“When [presidential candidate Bernie] Sanders says — as he does in every speech — that he’s seeking to build ‘a revolution,’ that’s not just rhetoric. What Sanders understands in his bones is that every period of progressive reform in U.S. history has come as a result of massive street heat, of energized movements that push policymaking elites to the left. Abolitionists pressured the Lincoln Republicans toward a policy of emancipation. Militant workers and a socialist left, whose general strikes shut down several major cities in 1934, prompted Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Democrats to legalize collective bargaining and create Social Security in 1935. The civil rights movement enabled the Kennedy-Johnson Democrats to pass the landmark legislation of the ’60s. Progressive reform doesn’t happen absent a large and vibrant left.” [clarification added by TSJ]
“A large and vibrant left, however, has been missing from the American political landscape since the ’60s. Precisely because Sanders has staked out the most distinctly leftist terrain of any major candidate in decades, and because so many Americans (young Americans in particular) have rallied to his cause, his campaign holds the promise of recreating that missing left.”
“But signing on for Sanders, if his volunteers are serious, isn’t like signing on for any other candidate. It should mean they’re signing on for rebuilding the long-gone American left.
Is this difficult? And how. Is this necessary? Totally.”
– opinion writer for The Washington Post, Harold Meyerson