Hillary Clinton can't ignore Millennials or far left
© Greg Nash

When Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGOP warns Graham letter to Pelosi on impeachment could 'backfire' Hillary Clinton praises former administration officials who testified before House as 'gutsy women' Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart MORE stepped to the podium Thursday night to formally accept the nomination as Democratic candidate for president, she gave a nod to Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — House Dems change drug pricing bill to address progressive concerns | Top Republican rejects Dem proposal on surprise medical bills | Vaping group launches Fox News ad blitz Democrats have reason to worry after the last presidential debate Krystal Ball on Sanders debate performance: 'He absolutely hit it out of the park' MORE, her once and future opponent.

In fact, many of the convention speakers mentioned Vermont Sen. Sanders, who earlier had asked Clinton be given the nomination by acclaim. Clinton herself said that his campaign “inspired millions of Americans, particularly young people.” This was a demographic that did not necessarily warm up to Clinton. In fact, Sanders was far and away the most popular choice among the voting young. The Washington Post said that more young people voted for Sanders in the primaries than voted for Clinton and the Republican nominee, combined.

Clinton also commended Sanders for bringing attention to his campaign’s signature topic, wealth and income inequality, and she promised to take the spirit of Sanders’ campaign, and put it into action.

She’d better.

Those young people – and other Sanders supporters – are watching, and just as seven or so years ago the Tea Party spun off the Republican party because their party was not conservative enough, the progressive wing of the Democratic party – the so-called “Bernie Bros” being dismissed by so many in the media -- could do the same.

Some of them already have. Some Sanders delegates and supporters, angry at leaked emails that show the Democratic National Committee’s favoritism of Clinton, refuse to support the nominee. Some are romancing the Green Party, which has, by its own count, just roughly 100 elected officials across the country.

These folks mean business. They aren’t going away, and they hold the future of politics in their hands.

If the creaky old Democratic party doesn’t soon have a course correction, and engage what Howard Dean once called the “progressive wing of the Democratic party,” there could very well be a splintering. It will take more than a nod from a podium to get and keep these progressive voters in the Democratic party. It will take action, and a commitment from the top down. 

Campbell is a journalism professor and writer. She is the author of Dating Jesus: Fundamentalism, Feminism and the American Girl and the upcoming Searching for The American Dream in Frog Hollow. Her work has appeared in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Magazine, The New Haven Register and The Guardian. Follow her @campbellsl


The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.