Bernie Sanders May Have Lost, But His Real Win Is Transforming The Democratic Party

After massive losses on Tuesday and news that the Bernie Sanders is laying off hundreds of staffers, the New York Times has called the Vermont senator’s run for president a “zombie campaign” and his revolution a “wake.”

The media has declared Sanders’ defeat in the run for the Democratic presidential nomination thanks to his most recent losses and the news of layoffs, as reported by ABC News. Spokesman Michael Briggs downplayed the significance of the layoffs and said they were necessary since only ten states are left to vote.

“We need fewer people in place to do the work [than] we needed when there were 50 states to go. And so the campaign is doing some right-sizing to deal with the practicability that we have fewer states left to go.”

He called it a “posture of reality,” when asked if the layoffs meant the Bernie Sanders campaign was weakening. Whether or not Bernie won Tuesday, staffers would’ve been let go en masse because they simply don’t need staff in states where contests have already taken place.

Following that logic, Briggs said new staff would likely be hired in California, which is slated to vote in June.

In late January, the Bernie Sanders machine employed 1,000 people. These layoffs bring that number down to 350. CNN specified that the team currently includes 550 members, and it’ll be shaved by 200.

“It will be hundreds of staff members,” Sanders said in an interview. “We have had a very large staff, which was designed to deal with 50 states in this country; 40 of the states are now behind us. So we have had a great staff, great people.”

Mostly field workers in the states where Bernie lost Tuesday — Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, and Connecticut — will be affected by the layoffs, as will staff in other states and some national staff, since they’ll be less people to manage.

Naturally, everyone has speculated that Bernie Sanders is beginning to throw in the towel. Asked whether the campaign was hiring anyone, a move that could hint at some preparations for the general election, Briggs didn’t really answer the question.

“If we become the nominee, it is going to require a bigger campaign again. We are getting toward the end of the whole calendar for the primary and caucuses.”

The Hill noted that Bernie’s allies have stopped predicting that he’ll win the nomination. However, many people believe that despite his losses, Sanders, in fact, won — because he has influenced the Democratic party and brought issues to the forefront that otherwise may have been pushed to the backburner.

Sanders won 18 contests, inspired young voters, raised funds without a super-PAC, and has forced Hillary Clinton into more liberal territory on many issues. He’s also shaped the minds of Democratic voters to view Wall Street as negative for the economy and see income inequality as a serious problem.

“I would say that Bernie Sanders has achieved everything he wanted, except to win the nomination,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon.

A Democratic strategist who used to work for Clinton, Hank Sheinkopf, added that Bernie has “created a movement within the Democratic Party for people who feel they have been left out of the economic system, who feel that elites are in control and offer them no entry point into the system. They found their voice in a 74-year-old man from Vermont — which is odd considering there is nothing original in what he is saying.”

Because Bernie has inspired and rallied young voters, he may have permanently changed the trajectory of the party, the Times added. Sanders carried a generation that grew up during the Great Recession and inspired them to be more liberal in their views.

His followers, who’ll take his “ideological outlook” even further, will be “more successful down the road,” predicted Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight.

And in recent rallies, Bernie Sanders seemed to be looking ahead to that transformation.

“We are in this campaign to win, but if we do not win, we intend to win every delegate that we can, so that when we go to Philadelphia in July, we’re going to have the votes to put together the strongest progressive agenda that any political party has ever seen. And our job, whether we win or whether we do not win, is to transform not only our country but the Democratic Party — to open the doors of the Democratic Party to working people and young people and senior citizens in a way that does not exist today.”

[Photo by John Sommers II/Getty Images]