Is the Sander's movement a movement of policies or a cult of personality? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
A cult of personality is a term used to illustrate deliberate action by the person at the center of it. For example Joseph Stalin employed a huge machinery of both physical and propaganda actions to control the masses and impose his will. Those he could not control, he killed. The same is true of Mao, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.
None of the current candidates engage in this, not even Trump. Simply put no one has the power or access needed to both craft a message, silence naysayers, impose their will to create such a cult. The term is specific to despots and in spite of whatever you may think about our current slate of candidates we are very far removed from such crushing consolidation of power. To use a term meant to describe the most powerful dictators in history within a U.S. context at this point profoundly cheapens the word; it is like comparing anything seen as "bad" to the Nazis as is now sadly too common online.
Sanders isn't a movement either. Sanders is a life long politician with a long history of being able to get elected using independent politics and a very loose association with main stream political organizations to move his home spun socialism into successful action. He is a great campaigner, probably a genius, and easily the Eugene Debs for a new era...just more powerful.
This campaign is Sander's moonshot. As a life long socialist having to watch the New Democrats slowly silence progressives and drag the "liberal" party closer and closer to the right was just too much for him; this is about taking back the term "liberal" more than anything else.
If Sanders accomplishes nothing more than forcing Clinton to adopt and implement some truly liberal policies along with primary election reform he has won no matter who ends up in the White House. Just killing Super Delegates would be a massive victory since they were implemented specifically to silence progressives in the first place.
Sanders is seeking real reform, with his delegate count he will be able to do that at the convention whether he becomes president or not. This is why he is staying the course and why it would be profoundly foolish to drop out at this point.
It is VERY important to remember that more than just nominating a presidential ticket happens at a convention. For the first time in a long time an outsider is truly in the place to influence that process.
At this point even if Hillary wins she does so by undermining the New Democrat movement she helped to start and guide the party for the last 25+ years by having to relent to progressive demands. It has to be a bitter pill. The only way to insure she is not the weakest president in history is to play ball with Sanders and the progressive wing of the party in a very substantive way in order to consolidate a wining base.
A lot of party leaders are going to be ousted, party positions are going to shift, and I think nomination reform is a strong possibility. The system that created Clinton in the first place is on the block. That may not change a lot this cycle, but in a cycle or two the genius and gift that Sanders gives progressive advocates this cycle after decades of losses will be apparent. For the first time progressives are not being tricked into thinking about the short term to the exclusion of everything else.