While the Democratic nomination is not over, the prospects of Senator Sanders being the party’s nominee are slim. Though I like a lot of what Sanders seeks for this nation, as a point of full disclosure, I voted for Secretary Clinton in the primary.
I almost didn’t vote because either candidate is a far better prospect than any GOP candidate. I decided to vote a couple of hours before the polls closed because I felt an overwhelming sense of duty. My decision to vote for Clinton was pragmatic. She is the candidate who has the most experience having served in the Senate and as Secretary of State. Though she doesn’t have the sweeping vision that Sanders has (and I wish she did), she fully understands that Congress is too conservative for the programs Sanders seeks to implement. Sanders could exhaust significant political capital in his first year trying to push his program.
Sanders, however, has exposed the divide among Democrats, especially between the generations. He excites younger voters, particularly the millennials. Though I voted for Clinton, I also believe Clinton is running 20 years too late. We really need a sweeping vision for this nation and Sanders’ program for a single-payer healthcare system and free college does more to address it than making changes to ACA and increasing college assistance. His clear attack on income inequality is absolutely necessary because we’re losing the middle class. I sense that Sanders seeks to create a strong safety net so that every person can have a solid place upon which to begin building their future.
He, however, is running too late and from the wrong direction. A revolution is not built from the top down, but the bottom up.
Sanders should turn his attention to races across the country to nominate candidates who share his vision and to get them elected in state races this year. They need to be in place and established for the 2020 census so they can draw the new districts in their states after new population figures are released. Furthermore, with the conservative flavor present in Congress now, his vision could be implemented easier at the state level today. For example, states could fund their state university systems to make them free or close to free. States that did not choose the Medicaid expansion could do so. Implementation would be much easier and could become a model for expansion on a national level.
He would then do the same for candidates in 2018 for Congress. He could work to place representatives and senators favorable to his agenda in legislative positions so that they can solidify their overall position in 2020. Then, his vision has a better chance for implementation. Also, having implemented the vision at the state level will make Sanders’ program more imaginable and doable nationally.
The Washington Post noted that the Democrats under Obama have had disastrous outcomes in the two midterm elections. Though capturing the big prize, the presidency, is really a major feat, turning out votes every four years is not enough to create a more inclusive nation.
Sanders has been excellent in casting a vision. As a pastor I’d say he is prophetic.
Now that he has opened the divisions among the Democrats and between the generations, he has a more important task ahead than running for president. His vision for America cannot happen without his energy and passion to open down-ballot candidates to becoming legislators and leaders for a new generation.