Ask Not What Sanders Wants, But What His Grassroots Army Demands

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Ask Not What Sanders Wants, But What His Grassroots Army Demands

'They want real change in this country,' Bernie Sanders writes in Post op-ed, and 'they want it now.'

Bernie Sanders speaks in New York earlier this month. (Photo: Hillel Steinberg/flickr/cc)

Ahead of a speech in New York City on Thursday, Bernie Sanders has published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for "real change in this country" on behalf of the millions of people who support his grassroots campaign for political revolution.

"I often hear the question, 'What does Bernie want?' Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want." —Sen. Bernie SandersSanders acknowledged Wednesday that he is unlikely to win the Democratic presidential nomination, saying on C-SPAN: "It doesn’t appear that I'm going to be the nominee." 

He is scheduled to deliver a speech titled "Where We Go From Here" on Thursday evening in Manhattan. According to CNBC reporter John Harwood on Twitter, when asked if the speech would have "big concession/endorsement news," a Sanders aide said "No."

Instead, his speech will likely cover similar ground as the Post op-ed, in which Sanders wrote: "As we head toward the Democratic National Convention, I often hear the question, 'What does Bernie want?' Wrong question. The right question is what the 12 million Americans who voted for a political revolution want.

"And the answer is," he continued, "They want real change in this country, they want it now and they are prepared to take on the political cowardice and powerful special interests which have prevented that change from happening."

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The op-ed goes on to call for:

  • "an economic and political system that works for all of us, not one in which almost all new wealth and power rests with a handful of billionaire families;"
  • "a vibrant democracy and a well-informed electorate that knows that its views can shape the future of the country;"
  • "a criminal justice system that addresses the causes of incarceration, not one that simply imprisons more people;" and
  • "the United States to lead the world in pushing our energy system away from fossil fuel and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy."

"What do we want?" Sanders concludes. "We want to end the rapid movement that we are currently experiencing toward oligarchic control of our economic and political life. As Lincoln put it at Gettysburg, we want a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is what we want, and that is what we will continue fighting for."

Last week, in a live-streamed address to supporters, Sanders declared that the political revolution had in fact just begun.

"We have begun the long and arduous process of transforming America—a fight that will continue tomorrow, next week, next year, and into the future," he said. "My hope is that when future historians look back and described how our country moved forward—into reversing the drift towards oligarchy and how we moved forward in creating a government which represents all of the people not just a few—that they will note that to a significant degree, that that effort began with the political revolution of 2016."

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