This piece first appeared on Waleed Shahid's Medium page here. The Nation recently published a shorter verion of this piece here: "It's Time for a Tea Party of the Left." We thought OrgUp readers would benefit from seeing the fuller version, since it's one of the more provocative strategic proposals that has been put forward recently.
Last week, just after winning the Indiana primary, Bernie Sanders vowed to stay in the Democratic presidential race until the last primary, on June 14. “I think we are perpetuating the political revolution by significantly increasing the level of political activity that we're seeing in this country," he said regarding why he won’t drop out of a race that is increasingly unlikely for him to win. This “revolution” grew out of increasing public recognition that the grievances and aspirations of average Americans were being ignored by the political establishment, and Sanders’s ability to attract nearly half of Democratic voters shows that a broad base exists for an independent challenge to the party establishment.
Over the past decade, we’ve also seen large protests erupt in the United States through Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and movements for immigrant rights and climate justice. But how can this energy translate into electoral power in our rigid two-party system? Progressives might take a page from the inside-outside strategy embraced by the Tea Party.