Now that Bernie’s done, what’s next?

The Bernie Sanders campaign has come to a close with all the pomp and circumstance of an ill-timed fart, and with it closes one of the stranger chapters of recent American politics.

After all, who would expect that the 73-year-old Independent/socialist Senator from Vermont, who (optimistically) polled at 5% when he announced, would come so close to snatching victory from the former First Lady, former Senator from New York, former Secretary of State, and the most famous woman in American politics?

anyone else think they should get an odd-couple-esque sitcom deal out of this?

It goes to show that nothing in politics is ever a shoo-in. Even if you run unopposed, you may get zero votes.

The Sanders campaign was fascinating in that it mobilized the anti-establishment and economics portion of the Obama coalition. And it probably would’ve overtaken the Hillary campaign if not for another anti-establishment, economic politician in the form of one Donald J. Trump.

tfw bae wants the wall ten feet higher

Sanders supporters should be proud of themselves. They worked their butts off and worked hard, and didn’t give up even in the face of ballot manipulation, media blackouts, accusations of sexism, and a donor coalition built from every big business and Wall Street operator imaginable.

They truly built a campaign on issues, and it goes to show that despite the current state of American politics, issue-based campaigns, run effectively and as lean as possible, can cover much more ground than profligate identity politics campaigns.

The question now is: what’s next?

Well, the Bernie coalition splits into two camps: anti-establishment left who would appreciate an honest female leader and anti-establishment independents who would like to reform the current political system. These groups aren’t mutually exclusive either, and shouldn’t be — the Venn diagram has quite a bit of overlap.

where do I get one of those Bernie heads I WANT ONE SO BAD

The anti-establishment left has a simple choice in the general: Dr. Jill Stein. Green Party candidates are usually an afterthought, sideshow, or otherwise the refuge of hippies who don’t care about politics and just want to tend to their hemp crop in peace.

the candidate we’d definitely split a salad with!

With Dr. Jill Stein, however, you have a serious candidate who has been working just as hard as Bernie has, perhaps even harder, to get their ideas across and warn the Left of the Trojan Horse nature of electing a Clinton into office again.

Plus, for those “history-makers” who really want to support a female candidate but feel uncomfortable with Hillary’s values (or, rather, lack thereof), Dr. Stein provides a powerful alternative — a self-made woman, a doctor no less, who has thrown herself into the political sphere to fight for the ideas she believes in.

The anti-establishment independents who once supported Bernie have a very clear choice in November. Not Clinton, as Bernie lukewarmly endorsed (did he really have a choice at this point?)

Their best option is one Donald J. Trump, who’s run the strongest anti-establishment campaign since William Jennings Bryan.

In Trump, former Bernie supporters have an ally who recognizes the broken nature of the political system, the corrupt nature of the Clintons, an active rejector of identity politics, an anti-war and pro-investment-at-home candidate not beholden to corporate interests.

I voted for Bernie in the CA Primary because, as an unaffiliated voter, the only party I could vote for was Democratic (and a couple other 7th or 8th parties that don’t matter). I was proud to support him, and count myself among those who have closely watched and supported this come-from-behind, grassroots campaign.

Bernie voters like myself who don’t want to resign themselves to supporting Hillary, the candidate they worked so hard to oppose, have two excellent options to choose from in Dr. Stein and Mr. Trump.

The choice is ours.