The conventional wisdom on the establishment left is that Sen. Bernie Sanders is offering his enthusiastic supporters pipedreams in lieu of achievable policy proposals. Placed in proper perspective, Bernie Sanders may be just one justice away from setting in motion what he calls a political "revolution."
The only thing preventing Bernie Sanders from a landslide victory in the 2016 Democratic Primaries is the notion that non-white Democrats will automatically side with Hillary Clinton. If this seems like hyperbole or an unrealistic assessment of today's political landscape, then let's look at the big picture.
It's tough to represent the hopes of Americans hurt by entrenched political interests when you've taken money from Donald Trump, or you've already run a campaign ad in 2008 that utilizes a "racist sub-message." For these reasons, Clinton's problem with white liberals, and Sanders's eventual appeal to minority voters, will enable Vermont's Senator to win the Democratic nomination.
The voting turnout in this year's congressional and gubernatorial elections was the lowest since 1942. Much of the story was in young people, poor people, black and Hispanic citizens who tend to support Democrats voting in far lower numbers than in 2008 or 2012. The Democrats just weren't offering them very much. But the other part of the Election Day story was older voters and the white working class, especially men, deserting the Democrats in droves -- again, because Democrats didn't seem to be offering much. Republicans, at least, were promising lower taxes. Turnout on average dropped from 2012 by a staggering 42 percent. But as Sam Wang reported in a post-election piece for the American Prospect, the drop-off was evidently worse for Democrats. The two parts of this story seem to create an impossible conundrum for Democrats.
With continued officer-involved shootings, attempts at voter suppression, and ongoing racial and economic disparities, it is easy to push voting to the side. But it is precisely because of tragedies like the deaths of young Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, and because of an unequal educational and employment system, that we need to show up at the polls.