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Tuesday, 14 June 2016 04:59

The Bernie Sanders Campaign: A Retrospective Featured

Written by  Michelle Rivas
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On June 6th, Hillary Clinton was declared the presumptive Democratic Nominee by earning the last of the 2,383 delegates she needed, leaving Bernie Sanders last hopes to win the nomination in the dust. Sanders campaign seems all but over but one thing is certain, he’s not quitting without a fight which is demonstrative of his entire campaign. Sanders resonated with young and adult voters alike and has truly changed the way campaigns are run with his take-no-prisoners attitude and his fight to expose the establishment and the media. Sanders imposed change and inspired so many with his conviction and passion for his cause especially with the youth who were ignited to vote in this election more than ever. Bernie Sanders will no doubt team up with Hillary Clinton in the months leading up to the general election and will continue to push his powerful message of equality to the masses but in the meantime, let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at the campaign of the outsider who broke barriers and broke the mold.

Sanders is a passionate individual who is hard to forget with his finger in the air and his thick Brooklyn accent (he’s was born and raised in Brooklyn) and Sanders is no stranger to fighting for the rights of others as he fought for the Civil Right movement in the early and late 1960s at the tender age of 20 years old when he was a student at the University of Chicago, he was the mayor of Burlington, and eventually became Senator of Vermont and is regarded as one the best senators in the country with a consistent track record. With a huge following from the citizens of Vermont, on May 26th, 2015, the Senator announced his presidential bid and although he was always part of an independent party, he was running for the Democratic Party this time around.

The left-wing Senator was an unconventional candidate from the start, from his passionate rampages against the upper class or as he would call it “the millionaires and billionaires!” to his refusal to take donations from Super PACS instead opting to take most of his campaign funding from individual donations, Sanders was not only running for office but was also trying to run out the establishment who he deemed corrupt and unfair to the masses and it proved to be successful as he raised 1.5 million dollars just 24 hours after announcing that he was running for president. Some of Sanders policies included free higher education in public universities, a free healthcare system, increasing minimum wage to $15 an hour, reforming Wall Street and breaking up the banks, and combating climate change as well being an advocate for abortion and LGBT rights. The Bernie Sanders campaign appealed to the lower middle class but most notably, with the youth and he drove thousands of teenagers and young adults to rallies which set a major trend for his campaign. Sanders had rallies that sometimes added up to anywhere from 30,000 to 100,000 people which doubled and sometimes even tripled the size of Hillary Clinton’s rallies; his message of wealth inequality as well as his efforts against the corporate media and the establishment transformed the almost unknown senator into a highly publicized, political crusader for the youth and the working class by late 2015. Bernie Sanders had declared for a political revolution on the streets and it seemed as though it was coming to fruition.

By September/October of 2015 there were four other democratic candidates running against him; Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chafee, Jim Webb, and of course, Hillary Clinton. From the very first Democratic debate, Sanders made an impression that he was an honest and unapologetic candidate with a lot of integrity with one defining moment where Hillary was being asked about her emails and Sanders chimed in by saying, “I think the secretary is right. The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails!” In that moment, Sanders set a standard for his campaign which promised to stick to the issues and never attack another candidate for their personal life or run negative ads about them-- and he made good on that promise.

It was clear from the start that Bernie Sanders only true threat from making it to the White House was former first lady, Hillary Clinton and as the other candidates dropped out in droves, it was Sanders and Clinton who would be the final two to compete in the primaries in 2016.

Fast forward to Monday, February 1st, 2016, the Iowa Caucus had arrived and it was a turning point in the race. Sanders won 49.6% of the vote which was an impressive and surprising feat and although he lost to Clinton’s 49.9%, it was a super close race and it gave his campaign some serious momentum. In February, Sanders won New Hampshire and although he lost a couple of states that month, he wasn’t trailing Clinton behind by huge margins in every state. By March, (which I’m going to refer to as Super March because a whopping 28 states voted) Sanders had won an impressive 13 states! Clinton won 15 states making it almost 50/50. Things were looking good in March for Sanders, especially when a good luck charm in the form of an adorable little bird flew up on top of his podium to say ‘hello’ at a rally he held in Portland, Oregon on March 25th. The crowd in Portland went wild as well as the internet because the hashtag #BirdieSanders trended for days on Twitter along with the hilarious internet memes that popped up around Facebook and Instagram. This was just another example of the charm and optimism that the Sanders campaign possessed that was pretty much non-existent in every other campaign that was running in 2016. It almost seemed like something out of a movie with the underdog Sanders beating the odds of the establishment and having a chance at winning the White House-- but then came April. 

In April, things between Sanders and Clinton were heated more than ever which came to a fever pitch during the last democratic debate of the primary season in Brooklyn, New York on April 15th. Hillary Clinton blasted Sanders on his comments on abortion rights as well as his tax returns and he clapped back with Clinton’s position on raising minimum wage to $12 instead of $15, on whether or not she was qualified to be president, and on the money she received from big banks for her speaking engagements. The two went at it by interrupting, pointing, and yelling at each other which was a far cry from the two candidates America had seen back in 2015. Soon after, eight states voted with Hillary Clinton winning 5 including the delegate-rich states of New York and Pennsylvania with Sanders only winning 3 and they were the smaller states with less delegates. There was another problem for Sanders that became more prominent in April and that was his lack of Super delegates which Clinton had a major boost of. Sanders had an impressive amount of pledged delegates but he couldn’t surpass Clinton with those alone and so he planned to get those Super delegates flipped before the July convention in Cleveland but that proved to be a strenuous obstacle for him to beat. 

Michelle Rivas 

As May approached, 4 more states voted with Sanders winning 3 out of 4 which was another great accomplishment but Clinton’s Super delegates were still weighing him down. By the end of May, Clinton had already declared herself the Democratic nominee in an interview for CNN on the 19th where she said “It’s already done in a fact. There is no way I won’t be the Democratic nominee” Soon after on May 24th, Clinton declined to debate Bernie Sanders in California before the primary because she felt she needed to focus on the general election because for her campaign, the race with Bernie was all but over. Another big blow for Sanders was his proposal to debate Donald Trump which was encouraged by the media and considered by Trump for a moment until he declined to debate Sanders because he deemed the idea “inappropriate’ because—in his own words—Sanders was the “second place finisher”.

On June 6th, Hillary Clinton earned the 2,383 she needed to secure the nomination and was prematurely declared the democratic nominee by the Associated Press which was a historic and honorable feat for the former first lady but a big defeat for Sanders who is being called to drop out in order to back Clinton in the general election. The next day on June 7th, 6 states voted and Sanders won only 2 states and lost all the other states by huge margins including the state with the most delegates of all, our home state of California. With all that said and done, Bernie Sanders met with President Obama on Thursday, June 9th where they had a private meeting in the Oval Office and afterwards, he spoke outside of the White House about how he was going to help Clinton defeat Donald Trump in November but surprisingly, he also vowed to stay in the race until the Washington, D.C primary on June 14th and until the Democratic National Convention in July. Bernie Sanders is still attending rallies and has even adopted a new slogan for his website and his campaign which says “the struggles continues”. 

Bernie Sanders dropping out of the race is inevitable because he’s already lost the nomination but he’s not going out without a fight which is true to his fighting spirit and unlike other fallen candidates in the past, I have a feeling the youth will continue to “Feel the Bern” and his revolution could be reignited in 2020 for the next election, who knows right? But for now, the Democratic Party is feeling the Bern- for her, but he has made it clear that his struggle and revolution will not be silenced for anything.

Read 5129 times Last modified on Tuesday, 14 June 2016 05:49