HILLARY CLINTON is smart, tough, experienced, and unquestionably qualified to be president. She's also closer than any woman in American history to winning the presidency—a long-overdue accomplishment that would allow her to further her record of advancing women's rights and equality.

And almost certainly—hell, if she isn't by the time you're reading this—Clinton will be the nominee. Even now, the math is overwhelmingly in her favor; it's almost a given Americans will have another chance to vote for her in November. And in November, Americans will happily do so—at least the ones who aren't just morbidly curious to see how much longer the GOP's shit-smeared clown car can keep rolling.

But it's not November yet. It's primary season, which means policies and attitudes that will define America for years are still being hammered out. Perhaps more than at any other time, voters have a chance to shift our country's political dialogue in better, more progressive directions.

And when it comes to that, no candidate is better than Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, as everyone on the planet now knows, bludgeons away at one issue: economic inequality. That's because economic inequality is every issue, and fundamentally affects everything else: housing and homelessness. Health and longevity. Education and employment. Crime and violence. Industry and commerce. Political and civic involvement. When Sanders speaks, passionately and knowledgeably, about how we can change a system rigged in favor of the rich (and make no mistake—we can), he's not just talking about one thing. He's talking about all of those things.

There's a reason Sanders' message has resonated far more than anyone expected, particularly among the young and the educated: As working Americans have come to see even the middle class as an outdated ideal rather than an achievable reality, we can no longer deny how profoundly our broken financial systems dominate our lives.

Already, Sanders has ensured he's not the only one talking about this. With blue-collar determination, he's forced everyone else to address economic inequality—a topic that more moneyed candidates (and more moneyed citizens) would happily ignore. Already, Sanders has pulled Clinton—and the Democratic Party—both into the conversation and further to the left. Already, Sanders' success has sent a message: Americans deserve and demand a better system.

None of this is to say that Sanders, for all of his curmudgeonly charm and dark-wizard bird enchantments, is ideal. Just as Clinton's critics point to her hawkish interventionism and ties to Wall Street (seriously, just release the transcripts already) as legitimate concerns, Sanders has faults of his own: It's anyone's guess how he'd do in a national contest against a Republican candidate. His refusal to attempt to curtail America's gun violence is a massive demerit. And the less any of us have to deal with belligerent Bernie bros, the better.

No candidate is perfect. And of all the 2016 races the Mercury considered, this was the most contentious, and our ultimate decision was not unanimous. But we were won over by Sanders' populist determination to compel our country to actually fix its deep-seated inequality. That's a tall order, and like anyone who wants a revolution, Sanders' ideas can sound, at first, radical and impossible. Upon further examination, they sound like something else: common sense.

It's primary season. There's still work to do. The conversation about what's most important to Americans is still happening. Oregon will help shape it. Vote Sanders.