Who Won the Debate? We Did.

Activists unfurl colored banners while hanging from the St. Johns bridge in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, July 29, 2015, to protest the departure of Royal Dutch Shell PLC icebreaker Fennica, which is in Portland for repairs. The icebreaker is a vital part of Shell's exploration and spill-response plan off Alaska's northwest coast. Greenpeace officials say the activists have enough water and food to last for days, and can hoist themselves to allow other marine traffic to pass. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

According to every poll, Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party’s first debate. The only people who seemed to think Hillary won were the media pundits—it’s always refreshing when they blatantly remind us of their role: to ensure that we do not make the mistake of believing our own eyes, feelings, or thoughts.

But the real winners of the debate weren’t necessarily standing onstage. No, the true winners were the social movements for change that have unquestionably shaped the public debate in this country and are now defining the policy agenda in the election.

How many times were “Wall Street” and “The 1%” explicitly discussed?

Thanks, Occupy Wall Street!

How many times were the candidates forced to discuss “Institutional Racism” and say the words “Black Lives Matter” on a national stage?

Thank you, #BlackLivesMatter!

How many times were “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” and a “Pathway to Citizenship” referred to?

Thanks, Dreamers!

How many times did we hear discussion of making college “tuition-free”?

Thank you, Student Debt Movement!

How many times was “Climate Change” said, and even cited as the “single greatest threat to national security”?

Thank you, People’s Climate Movement!

So the next time you’re wondering whether to show up at a rally, remember—the fight for the society we want doesn’t begin in the halls of Congress, or even within liberal non-profits. It begins on the streets.

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