In what is being called one of the biggest upsets in modern political history, Bernie Sanders took the state of Michigan from the presumptive victor, and kept his upstart campaign for President very much alive. With all the Southern States behind them, the Democratic Primary moves into what is arguably more fertile ground for the Sanders campaign and there are large states, with lots of juicy delegates up for grabs. If you’re a Sanders fan, then obviously last night’s victory in Michigan is a big deal. If you’re just a political geek, an upset of this magnitude is also a pretty big deal. Hell, even for someone who perhaps just appreciates the American system of checks and balances and changing of the guard, this election cycle is pretty damn interesting, and last night was a big deal.
Bernie Sanders overcame a monstrous lead in Michigan, held by the monstrous political apparatus the USS Clinton, showing that his political revolution can actually turn revolt into results. And that’s why Bernie’s already won. Bernie Sanders has made it okay to talk about what he calls Democratic Socialism, or what others disdainfully just call Socialism. I think of it as promoting the general welfare, which is a particularly American thing to do, seeing how that concept is right in the preamble of our founding documents and all. Whatever the label, talking about taking care of our own and dealing with the inequalities and injustices in our system is no longer limited to underground discussions by radical groups who have long hair and beards and wear old Army fatigues.
Sanders has moved the needle; he’s shifted the conversation to the left and forced his Democratic opponent to come with him. He’s shown millions of people who have gotten on board and contributed a few bucks to help him that the political process can include them. That they can actually make quite a racket by banding together, even though they aren’t wealthy and have no lobbyists representing them. He’s shown that you don’t have to pander to religious blocks to get votes, and that you don’t have to beat around the bush when you talk about financial giants who commit fraud and get away with it. “He who shall not be named” at the front of the GOP race is wrongly claimed by his supporters to “tell it like it is,” but Bernie actually does. He’s run an honest campaign, which isn’t to suggest that he doesn’t miss the mark on some of his positions. This is after all, politics. Not everything is a mathematical formula. There is more than one way to attack a problem and we can and should have healthy debates about how to address them. But Bernie isn’t putting himself above the actual issues he cares about. This isn’t simply a campaign about a man named Bernie Sanders. It’s bigger than that.
Bernie Sanders may not become POTUS #45, but he has made his mark all the same. The march of progress is slow, and not always steady, but in a system like the American one, where voices can still express ideas and reasoned arguments can still be made, progress will continue. Others will have to commit to the causes Bernie is fighting for and support the people who have gotten behind this revolution. Bernie often says his are not radical ideas, and we need more people to get on board with that statement to keep those ideas up front, near the engine car, and not relegated to the caboose.
- Anyone can acknowledge that education is the key to a better future. Anyone can look at the levels of student debt, building to staggering heights, and realize that something must be done.
- Anyone can look at the millions of people still without access to health care and realize that something must be done.
- Anyone can look at the corrupting impact money has on our political process and realize that something must be done.
- Anyone can look at the number of Americans in prisons and realize that something must be done.
These are just a few of Bernie’s calling cards; problems Americans face where solutions are needed to promote the general welfare. Bernie Sanders has moved them into the light, carried on the shoulders of millions of Americans who agree that something must be done. Perhaps his particular not-so-radical ideas won’t be the final end game to improve on these conditions, and perhaps he won’t even be the one who ultimately carries the ball into the End Zone, but he has ensured that these problems are now in the minds of the populace and he thinks he sees a better way. He has made it cool to be a Socialist, a liberal, a progressive or whichever label suits your fancy. Bernie has already won.
As Yogi Berra famously quipped, it ain’t over till it’s over, so onward we go into the Primary fight, where the future is uncertain and maybe, just maybe, Michigan’s won’t be the only upset.