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Bernie Sanders and the Future of Liberalism and Socialism

"The trick now," the author argues, "is continuing that momentum even if it has to be done without Sanders running for office."  (Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr/cc)

In the wake of Super Tuesday, you can find one of two Bernie Sanders articles on the internet. You have those writing his obituary, telling voters it’s over and it is time to support Hillary Clinton, no questions asked, simply fall in line with the party and obey your marching orders. Then you have the overly optimistic that want to explain how even after losing to Clinton, somehow Sanders still won. 

These are generally well meaning exposes that focus on the states that Sanders won, which are mainly Democratic and swing states, states needed in the general election, versus Clinton’s wins in conservative states, states that the Democrats won’t win in the general election, making those state victories all but meaningless.

Yet, even with history on the side of Clinton, saying that every politician who wins on Super Tuesday goes on to win the nomination, this race is far from over the nomination is not yet secure. This rings true for both parties, but it is important for Sanders supporters to tune out the media telling them the race is over and to continue to show up in the over 30 remaining states that need to cast ballots in these primaries.

However, even if the race does go the way of Clinton, Sanders supporters, democrats, socialists, and democratic socialists alike should use Sanders campaign as momentum for the future. At the point where we stand now, Sanders version of a political revolution took place. Young voters, for the first time, had a candidate they could rally behind and not look at as the lesser of two evils and instead saw a candidate they can truly believe in and were shown a vision of the country that is possible if they try. While President Obama tried to do this in both 2008 and 2012, he never laid out such a revolutionary vision as Sanders has.

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Tomorrow’s left will not be the establishment left that continues to pander to the center-right and feels the need to give up freedoms and rights to make the establishment right satisfied. This breed of liberals would not dream of taking single-payer off the table when discussing health care reform and would never allow insurance companies to wield the kind of power they continue to have over Americans.

Win or lose, Sanders opened the floodgates that will lead to the toppling of the establishment party that is fighting tooth and nail to crown Clinton as president. Clinton and her allies in congress should be shaking. Their days in office are numbered. Sander’s shake up of this status quo is only the beginning. Kshama Sawant, a Seattle-based socialist who was elected to the city council will no longer be the odd person out. She will become the norm as socialists and radical leftists take office from city councils, state senates, and even congress.

This is a dream many of never thought possible in our lifetime, yet because Bernie Sanders decided to take on the establishment like never before, we are finally seeing voters ready to enact real change. The trick now is continuing that momentum even if it has to be done without Sanders running for office. His campaign it of itself was revolutionary when compared to the campaigns of the last 20 to 30 years, and as revolutionists, it is our duty to push that revolution forward.

Even while Sanders never stood for demolishing capitalism, he shined the brightest light on its flaws and showed that there is a better way of doing things. He took the dirtiest word in American politics, socialism, and turned it back into a word with power, with vision, and with importance.

It is now up to us to stand behind the banner of socialism that has been raised above the American people and march forward and say loudly we won’t support the bigoted regimes of the Republican Party and won’t line up to support a war hawk like Hillary Clinton and instead show the world we are going to shape a new future for this country and demand change and then in no uncertain terms, make it a new reality.

Dan Arel

Dan Arel is a political writer and social activist. He is the author of Parenting Without God (2015) and the upcoming book The Secular Activist (2016). He can be found on Twitter @danarel

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