Reprinted from Campaign For America's Future
Here's what remains true after Tuesday's primary results: Sen. Bernie Sanders will arrive at the 2016 Democratic Convention in Philadelphia July 25-28 with a large support base, serious money, and the ability to ask for even more money for progressive groups.
This is leverage that he can build on and use. Sufficient delegates to secure the Democratic presidential nomination or not, Sanders has every reason to keep actively campaigning and speaking out until the last primary has concluded.
In The Beginning
Sanders' campaign began without hope that he would actually become the nominee. Before he announced that he would run Sanders even feared he wouldn't be able to raise much money or support.
At the time, progressives felt that the "presumptive" and "inevitable" nominee Secretary Hillary Clinton needed:
1) Progressive opposition in the primaries that would force Clinton to take positions more in line with what polling showed most voters (on the left and right) supported. That included such "populist" policies as supporting labor, opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), raising the minimum wage and restoring taxes on the wealthy and corporations. (See Populist Majority: Exposing the gulf between American opinion and conventional wisdom.)
This succeeded. Watch this video as Clinton morphs into Sanders:
2) Opposition to "practice" on so she didn't go into the general election without a few months honing her campaign and message, making her a better candidate. It is not clear how well that has worked out.
What is clear is that Sanders lit a fuse on a gasoline can. He raised $1.5 million on the first day of his campaign and continued raising large amounts of campaign donations. He also began drawing very large crowds to his rallies. He won in several state primaries, and will win more.
Even if he does not receive enough delegates to clinch the nomination, Sanders will arrive at the convention having accomplished more than anyone imagined at the beginning.
Clinton Needs Sanders' Help
Clinton will need Sanders to not just endorse her but to campaign for her. Following a divisive primary campaign, she will need a healing effort to unite the Democratic Party. Many Sanders supporters feel that Clinton used up a lot of goodwill with what they consider scorched-earth campaign tactics, including misrepresenting Sanders' positions and accusing Sanders of things like opposing the auto bailout and supporting the racist Minutemen. Many of Sanders' supporters also blame the campaign for using "red-baiting" tactics.
Clinton will need Sanders' help as she attempts to undo that damage. This means Sanders will have significant leverage at the convention.
Leverage At The Convention