Today's Truthdig, a publication to which I once was a contributor, features two contradictory accounts of the Sanders campaign: Chris Hedges, a one-time mainstream journalist who has become more politically radical and active over the past several years, and Adolph Reed, political science Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and long-time labor advocate.
Here is Hedges' article. Here is Reed's interview (re-posted from Commondreams).
You can read them for yourself, and here is a down and dirty critique of Chris Hedges' article.
I appeared at a conference with Chris last year, and I'm
a fan of his writing; but he is - like many today on the left -
the captive of his own prior pronouncements. He/they (and I at one
time) assume(s) that what was true last year is true this year.
something has happened. The two-party system just reached a tipping
point, one that sneaked up on us demographically (especially as we
tended to dismiss 'millennials), and that system has begun to unravel.
THAT, and not the Sanders program (or the Trump program), is the
significance of this election. Sanders is the face of it; but as Reed
pointed out, Sanders' campaign is built on a movement-building model at
precisely a time when a door has opened in history where a movement may
Chris Hedges called the Sanders campaign a "phantom movement," summarily dismissing the millions of supporters and thousands of campaign volunteers, and committing a couple of classical leftist errors. Chris and others are still seeing the election through the lens of
program points; and they are recycling ritual denunciations of the Democratic
Party that are now purely polemical.
In effect, he is saying (a) you are not a real movement, (b) you are being co-opted by the Democrats, (c) you can't change an established political party, and (d) you are not the real revolutionaries.
Reed recognizes that something different is afoot, even if the handful of real revolutionaries are still conducting present day operations with last year's intelligence assessments (apologize for the military metaphor).
Reed says that the Sanders supporters are tactically commandeering the Democratic Party's vehicle, or in his words, we suddenly find ourselves
"playing with the house's money." This phenomenon has undermined the
hegemony of the establishment in the realm of public discourse, and set the stage for the continuation of a movement that remains in place after the election, specifically to target Congress every two years for the next eight to change their composition, too.
You can compare them yourself by reading Hedges and listening to Reed's interview.