Sanders Momentum Evidence of Dems' Need to Embrace "Bold Agenda for Change"

A Bernie Sanders sign in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo: Phil Roeder/flickr/cc)

Sanders Momentum Evidence of Dems' Need to Embrace "Bold Agenda for Change"

Sanders says staying in race 'good for the Democratic Party'

Armed with a fresh win in Indiana and a platform that reflects a "bold agenda for change," Bernie Sanders is providing key lessons that the Democratic party would do well to heed, some analysts say.

It was "a remarkable victory, a statement of the extent and scope of the Sanders surge," Robert Borosage, founder and president of the Institute for America's Future, wrote of the Vermont senator's win in the Hoosier state.

Speaking to press Tuesday evening, Sanders said, "I sense some great victories coming, and I think while the path is narrow -- and I do not deny that for a moment -- I think we can pull off one of the great political upsets in the history of the United States and, in fact, become the nominee for the Democratic Party," he continued. "And once we secure that position, I have absolute confidence that we are going to defeat Donald Trump in the general election."

As The Hill noted, "Clinton is shy of the Democratic nomination by 182 delegates, according to the AP delegate tracker. Sanders would need to win every remaining pledged delegate and sway more superdelegates to his side to reach that threshold."

Sanders' campaign sent out a fundraising email on Wednesday, which repeated his message from Tuesday evening and acknowledged the challenge at hand, calling it an "uphill climb to victory."

"The Clinton campaign thinks this campaign is over. They're wrong. Maybe it's over for the insiders and the party establishment, but the voters in Indiana had a different idea," the email stated.

That thinking is backed up by a poll released Tuesday that found that the majority of Democrats and Democrat-leaning voters want Sanders to stay in the presidential race, while Vice President Joe Biden recently praised Sanders' call for bold change.

Borosage argues that Sanders' rival, Hillary Clinton, ought "to be listening to Sanders rather than dismissing him." He continued:

Sanders is demonstrating the force of his challenge to the New Democrat neoliberal economics--on trade, Wall Street and financialization, climate change, public investment and progressive taxation, lifting the floor under workers, extending shared security from tuition-free college to universal health care. He's indicting the failed policies of regime change and endless wars without victory.

"The Democratic nominee would be far better advised to present a bold agenda for change, than to be painted as a defender of our corrupted politics and our rigged economy," Borosage added.

The candidate himself also talked about the importance of his staying in the race in an interview with NPR on Wednesday. "I think it is good for the United States of America, good for the Democratic Party, to have a vigorous debate, to engage people in the political process," Sanders said.

As Sanders continues to tout his ability to beat the Republican frontrunner, New York Daily News' Shaun King writes of Donald Trump that Democrats "underestimate him and his candidacy at [their] own risk."

But Borosage argues that "Americans aren't going to elect Donald Trump president."

Author and political columnist Thomas Frank agrees, though he puts it in different terms, writing at the Guardian on Wednesday: "In reality, Donald Trump is a bigot of such pungent vileness that the victory of the Democratic candidate this fall is virtually assured. Absent some terrorist attack... or some FBI action on the Clinton email scandal... or some outrageous act of reasonableness by Trump himself, the blowhard is going to lose."

And while "What [the leading figures of the Democratic Party establishment] have in mind for 2016 is what we might call a campaign of militant complacency," Frank foresees Trump's failure as inevitable, and as such the Democratic nominee has no need to "move to the center."

Ahead of the Indiana contest, Sanders said his "campaign is going to the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia with as many delegates as possible to fight for a progressive party platform that calls for a $15 an hour minimum wage, an end to our disastrous trade policies, a Medicare-for-all health care system, breaking up Wall Street financial institutions, ending fracking in our country, making public colleges and universities tuition free, and passing a carbon tax so we can effectively address the planetary crisis of climate change."

According toThe Nation's John Nichols, "Taking the Sanders insurgency to the convention is the paramount vehicle for placing demands that are ideological and, as Biden's comments suggest, also strategic."

Nichols cites Working Families Party national director Dan Cantor, who said, "The convention can amplify what this campaign made visible--that there are millions of Americans who are hurting--and say that the Democratic Party has to respond to that pain with bigger and bolder policies."

"Democrats who want to win a big majority in November, to take back the Congress and to move forward in the states, know that the party has to stand for something that excites young people, that excites working people. No matter who the nominee is, the party has to take a big-vision stand," Cantor said.

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