Cross-posted from The Nation
Northampton, Massachusetts -- Senator Bernie Sanders is inching closer to deciding to run for president as a Democrat in 2016.
When Sanders appeared in Northampton to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Progressive Democrats of America, and to honor the legacy of the group's late co-founder and national director, Tim Carpenter, "Run, Bernie, Run" sentiment ran high. Carpenter's last act was to collect 11,000 petitions urging Sanders to run as a Democrat. And nothing Sanders said discouraged the consensus.
Thus a memorial service became an organizational birth, just as Carpenter himself envisioned.
Nothing is decided until it is officially decided, of course, and pressures from the Democratic establishment are building quickly against the independent Vermont senator. Few if any Democratic elected officials are likely to endorse Sanders for fear of retribution from the formidable Hillary Clinton forces. Women's groups, African-Americans, Latinos and Asians, Hollywood liberals and the organized labor are coalescing into a united front for Clinton too, and are sharply opposed to a potentially divisive primary fight with Sanders.
But just as 2016 will be Clinton's moment as a longtime feminist, it could also be Sanders' moment as the only candidate challenging what he calls the "oligarchic force" with their vast powers over the economy, campaign finance and suicidal exploitation of fossil fuels. Sanders' warning that democracy is threatened by the oligarchs resonates profoundly with millions of Americans looking for answers and for heroes.