Why, although the nomination looks locked up for Hillary Clinton, the future of the Democratic Party lies in the hands of Bernie Sanders and his progressive allies
Matthew Turner Independent/UK 16 March 2016
Sanders is out of the running, but it is important to reflect on what has happened so far. A self-proclaimed democratic socialist gave the presumed nominee Hillary Clinton one of the toughest battles of her political career.
What is more staggering is the extensive support network he has mobilised across the country. 84 per cent of millennials backed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in Iowa and 83 per cent gave him their vote in New Hampshire.
Whilst Obama also took advantage of millennial discontent during his 2008 primary campaign, his margins against Clinton were a lot narrower than the numbers we are seeing for Bernie Sanders. For the first time in generations, the young have an equally positive view of socialism than they do of capitalism.
This represents nothing short of a political breakthrough.
The truth is that millennials have a different view of the political sphere than their elders. They are constantly being told what is best for them, but they are the only real experts in their own state of affairs. This is something that mainstream politicians across the globe are failing to recognise. They have a different experience of capitalism and a different idea of socialism. For baby-boomers, socialism is a term associated with the authoritarian Soviet Union and memories of an imminent nuclear threat. To millennials, it is capitalism that is becoming the dirty word.
Millennials grew up through the crisis of capitalism in 2008 and see the roots at the ideological birth of free market dogma and neoliberalism. They have seen both establishment Republicans and Democrats swear allegiance to this greedy, failing ideology whilst they become the most indebted generation to ever exist, and see their ability to get onto the property ladder diminish year on year. They see a society governed by plutocrats and a system that cannot tackle the colossal issues of the day. They have inherited the decadence of a dying consensus which serves them no purpose.
This is why although the nomination looks locked up for Hillary Clinton, the future of the Democratic Party lies in the hands of Bernie Sanders and his progressive allies. Whilst some are rightly concerned about Hillary Clinton losing the energy and momentum from Sanders’ support base in a general election, the thought of a Donald Trump presidency should be enough to persuade a significant portion of activists to get on board.
In spite of this, as Noam Chomsky correctly asserts, it is vital that the campaign Sanders has created continues as a vibrant popular movement in between election cycles. There is a thirst for real change which has not been seen in the political arena for decades. Millennials don’t want to work within a broken system, they want it ripped down by an architect who can build a better way.
This movement has the ability to be bigger than Bernie Sanders and the Democratic Party, he is simply beginning the path towards a consensus of a new kind of politics. It is gaining traction at astounding speed and in a decade’s time, millennials will be the backbone of the electorate. This is when they will have the best chance to exact their revenge.