Nation of Change - May 2019
... While some still accuse him of having played this spoiler role the last time around, it’s important to remember that Sanders campaigned tirelessly throughout the country for the Democratic Party’s eventual nominee after the primaries. In the end, although it’s rarely reported, more Sanders primary supporters voted for Hillary Clinton in the last election than Clinton supporters voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
Not content to let insider outlets like Politico and The Hill do all the heavy lifting, the New York Times a little more than a week ago published an article and then an interview with Sanders focused on foreign policy, once again going back to the 1980s when the then mayor was vocal in his calls for the U.S. government to stop supporting and funding right-wing terrorists and death squads in Central America.
In the interview published after the initial story, reporter Sydney Ember repeatedly asks if Sanders heard anti-American chants that were reportedly made at a rally he attended in Managua, Nicaragua at the time, to which he replied, stating the obvious, “I don’t remember, no. Of course there was anti-American sentiment there. This was a war being funded by the United States against the people of Nicaragua. People were being killed in that war.”
While the current government of Nicaragua has its problems, its hard to argue that Sanders wasn’t on the right side of history on this and almost every foreign policy issue since, including a lonely vote against the Iraq war in late 2002. Rather than focusing on 40 years ago, Ember might have asked about how Senator Sanders shepherded a vote to end U.S. participation in the Saudi led war in Yemen through a Republican controlled Senate this year, only to have it vetoed by the current occupant of the White House.
On a more positive note, also all but uncovered, Sanders has still found the time to support union and other grassroots organizing, even allowing his own staff and volunteers to aid these efforts.
As Ryan Grim wrote in an excellent piece on this phenomenon on The Intercept, “It’s common for a politician to make a brief appearance on a picket line to show solidarity with a cause, but it’s practically unheard for a campaign to divert its own volunteers away from the mission of electing its candidate. This act of activism flows directly from the bottom-up approach taken by the 2020 Sanders campaign, which is not just in stark contrast to every other presidential campaign: It’s also a sharp reversal from the approach taken by the leadership of the 2016 Sanders campaign.”
By not just running a campaign but building a movement over time that can direct its energies toward issues progressives care about, Senator Sanders has changed the American political landscape, helping to usher in a new class of more activist politicians including AOC and Rashida Tlaib. Now he just has to wait for most of the media and the American political class to acknowledge and understand it, probably a more difficult task. ...
Read full article at Nation of Change