The progressive movement is far from over

Olivia Montes

Elm Staff Writer

With the exception of covering how the government is handling the coronavirus pandemic, Senator Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary on April 8.

Sanders, with his trademark determination, addressed the tirelessness and unwavering dedication of his campaign team — in a manner of the ideal Commander-in-Chief — and reassured fellow supporters that, despite the numerous lapses throughout and beyond the fight for candidacy, the progressive movement will continue.

“This battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful, and so today, I am announcing the suspension of my campaign,” Sanders said in his self-produced home livestream video from Burlington, Vermont, as reported by The Daily Beast.

“[But] together we have transformed American consciousness as to what kind of nation we can become,” he said.

However, Sanders has created a surge that goes beyond the campaign; as noted by former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders has pronounced the foundations of a popularized, progressive movement.

“He hasn’t just run a political campaign; he’s created a movement. And make no mistake about it, I believe it’s a movement that is as powerful today as it was yesterday,” Biden wrote in a Medium blog post.

And that movement will only continue to rise from here.

Sanders spent his campaign addressing the grim lives of poverty-stricken Americans. The progressive movement, which prides itself in striving for the rights and representation of American citizens, has been on Bernie Sanders’ agenda since the beginning

Elizabeth Bruenig of The New York Times said “[his efforts] are all simply manifestations of that one critical fact: it made him an awkward fit for Washington, and it built him a movement,”

There is definite admiration for his relentless passion towards those issues, but also an uneasy cringe when he not only continues to bash the rivalling party, but also when his campaign could not keep up.

Sanders, whose identifies as a democratic socialist, failed to capture voters’ attention, as the classism issue is not the number one issue that lurks within people’s minds.

“Sanders had success in shifting the Democratic Party in his direction on policy, but [his] strategy…depended on a mythologized and out-of-date theory of blue-collar political behavior [in which he] assumes that a portion of the electorate is crying out for socialism on the basis of their class interest,” Zack Beauchamp of VOX Media said.

“Class conflict doesn’t dominate the American political scene, and Sanders’s campaign couldn’t make it so,” he said.

That’s not to say that Sanders was the ideal choice; each competitor had holes in their campaign plans: Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind. was agile, but he had limited political experience and a lack of diverse followers behind him.

Sanders was not the absolute perfect candidate for the Democratic Party, but, with his ideas, he was the face that granted a slight glimmer, if not spark, of hope for a radical stir within the oval office.

And while his messages might have been grim to most, they granted audiences a peek into what was going on behind the scenes — how our country is suffering, our fellow people are suffering because of what past and present administrations have overlooked and brushed aside.

“There is so little freedom in the world. Even here, now, in our celebrated liberal democracy, social mobility is incredibly limited,” Bruenig said. “One freedom that cannot be taken from you is your freedom not to like the status quo — your freedom to be angry, disaffected, unimpressed, your refusal to be cajoled, soothed or consoled with small tokens of influence devoid of real power.”

With his campaign, Sanders offered us a glimpse of the America that lies beneath the surface — how many cracks lie within our federal and social structures, and how, at this point, the consequences have become so severe it seems beyond repair.

“Mr. Sanders, ill-tempered and impatient with pleasantries, embodied that freedom, and he offered it to you,” she said.

But with this knowledge comes power: the power to continue to fight for change, to demand equality. Every individual that marches along the same soils as our forefathers, Sanders invoked that fighting, to argue for a better future for our descendants.

Sanders might not have won the ballot for the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, but his brash outspokenness has inspired the combined current and next generations of progressive activists to remain vocal in both times of security and uncertainty.

And, hopefully, to achieve true justice for all.

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