9 months ago Bernie Sanders announced he was running for President. For months his campaign received almost no media coverage. When the media did talk about him, it was often in the context of how his campaign might help make Hillary Clinton a better candidate in the general election. The pundits labeled him a “protest candidate”, without even a remote chance of challenging Clinton, let alone defeating her.
Tomorrow all eyes will be on Iowa, as they hold the first truly meaningful proceedings of the 2016 election. Some view it as a make or break moment for Sanders. If he wins, it might solidify his momentum and lead to victories in other states. If he loses, the Clinton campaign and the corporate media will claim it as evidence that his candidacy has been a mirage. My prediction is that Sanders will get more delegates tomorrow, and the media will frame it as a “narrow victory”, then immediately start talking about how he will still lose in Nevada and South Carolina.
However, to me, the Sanders campaign has always been about more than just this election. During his announcement speech Bernie said this:
One of the hesitancies I had about deciding whether to run or not was, obviously, dealing with money. I’m not going to get money from the Koch brothers and I’m not going to get money from billionaires. I wonder, now, in this day and age, whether it is possible for any candidate who is not a billionaire or who is not beholden to the billionaire class to be able to run successful campaigns.
Bernie’s campaign pulled in 73 million dollars, almost all from small donations, in 2015. That may not be quite as much as money as Clinton raised, but it’s certainly enough to run a competitive campaign. And competitive his campaign has been. He’s made massive gains in the polls, and has a strong chance of winning Iowa tomorrow. All this despite corporate media giving him almost nothing but negative coverage when they bother to cover him at all.
To me, Bernie’s campaign has always been about that question: is it even possible to run a real campaign without taking money from big moneyed interests?
Whatever happens tomorrow or throughout the rest of the primary, I think Bernie Sanders has proven that the answer to that question is a resounding yes. He’s also proven that when a politician shows true integrity people will flock to their banner. In my book, that means Bernie Sanders has already won.