Our Revolution (OR) bounced back from a rocky start and survived the Trump wave on November 8 to help elect 56 down-ballot progressives and rack up 23 progressive victories in ballot initiatives all over the country. OR endorsed a total of 106 general election candidates and worked for/against 31 ballot initiatives, achieving a success rate of 53% and 74%, respectively, in OR’s first general election. Additionally, OR backed 9 candidates in primaries and 7 of them won. (The full list of OR’s 2016 wins and losses can be found at the bottom of this post.)
What these wins prove is that – like Occupy Wall Street – Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign was not a flash in the pan but the beginning of something serious, the opening salvo of an ongoing political revolution. The social contradictions that spurred a generation to take direct action in the streets (Occupy) and at the ballot box (Sanders) remain as alive as ever.
The Sanders campaign accomplished something attempted by no major party presidential campaign in American history: it succeeded in keeping a significant number of supporters mobilized and engaged in political struggle after the campaign ended. Out of 2.5 million Sanders small donors, more than 500,000 contributed to OR-endorsed down-ballot candidates.
President-elect Donald Trump’s upset has politically decapitated the Democratic Party establishment by ending Hillary Clinton’s political career. The broader Trump wave crippled the Democratic Party as a whole which now controls little in the American political system above the municipal level. This existential weakness means that the Democratic Party is more susceptible than ever to a hostile takeover by progressive forces, although such a takeover will neither be easy nor quick (in fact just the opposite).
If Sanders runs for president in the Democratic Party primary again in 2020 (as he should), his path to the nomination will not be blocked by a political dynasty (none are left), a deep bench of powerful establishment candidates, or over 700 superdelegates whose numbers the Sanders campaign fought successfully to greatly reduce.
Until then, we must focus on winning the next set of battles in the political revolution: defending against the attacks of a Trump administration, the 2018 midterm elections, and non-electoral struggles like the Dakota Access Pipeline and Black Lives Matter.
Election days come and go, but the struggle continues.
*Election results not yet final.