The Democratic elite may be lining up behind Hillary Clinton, but for those who have been galvanized by Bernie Sanders' populist campaign, the call for a political revolution burns brightly still.
Even as she endorsed Clinton on Thursday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) lauded Sanders' integrity and primary achievements—and recognized the grassroots army inspired by his candidacy.
"I take my cue on every part of this from Bernie himself," Warren told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. "I also think that what Bernie Sanders did was just powerfully important. He ran a campaign from the heart, and he ran a campaign where he took those issues and he really thrust them into the spotlight. He brought millions of people into the political process, millions into the Democratic Party, and for me, that's what it's all about."
Indeed, Robert Reich wrote this week in an open letter thanking Sanders for igniting a movement: "Your courage in taking on the political establishment has emboldened millions of us to stand up and demand our voices be heard."
To that end, a new petition from RootsAction calls for Sanders to "Let it Bern" and continue to the convention:
While you are under huge pressure to abandon your presidential campaign, we urge you to complete the process of fully representing the millions of people who've worked, donated and voted for you. We hope that you will resist the latest calls from the Democratic Party establishment and corporate media to end our campaign before the national convention.
You have said, and we have cheered as you've said it, that you will carry this campaign to the convention. We urge you to maintain that position, despite the massive top-down pressures from the corporate media and Democratic Party establishment to prematurely end the campaign.
We reject the idea that democracy weakens a political party named for democracy. We have worked for constructive debate at the Democratic National Convention, and we look forward to hearing it.
"The Bernie campaign didn't get this far by deferring to the powerful, and there's no good reason to start now," RootsAction co-founder Norman Solomon said Friday.
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If anything—as the candidate himself noted after Thursday's meeting with President Barack Obama—Sanders will walk into the convention empowered by the support of roughly 1,900 delegates and carrying "not only a message, but proposals to change the party," senior campaign advisor Larry Cohen told Democracy Now! on Friday.
And with that in mind, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee declared on Friday: "The sooner Clinton and Platform Committee members publicly signal they will seek unity around bold progressive ideas, the sooner Sanders and his supporters will know they have achieved the mission of helping to transform the future of America—and the more likely Democrats will win big in November."
While that demand is clear enough, "party leaders have been and probably will continue to be too dense to listen," Matt Taibbi wrote at Rolling Stone.
"If they had any brains, Beltway Dems and their clucky sycophants [...] would not be celebrating this week," he argued. "They ought to be horrified to their marrow that the all-powerful Democratic Party ended up having to dig in for a furious rally to stave off a quirky Vermont socialist almost completely lacking big-dollar donors or institutional support."
However, Taibbi continued:
The maddening thing about the Democrats is that they refuse to see how easy they could have it. If the party threw its weight behind a truly populist platform, if it stood behind unions and prosecuted Wall Street criminals and stopped taking giant gobs of cash from every crooked transnational bank and job-exporting manufacturer in the world, they would win every election season in a landslide.
"Powerful Democratic Party politicians and big media outlets are insisting that Bernie should get out of the way of the Clinton machine," RootsAction's Solomon added on Friday.
"But vast numbers of people who voted for him surely want Bernie to stand his ground on all the major issues where he strongly differs with Clinton," he said. "The national convention should be a place to air those differences, not sweep them under political rugs."