A Thank You to Bernie Sanders
Sanders campaigns have brought working people's issues to the forefront
This has been a long primary process for everyone, no one more than Sen. Bernie Sanders.
We all know how 2016 went. Then the Vermont senator spent the early half of Trump’s presidency going state to state, raising the voices of autoworkers and environmentalists, and making the case why we must elect a new president in November 2020. Bernie made his second run official on February 19, 2019, which feels like an eternity ago, but in the end, it wouldn’t be him.
Bernie’s loss doesn’t mean he’s going away. He is still in the Senate, the longest-serving independent member of Congress in history. Whether the Democrats host their national convention or not remains to be seen, but he already has amassed delegates from states where he won or finished second, not to mention the support he has in states that have not voted yet.
Bernie Sanders’ 50-state strategy has become a 50-state movement. Everywhere, progressive Democrats have adopted the main parts of his platform: Medicare for All, $15 minimum wage, and a Green New Deal. Three-fourths of “The Squad” — Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib — and countless others were inspired by his first presidential run and supported him again this time around.
The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak have proved Bernie right in a lot of ways. People are demanding free health care, guaranteed paid family and sick leave, and higher wages. Bernie fought for expanded unemployment insurance in the federal CARES Act and directed his campaign toward public health education and fundraising millions for charities.
By organizing two national campaigns based on solidarity and grassroots action, Bernie shifted politics in a direction that will favor workers and regular people. It already has.
Bernie Sanders fought to keep the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and pressured Hillary Clinton to turn against it during the campaign. In 2017, Amazon raised its corporate-wide minimum wage, shortly after Sen. Sanders introduced legislation named after CEO Jeff Bezos. Unions are on the rise in the new sectors of the economy, and their approval ratings are at the highest point this century.
Some of them — for example, CWA in 2016, United Teachers Los Angeles in 2020, and National Nurses United (NNU) in both elections — endorsed Bernie on the national and local levels. He won their respect and support by walking the walk on workers’ rights. He marched, he stood up to corporate bosses, and he built support for union campaigns across the country using his army of volunteers and small-donor donors.
Near the start of the campaign, Bernie Sanders became the first candidate to recognize the campaign staffers’ union and signed a contract with UFCW Local 400. A day after the suspension of the campaign, Bernie 2020 campaign manager Faiz Shakir announced that staffers will receive a severance package including health care coverage through November.
Not only was it the right thing to do, but it also sets a standard for all employers in a time of crisis and uncertainty. That’s what he’s been doing for the past 5 years, in a nutshell.
Bernie’s brand of honest leadership is sorely missing from the White House. Though he won’t be its occupant, it’s hard to miss the effect he has had on the country.
Thank you, Bernie