The media and the political class have called it — Bernie Sanders has lost the Democratic Presidential nomination. They are flat wrong, and not for the first time.
Here’s the real story: the Sanders campaign is changing the laws of political physics — just like Trump did, only far more profoundly. The Bernie crowd is building the most extraordinary grassroots momentum I have ever seen. The movement is gathering strength by the day, and its chances to win are growing fast.
I write from first-hand experience: I am reporting from inside the Bernie campaign. Having observed dozens of campaigns around the world before, I have never seen anything quite like this. The media are telling their own stale and circular story of stalled momentum, defeat and superdelegate-powered inevitability. Meanwhile the Bernie movement is growing faster than Facebook did — and in much the same way.
I saw in my native Britain last year how a similarly passionate movement crashed the Labour Party and elected left-winger Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership. He was a 100-1 outside shot without much charisma, and the media wrote him off too. But the Corbyn crowd won by a landslide — and they didn’t have one-tenth of the strength or sophistication of the Bernie crowd.
I’m talking about the Bernie crowd because that’s what this campaign is – crowd-sourced, crowd-funded, teeming with leadership and initiative. Bernie is their vehicle, bringing them together and opening the doors. While Trump is a media warlord running his own dark ISIS-like insurgency, Bernie is tribune, inspirer, educator, organiser.
This is a popular wave, a democratic crowd, the polar opposite of a mob. The Bernie supporters I’ve met are overwhelmingly thoughtful, passionate, serious people who have finally found a politics they can believe in. Finally, they are discovering their strength in numbers. And they are becoming a tidal wave.
I’ve asked dozens of Bernie supporters what they mean by political revolution, and the answer is modest and extraordinarily consistent: it’s about ending corruption, taking back American democracy for the many, and enabling everyone to live a normal, happy, fulfilling life. Their critique is acute and resonates far beyond the liberal left into conservative and rural strongholds. Their prescriptions are gathering force.
Can Bernie win? Hell, yes. Is it inevitable? Not by a long shot. But citizens getting involved is what will decide the outcome, not media talking heads, Washington suits or billionaires’ cash.
And what if, having overcome extraordinary odds to become a real contender, Bernie falls just short of the nomination? What if his campaign doesn’t grow fast enough to beat the machine the Clintons built for decades?
In the most important sense, he has already won. The Bernie crowd is here to stay.
Spread the word: now it gets interesting.