Despite the long odds of taking the Democratic nomination this July, Bernie Sanders is fighting on — raising money and giving speeches, even though, barring an astroid, Hillary Clinton will be running against Donald Trump.
And yet, when Sanders sat down with Rolling Stone after a rally in Oregon recently, he acknowledged that his greatest contribution to the race won’t be his victory; it will be pulling the Democratic Party to the left. The candidate told reporter Tim Dickinson that one of his priorities is to see strong language on climate change and a carbon tax in the Democratic platform:
Number one, we want the strongest progressive platform that we can [get]. That would incorporate many of the ideas that we’ve fought for: from Medicare for all; paid family and medical leave; 15-bucks-an-hour minimum wage; very strong language on climate change and a carbon tax; stopping fracking; public colleges and universities tuition-free, et cetera, et cetera.
Now that Sanders has been allotted five out of 15 slots on the Democratic Party’s Platform Drafting Committee, he’s in a better position to make that happen. Sanders announced Monday that his five candidates include academic and political activist Cornel West, Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, Arab American Institute head James Zogby, Native American activist Deborah Parker, and climate activist Bill McKibben (a Grist board member). Hillary Clinton has named former Environmental Protection Agency chief Carol Browner as one of her picks.
Sanders may not be able to claim victory in the race, but he’ll be able to claim something momentous all the same: bringing in new and needed voices to the very inner workings of the party he hoped to lead.