In 2016, Bernie Sanders’s campaign for the presidency ended in defeat. Still, he changed everything, as the 2020 primary race attests, Sanders’s once marginal watchwords are the new litmus tests. But his most singular features have proven unassimilable. His campaign isn’t only aimed at the White House: he wants to organise a ‘political revolution,’ which he says will involve the active participation of ‘millions of ordinary people’ in the voting booth, in social movements, and in workplaces across the country. As he battles the likes of Biden and Trump, he can say that such a revolution is already underway, citing the massive growth of the Democratic Socialists of America, the teachers he inspired to lead strikes across red and blue states, and the new generation of radicals in Congress—led by AOC and Ilhan Omar—inspired by his example.
In Bigger than Bernie, activist-writers Meagan Day and Micah Uetricht give us an intimate map of this emerging movement to remake American politics top to bottom, profiling the grassroots organisers who are building something bigger, and more ambitious, than any one candidate. And as participants themselves, they provide a serious analysis of the prospects for long-term change, offering a strategy for making ‘the political revolution’ more than just a campaign slogan, providing insights into how we entrench democratic socialism in the halls of power and in our own lives.
Bigger than Bernie will prove to be essential, no matter how the primary unfolds. In the case of a Sanders victory, it’ll offer unmatched insights into the people behind the most unique campaign in modern American history; and if he loses, it’ll provide his core supporters with a clear-eyed sense of how the movement can sustain itself for the long-haul.