During his speech last night, the president did something no prominent speaker at the DNC has done thus far—he took a moment to praise the organizing efforts of Sanders supporters:
So if you agree that there’s too much inequality in our economy, and too much money in our politics, we all need to be as vocal and as organized and as persistent as Bernie Sanders’ supporters have been. We all need to get out and vote for Democrats up and down the ticket, and then hold them accountable until they get the job done.
If you want more justice in the justice system, then we’ve all got to vote—not just for a President, but for mayors, and sheriffs, and state’s attorneys, and state legislators. And we’ve got to work with police and protesters until laws and practices are changed. ... That’s how change will happen.
It was a smart rhetorical and political move. Obama was acknowledging something that many of Hillary’s most outspoken supporters often refuse to concede—that grassroots organizing, at the local, state, and national level, is proven to be one of the most important ways that progress is made in this country. Obama knows this: It’s what got him elected in 2008 and it is, in his own words, how change happens.
On a pragmatic level, those remarks hit a tone that will likely do more to get Bernie supporters to vote for Hillary—and more importantly, stay involved with the political system—than all-too-common comments like these:
As Emmett Rensin wrote, both at the DNC and during this election season, Sanders voters were “often reported but rarely taken seriously, genuinely committed to the importance of their politics.” Last night, Obama took those voters seriously, and Democrats should do the same.