Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton is pivoting to the left, having come out against the Keystone XL pipeline proposal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. While the Clinton campaign portrays this move as the natural result of careful study and research by the candidate, critics call it a blatant flip-flop from her days as Secretary of State, where she was an integral part of the presidential administration that dealt with both proposals. Analysts seem to agree that Clinton is shifting to the political left as a result of Bernie Sanders’ unexpected popularity. In an effort to retain her lead, Clinton is trying to appeal to pro-Sanders progressives.
FORTUNE has announced in a headline that Bernie Sanders is “fulfilling his purpose” by forcing Clinton to pivot leftward. This is rather insulting and indicates an entrenched media bias in favor of Clinton. No, Bernie Sanders is not running to encourage other candidates to evolve toward more progressive and populist standpoints. Bernie Sanders is running to be the president of the United States, and the working and middle classes desperately need his leadership and advocacy.
Bernie Sanders is a genuine candidate. He is not a sideshow. When media outlets portray him as such, or as a mere conversation-starter, it unfairly sidelines his campaign by implying that he is not really competing for the nomination. Bernie Sanders wants more than awareness of America’s economic problems – he wants solutions.
Supporters of Sanders, whether they are liberal Democrats or die-hard independents, must remain vigilant. As Hillary Clinton pivots further toward Sanders’ long-held positions, the mainstream media will likely begin trying to brush off Sanders’ candidacy as “mission accomplished.” The implied message will be for voters to return to Clinton’s camp because she is now acknowledging the issues brought forth by her rival.
This message, and the overall media bias in favor of Clinton’s entrenched political machine, ignores the likelihood that Clinton will quickly downplay her new populist and progressive views if she clinches the Democratic presidential nomination. While Sanders has been championing the same causes since the 1970s, Clinton has routinely “evolved” her views…conveniently, toward whichever way public opinion seems to run. As president, it is likely that her views will “evolve” back toward whatever helps her curry favor with a Republican-heavy Congress.
That is not what American workers need. Americans need a fighter, a champion. We want someone who is not afraid of being the underdog, of fighting for what is right no matter what, and for gutting it out. Bernie Sanders has won under these circumstances, becoming mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 after years of being a fringe candidate. He has, without compromising his views, fought and struggled and made it all the way to the United States Senate.
Bernie Sanders is not here to shift anyone’s views. He is here to get things done. But he can only do so if we remain strong in support of his campaign. We cannot let FORTUNE, and other media outlets, brush us aside.