Bernie Sanders wants to prove his political movement won’t end now that his presidential campaign is over—and so far, it’s not going very well. An organization set up to carry on his legacy, Our Revolution, has faced legal scrutiny in the press, and a number of key staffers have departed. Meanwhile, Tim Canova, the candidate Sanders endorsed as a challenger to former Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, may be defeated badly in Florida’s upcoming Democratic primary race. Instead of unity and progressive victory, the next phase of the political revolution may be marked by bitterness and disappointment.
Canova certainly seems to feel like reality hasn’t lived up to his expectations. “There are a lot of people who feel disappointed,” he told me in an interview on Wednesday, lamenting that Sanders has not campaigned with him ahead of next week’s primary, despite publicly flirting with the idea. “There are a lot of people in South Florida who wanted Bernie Sanders to come down.”
The Florida primary will be a high profile test of Sanders’s ability to help progressive candidates win. Many Sanders supporters view Wasserman Schultz—who was forced to resign as the head of the DNC after leaked emails showed her disparaging the Sanders campaign—as the embodiment of everything wrong with the Democratic establishment. But the outcome of the race looks likely to demoralize them: Wasserman Schultz is poised to hold onto her seat. Recent polling shows Canova trailing by double digits. “Even her critics say it would take a miracle for the longtime Miami congresswoman ... to lose,” Politico reported earlier this month.