It was already apparent as 2016 dawned that Beltway pundits had underestimated Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the veteran left-winger who challenged Clinton for the Democratic nomination.
In the end, Sanders won 23 contests and more than 13 million votes. In the first battle, the Iowa caucuses, Sanders missed out by just a whisker on handing Clinton the kind of shock defeat that could have derailed her march to the nomination.
Sanders’s eventual loss to Clinton could not disguise the intensity of his appeal, especially to the Democratic grassroots.
His platform focused on income inequality and the broader idea that the system is rigged against working Americans. He promised a far more fundamental shift in politics than did Clinton — and the fact that millions of Democrats rallied to that flag is a lesson that the party establishment will ignore at its peril.