Davis: What's next for Bernie?
Bernie Sanders cannot and will not quietly slip back into his seat in the U.S. Senate after his run for president is over. He ran for the office in order to promote an agenda that he believed would benefit the American people and he sacrificed a lot to try to push that agenda.
Although Sanders will not become the first Jewish socialist president of the United States, his candidacy pushed Clinton much farther left than she would have gone without him. Social, economic and environmental justice issues have been the fabric of the political life of Bernie Sanders and he has carried those ideals with him every second on the campaign trail.
As the parties head to their conventions to officially anoint their candidates Sanders will try to have as much influence as possible in promoting his political agenda. Last week he was able to convince the Democratic National Committee to give him five of the 15 seats on the convention's platform committee. Bill McKibben of 350.org will speak for Bernie's environmental issues and Dr. Cornel West will be there to address racial justice when the platform is constructed.
Then there was Bernie's meeting with President Obama. While we will never know exactly what was said you can be sure that Bernie and the President did not make too much small talk. I suspect Bernie used the meeting to try to get some assurances from Obama that when Obama hits the campaign trail for Clinton that he will talk about some of Bernie's core issues.
It is ironic that Obama has embraced many of Sanders' core issues such as health care, but he has not been as bold as Sanders in pushing issues beyond the political comfort zone. Of course, a candidate can be much more daring than a president, but in these political times how much can a president really lose when he has the entire Congress fighting and blocking him at every turn?
It is extremely doubtful that Sanders would ever accept or be offered the vice president slot on a Clinton ticket. So what can Bernie do to promote his political agenda during the final leg of the campaign season and beyond? Having the ear of Obama, Clinton and the Democratic power brokers will help but it will not be enough when Clinton has to waste her energy fighting a racist, misogynistic, arrogant bully.
Perhaps Bernie can work to become a candidate for a cabinet position or some other high level position in government after a Democratic win. I don't know if that is something he would consider, but I suspect that he might consider any position in which he has the ability to push the American political agenda closer to the Bernie Sanders agenda.
Bernie is a seasoned politician and he has proven how skilled he is at the game during these many months on the campaign trail. However, what still amazes me is how all of the media have missed the boat when talking about one of the most unique candidates this country has ever seen.
Sanders has a healthy ego, but he is not an egomaniac. He is simply able to use his personal strength to push an agenda that he does not personally benefit from. And that is part of the gift of Bernie Sanders that no one is talking about.
Bernie is not a millionaire and he has not personally profited from his lifelong political career. His life has been dedicated to principle and he has always put his money where his mouth is. As far as I know, there are no scandals in Bernie's history and there are no sordid affairs, love babies or shady deals waiting for the media to reveal. Bernie is the real thing. He is a moral mensch with a ton of chutzpah and that is a rarity in the world of politics.
Richard Davis is a registered nurse. He writes from Guilford and welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.