POLITICS

This Is Not The End Of Bernie Sanders

But the future of his movement is in his supporters' hands.

So, that happened. The Democratic presidential primary is not yet done and dusted, but it's getting there, and if trends hold, it is likely that Hillary Clinton will be the nominee of her party. It's not a possibility that the ardent supporters of Bernie Sanders prefer to face -- but as far as backers of losing candidates go, they are still rich with possibilities. MTV News' Ana Marie Cox joins the podcast this week to take part in an ongoing debate over the future of Sanders' movement.  

And for many reasons, it remains a future to believe in, if only for Sanders' astonishing achievements in voter demographics. At this point, it's become almost passé to note the way Sanders has dominated among younger Americans. By and large, they share a perspective about the world into which they've come of age that the Clinton camp would be loath to admit: Important institutions have failed, the path to economic security is darker and more filled with terrors and the world they've joined is a little bit more broken than it was before. 

But it's an open question as to whether they can build upon this busted edifice. As Jamelle Bouie notes, Sanders' effectiveness with younger voters has only earned him a bigger helping of a small portion of voters:

For starters, while Sanders wins a huge share of the youth vote, young voters (18 to 29) are still a modest share of the primary electorate. In the 2008 New Hampshire primary, they were 18 percent of all voters. This year, they were 19 percent. In South Carolina in 2008, young people were 14 percent of all voters. This year, they were 15 percent. And in Ohio in 2008, they were 16 percent of all voters. This year, they were just 15 percent. If the Sanders revolution is supposed to drive greater turnout, it hasn’t happened—Democratic turnout overall is far below its 2008 high, and on par with turnout in the 2004 nomination race.

To put it bluntly, Sanders' movement isn't really a threat to the established order. But they can be yet, if his supporters have the stomach to set their sights a little lower. Sanders' appeal has had a rough time getting over in the hullabaloo of the presidential primary -- which, let's face it, is still pretty much the playground of political elites. 

However, as Zach Carter points out, Sanders' support has nevertheless proven robust enough to add a considerable dose of creatine to the liberal scene. And there's fertile political turf to be taken in any number of venues that lack the sexiness of a presidential campaign -- county boards, state legislatures and the like. Committed Sanders supporters need to have designs on these seats, win them, and add something beyond pure passion to their portfolio: demonstrable records of responsible governing. 

Not every revolution has to begin at the Oval Office. And when you succeed at these lower levels in politics, then you get to be the elites. Fancy that.

Elsewhere on this week’s podcast: This week, President Barack Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia to meet with our best frenemies in the war on terror. Our diplomatic relationship with the kingdom, which is awkward on its best days, has been considerably strained of late, and adding to the tension is a bipartisan bill in the Senate -- supported by both Democratic presidential candidates -- that would allow victims of terrorist attacks to sue states that sponsor terrorism. It's a bill Obama has threatened to veto, and its very existence has him in a bind.

Finally, public safety advocates are warning that the U.S. Senate is about to make our lives more dangerous by passing legislation that will loosen what are already pretty loose regulations on truckers and the length of their workweek. We'll explain the impact these rules have on public safety and how Congress manages to slide this sort of nonsense into law.

“So, That Happened” is hosted by Jason Linkins, Zach Carter and Arthur Delaney. Joining them this week is MTV News' Ana Marie Cox, as well as The Huffington Post’s Mike McAuliff and Jessica Schulberg.

This podcast was produced, edited and engineered by Christine Conetta.

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