After seven consecutive wins in smaller states’ primary elections, Senator Bernie Sanders lost to fellow Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in her home state of New York. Clinton’s huge win – which some attribute to New York’s strict voting laws that can make it difficult for those registered as independents to vote – makes it highly unlikely that Sanders will be able to win enough delegates to reach the 2,383 required to win the Democratic nomination.
Many have been questioning whether or not it is time for Sanders to drop out of the race and throw his support behind Clinton in an effort to prevent Republican front-runner Donald Trump from winning the presidency. However, I agree with an opposing argument that believes if Sanders were to drop out of the race, the revolution he fought so hard for would die with the end of his campaign. Sanders’ campaign has centered around grassroots organization and redistributing the nation’s income from the top one percent to the lower and middle income classes. Sanders’ revolutionary beliefs and values are central to his campaign and I don’t think he should drop out, nor do I think he will.
Bernie Sanders came into this election as an underdog and has fought long and hard to reach the position he is in today. He was able to come so far due to his aggressively liberal campaign messages and upstanding moral values. Sanders’s message resonates with many Americans, and dropping out of the race in the face of adversity would erode any progress he has made so far in his political revolution.
Some argue that Sanders should drop out because it would allow Clinton, the more likely nominee, to refocus her resources on keeping Trump out of the presidency instead of continuing to fight against Sanders. Sanders’s first priority is getting his message across and inspiring change in America, not beating Trump in the general election. Other critics are concerned that if Sanders does not drop out and support Clinton, his supporters won’t bother to vote at all. This could result in the Democratic party losing to the GOP in the generals.
Another reason Sanders cannot be expected to drop out of the race is because of what happened in 2008 when Clinton was losing to Obama. Clinton fought hard until the very end, even when it was impossible for her to surpass Obama in the superdelegate count. She went on to win a few more states even after Obama had essentially been named the Democratic nominee. Sanders now finds himself in a similar situation, except with the roles reversed. It would not make sense for him to drop out of the race. He should follow Clinton’s example and not quit even though his chances of securing the Democratic nomination seem to be slim to none.
Some compare Sanders to Ralph Nader, who was considered by some to be the revolutionary, anti-establishment candidate for the presidency in 2000. He ran as a member of the Green Party. Nader never had close to the amount of support that Sanders has received and none of his events were ever as well-attended. Sanders’s message has resonated with millions of liberal Americans and he has successfully mobilized the youth, a historically difficult feat.
Sanders’ supporters are dedicated to the mission and his movement will not stop after this election, but I still think it would be sending the wrong message if he gave up. Sanders’ goal is to change the status quo of the United States political landscape, which he has already been successful in accomplishing. Sanders’ campaign isn’t overly concerned with winning anymore, but he is concerned with enacting change that will last beyond the election.
Brooke Janusz ’18 (firstname.lastname@example.org) is from Thousand Oaks, Calif. She majors in economics.