Published with permission from Alternet.
I don’t know what you’re going to do from here on, and I’m not going to advise you. You’ve earned the right to figure out the next steps for your campaign and the movement you have launched.
But let me tell you this: You’ve already succeeded.
At the start they labeled you a “fringe” candidate—a 74-year-old, political Independent, Jewish, self-described democratic socialist, who stood zero chance against the Democratic political establishment, the mainstream media, and the moneyed interests.
Then you won 22 states.
And in almost every state—even in those you lost—you won vast majorities of voters under 30, including a majority of young women and Latinos. And most voters under 45.
You have helped shape the next generation.
You’ve done it without super PACs or big money from corporations, Wall Street, and billionaires. You did it with small contributions from millions of us. You’ve shown it can be done without selling your soul or compromising your conviction.
You’ve also inspired millions of us to get involved in politics—and to fight the most important and basic of all fights on which all else depends: to reclaim our economy and democracy from the moneyed interests.
Your message—about the necessity of single-payer health care, free tuition at public universities, a $15 minimum wage, busting up the biggest Wall Street banks, taxing the financial speculation, expanding Social Security, imposing a tax on carbon, and getting big money out of politics—will shape the progressive agenda from here on.
Your courage in taking on the political establishment has emboldened millions of us to stand up and demand our voices be heard.
Regardless of what you decide to do now, you have ignited a movement that will fight onward. We will fight to put more progressives into the House and Senate. We will fight at the state level. We will organize for the 2020 presidential election.
We will not succumb to cynicism. We are in it for the long haul. We will never give up.
Thank you, Bernie.
Photo: Bernie Sanders artwork by Amanda Burkman is displayed during the candidate’s campaign rally at Colton Hall in Monterey, California, May 31, 2016. REUTERS/Michael Fiala