With the exception of American Millennials, nobody seemed to take much notice last November when U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and British comedian Russell Brand simultaneously identified the need for an independent progressive movement. While Senator Sanders was advocating for such a movement on the national level, and Brand was advocating for a similar movement on the global scale, both men were essentially calling for the same thing: a political alternative to the establishment and the political status quo.
Fast forward eight months, and Sen. Sanders’ campaign events are drawing such large crowd that their campaign has been forced to change event venues to accommodate the Senator’s newfound popularity. One might wonder how the one self-proclaimed socialist in Congress could find so much support amongst the American people, not to mention an ever-growing chance of winning the 2016 Democratic Primary. It would seem like the unlikeliest of scenarios, and yet here we are.
The thing is, Bernie’s sudden rise has nothing to do with any ideological labels that may be applied to him, and everything to do with his fairly unique campaign strategy: speaking out for the best interests of the American people, without bending to the will of corporate interests or special interest groups. It’s something the American people haven’t seen in a long time.
Even for liberal Democrats who were ready to make Hillary America’s first “Madame President,” Sen. Sanders has presented an unexpectedly tempting alternative: a true progressive. In a number of ways, Sen. Sanders is running as the ideal Democratic candidate, embodying the best of FDR, Bulworth, Elizabeth Warren, and Josiah Bartlet.
While anything can happen between now and the primaries, Sen. Sander’s campaign has already proven itself a game changer, and made clear the 2016 Democratic Primaries will be more than a coronation of Hillary Clinton.