As the left tears itself apart deciding whether to vote for Hillary or not, the real results of Bernie’s “revolution” are being lost. Bernie’s “revolution” is technically not a revolution at all. A revolution is a change in the form of government and no one, least of all Bernie, is suggesting that we ditch the presidency, the Congress or indeed the American system of government. He is instead talking about reforming it. In a sense Bernie’s “revolution” has already been a success so far because it has achieved three of its goals. First of all he has shown that political candidates can raise money in small donations from grassroots people rather than being dependent on the large donations and big donors. This is not to say that there haven’t been big donors as well, but the amount of money he has raised from small donors has been spectacular. Its second goal has been to articulate a vision of a different America and to have that vision incorporated into the Democratic party’s stated plan for America.  In that it has been admittedly only partially successful. The incorporation of a higher minimum wage into the Democratic platform and the possibility of a single payer healthcare plan and free public universities into Hillary’s campaign rhetoric are signs of this partial success. Finally the campaign has been successful by involving young people in progressive politics to a much greater extent than mainstream Democratic candidates have done in generations.

Now that Bernie has capitulated to Hillary the question of whether his “revolution” will continue has come to the forefront. It is more than whether Bernie supporters will vote for Hillary (although that is a pressing question) , but also whether those mobilized by his campaign will continue their political activity. Will the successes of his campaign continue or will they recede to become just a historical footnote? The first test will be whether they can turn the Congress and the Senate blue. Judging by the torrent of Democratic email and telephone campaign solicitations I get each week, the Democratic Congressional and Senate Campaign Committees are well oiled machines. The question becomes whether the money from small donors will dry up as the glamour and excitement of Bernie’s presidential campaign recedes. Can Bernie turn the flow of money to him into a flow of money into support of progressive congressional and senate candidates? Regardless of who wins the White House (please God do not let it be Trump) it is whether the Congress changes that will determine how successful the next president will be. Will more people with Bernie’s vision for America go to Congress? Will young people not only support these candidates but become these candidates either now or in the future?

The other question is whether further down-ticket the progressive tide can make any inroads in local elections. Except for those issues on which inaction was exactly what the buyers wanted (e.g. gun control, financial reform, and the role of money in politics,) those who bought politicians in the federal congress might want some of their money back. Most of the conservative congressmen and senators spent their time in fruitless efforts to repeal Obamacare, ultimately empty Benghazi hearings, and providing the gridlock to stymie Obama rather than advancing the conservative agenda. The most odious laws, those restricting voting,  government assistance, immigrants, women’s health, support of public education, and LGBT human rights, come from the statehouses and governors’ mansions. Progressives have made few inroads to these places and have allowed conservatives and the Tea Party to take control. Will Bernie’s “revolution” be able to generated the sustained interest to overcome the gerrymandering and voter apathy that have led to the current situation? Will more progressive candidates emerge to challenge at this local level?

Whether you vote for Hillary or not it becomes imperative that you vote for the progressive candidates down-ticket; not just this election cycle but in those to come. Bernie’s “revolution” as with all true change will be the result of of long-term, concerted effort and not the quick fix which so many want.

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