump will transform the GOP into a protectionist, nationalist party. The logical choice for this new party's vice president is obvious — Bernie Sanders.
— Fareed Zakaria – Newsmax

Granted that Mr. Zakaria is not making a serious endorsement of a Trump-Sanders ticket, but there are some in both the Trump and Sanders camps who think the idea is not all that farfetched. Donald Trump has reached out to Sander’s supporters and made it clear that he endorses some of Bernie’s positions. However, Bernie Sanders has ruled out supporting Trump and has announced that he will vote for Hillary, although he has yet to endorse her for President.

At the same time, a significant number of Sanders supporters, up to 20% in some polls, have said they would vote for Trump over Clinton and that could be a major problem for Clinton if these numbers hold up during the summer.

Twenty percent of Sanders supporters indicated that they plan to vote for the businessman (Trump) in November.
— The Washington Post
Source: Gage Skidmore

Green Party offers Bernie a platform to continue his campaign

Jill Stein, the presumed nominee of the Green Party, has offered to step aside in favor of Bernie Sanders if he wants to continue his national presidential campaign. The Green Party has already qualified to be on the ballot in a majority of states and the addition of Bernie would push the Green Party into a major player. Currently, Stein and the Green Party are polling between 4% to 6%. If Bernie should decide to accept her offer, many of his supporters would no doubt follow him, making the Green Party a significant force in the 2016 campaign.

Bernie has yet to respond to Stein’s offer and most think it unlikely that he would accept. Nevertheless, 2016 has shown us that the improbable can quickly become probable and it would certainly add another fascinating chapter to this already remarkable political year.

Whatever Bernie Sanders decides about his future there is no denying that he has been a dominant force in the 2016 campaign. His ideas and ideals appealed to a generation that will shape the political future of the Democratic Party.