Consider the trend line: Twelve months ago Bernie Sanders was all but unknown nationally. He didn’t fit the typical “politician” profile in age, style, or rhetoric. He was a self-described democratic socialist. And he faced overwhelming obstacles erected by the party machinery at all levels.The Democratic Party is definitely in a more progressive place today than it would have been without the Sanders campaign.
Memories are short. When Sanders announced his run in April 2015, FiveThirtyEight‘s Harry Enten said he was “almost certainly not going to be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.” Enten added:
“Hillary Clinton is the most dominant non-incumbent front-runner in modern primary history.”“It would take a truly special candidate to defeat her,” he continued, “and Sanders ... is not the politician for the job.”
That was what pretty much everyone thought. Look what happened.
There’s no need to relitigate all the roadblocks Sanders faced, at least not now. It’s enough to say that the success he achieved, against overwhelming odds and “the most dominant non-incumbent front-runner in modern primary history,” affirms the power of his message.
Sanders also won the hearts of Democratic voters - more so than his opponent, in fact, despite her thirty-year head start. A recent Gallup poll found that Sanders “continues to be significantly more popular than Hillary Clinton,” among members of the party he only joined last year.
And there is now a much more well-defined New Deal wing of the party.