After losing a string of primaries, a lot is being said and written about how Bernie Sanders and his campaign blew it.
He comes across too doctrinaire, calling for a revolution, referring to himself as a “democratic socialist”, and in the process alienating moderate voters.
At the same time, Bernie’s doctrinaire approach may also be his greatest strength.
Unlike many other politicians, including his chief rival, Joe Biden, Sanders has never relied on paid consultants to script his positions based on focus groups and polling data. When he speaks, you know you are hearing what he actually believes in and is willing to fight for.
In refusing to hold big-dollar fund raisers, Sanders has led the way by example on campaign finance reform. Taking excessive money out of politics is not revolutionary; it is simply restoring power to the people which is the founding principle of our democracy.
Sanders has been clear and consistent: Health care administered by the insurance industry is a disaster, with the highest costs and worst outcomes of any major industrialized country. Income inequality is hammering the poor and working class.
Climate change is an existential threat, and the energy industry, with its army of lobbyists, must be held to account.
Many of the positions Sanders has advocated for were not even on the agenda five years ago. Today, his advocacy for a $15 minimum wage, free college tuition and Medicare expansion have gone mainstream, having been endorsed by most of the Democratic establishment.
He has consistently spoken truth to power; called out our dysfunctional political system, and stood for truth and justice for all Americans.
Bernie Sanders may not win the Democratic nomination, but his ideas and his advocacy for those left behind have changed the course of American politics, and that will prove a lasting victory.