What a 2020 voter might say to Bernie Sanders

With at least one website almost begging Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWhat a 2020 voter might say to Bernie Sanders A tax on Wall Street trading is the best solution to income inequality Sanders misses financial disclosure filing deadline MORE (I-Vt.) to run for president in 2020, how would voters receive the 2016 Democratic Party Presidential nomination runner-up? And more importantly, what does Sanders need to do to win?

2020 voter: Hey Senator. I hear there’s lots of enthusiasm for another presidential run. There’s even an unabashed #DraftBernie campaign and website with you splashed on the home page. Glad your base is channeling the enthusiasm generated by your 2016 campaign into building a new political movement. 

Bernie: Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end.  

2020 voter: Couldn’t agree more. Good policy is good politics and all political power is local. Too bad the Democrats didn’t realize this in time. 

Bernie: Nobody thought we were going anywhere.

2020 voter: Your campaign electrified a generation of people that had been disillusioned with the future of this nation.

Nonetheless, no 2020 presidential run unless #FeelTheBern 2.0 addresses some internal reforms. 

2020 voter: For all the fuss about your campaign fighting the establishment, your campaign was actually pretty establishment. I know you trusted your senior advisors, and they were good guys, but at the end of the day, you had all middle-aged white men — entrenched in Washington’s circles for decades — as your senior leadership.


The last presidential cycle should be a lesson. If we truly want to realize a political revolution, then trust the exceptional grassroots talent that working class, black, brown, women, millennial, queer, Muslim, Asian and other leaders can bring to your campaign. Bring these leaders into your inner circle for advice and guidance. 

Bernie: But during this campaign, we won more than 12 million votes. We won 22 state primaries and caucuses 

2020 voter: You are an inspirational figure and this had a large electoral pull, no doubt about it. Much of that credit, however, goes to the dedicated staff, especially the millions of volunteers that toiled countless hours to organize your local events and continue to work in politics.

Indeed, many volunteer Bernie groups already had a sophisticated political operation running on their own. Listen more to this heart of the political revolution, not detached polls or cable TV talking heads. 

2020 voter: Jane was bold and genuine. It was unfortunate she did not take more lead on official campaign strategy, messaging, and policy. She could have been your most valuable strategist. 

Indeed, it was electrifying seeing Jane turn regular campaign events into defining moments, like the time she confronted immigration hardliner Sheriff Joe Arpaio. 

Instead of backing down, Jane boldly used the opportunity to question Arpaio about racial profiling and his use of civilians to detain people who are undocumented. Her audacity could translate to bolder policies and politics.  

Bernie: My campaign was about defeating Donald TrumpDonald TrumpLetters: OSHA must implement safety rule The Kennedys vs. Trump Comey prepped answers ahead of Trump talks: report MORE. After centuries of racism, sexism and discrimination of all forms in our country we do not need a major party candidate who makes bigotry the cornerstone of his campaign.

2020 voter: Noble and attainable goal. Any potential run, however, must have a commanding organization capable of quickly adjusting to the storms of a presidential campaign, especially against President Trump. You need a professional campaign manager that feels the pulse of our communities and is capable of overseeing a complex operation that includes field, media, political, outreach.

Most importantly, an experienced manager will provide an environment where staff can flourish and get the job done, including setting in place formal and functional system to address any internal dispute, claim of sexual harassment, and sexism. Your close friends can help you, but you can’t let them run your entire show. 

Bernie: My campaign and career was and still is committed to dismantling a finance system which is corrupt and that allows billionaires to buy elections. 

2020 voter: A rigged economy is certainly a factor in many broken systems, but it’s not the only factor. You need to go beyond the rigged economy and delve into the policies that rest on racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and other discrimination. 

Knowing the intricacies of those policies is just as much a priority to the political revolution as confronting the rigged economy. 

For example, you recently appeared next to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo promoting the Excelsior program that would ostensibly provide free tuition at New York’s public universities. The program, however, missed the mark as it excludes part time students and Dreamers — a large percentage of the middle class. Mr. Cuomo essentially co-opted your platform to advance his rumored presidential aspirations. 

Details matter.


Cesar Vargas is director of the DREAM Action Coalition and a national advocate for immigration reform.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.