- raise the federal minimum wage to $15/hour and tie it to inflation
- abolish the death penalty
- close private prisons
- expand Social Security and Medicare
- make public colleges and universities free for over 80% of Americans
- invest heavily in alternative energy sources and tax fossil fuels
That's just a sampling of the list (which I got from Bernie Sanders's website). This is a huge achievement, not because everything (or even most things) in a party platform becomes law but because the party platform becomes the benchmark. You change a country like the United States one platform, one election at a time, and Bernie Sanders and his supporters have done more to demand and effect that change than anyone else in this election cycle.
No, Bernie Sanders will not be President. But the fact that Hillary Clinton has always been the favorite of the DNC, and will be the party's nominee, is not evidence that the system is corrupt. She has been a loyal, successful Democrat her entire professional career. No one should be surprised that the DNC, or the millions of registered Democrats who voted for her, prefer her to a man who didn't officially join the party until 2015.
The point is not that who leads the party is irrelevant. It's that on Thursday the leader will pledge to fight for the most progressive platform in her party's history. It's that progressive positions have become more normalized, shifting the center leftward. It's that Democrats have a new baseline against which to measure progress. And that's because of Bernie Sanders and the millions of people who voted for him.