Who Won the Debate? We Did.

According to every poll, Bernie Sanders won the Democratic Party’s first debate. But the real winners weren’t standing onstage.

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.

By Gan Golan

Gan Golan is a NY Times bestselling author, artist and activist. His books include 'Goodnight Bush' and acclaimed 'The Adventures of Unemployed Man' (co-created with Erich Origen). As an artist, he has designed rock music posters for Erykah Badu, Queen Latifah, Willie Nelson, Nick Cave and Henry Rollins. He founded a totally fake sports teams, the corporate 'Tax Dodgers' which to the surprise of both sports fans and activists were included in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He's the co-founder of the grassroots think tank, The Movement Netlab. In Fall 2011, he moved from California to New York City after getting his dream job on Wall Street: occupying it.