The Democratic nomination process has narrowed down to the two most well known candidates in the field. Here’s why I’m choosing one over the other.
Everyone who knows me will see this and not be surprised at all. I’ve been an adamant #BernieBro since 2015. Bernie Sanders is the main reason that I began writing on this platform. He was also a big motivating factor for my involvement in Community Organizing, my current day job. However, some people may read this and be puzzled or surprised. How could someone calling themselves a pundit and claiming to know a lot about politics actually think that Bernie is the best choice? All of the people on TV say that because he calls himself a socialist, that he can’t win. What if I told you that Bernie is our best chance to beat Trump precisely BECAUSE the people on TV say that he has no chance?
We all remember 2016. We all remember the pain and desperation we felt when swing state after swing state went to Trump instead of Hillary. We all remember that in the days leading up to election night, the news pundits and columnists kept telling us that there was no way that Trump would emerge victorious. Well, I’m here to tell you that 2016 is exactly why the news media is not to be trusted now. The idea that a “Moderate” or “Centrist” candidate is most electable ignores recent history. We’ve been fed this lie time and time again in the last 20 years, and look where it’s gotten us. We were told to nominate a moderate in 2000, so we got behind Al Gore. We were told to coalesce behind a moderate in 2004, so we supported John Kerry. Most recently, we were told the same things about Hillary Clinton. The thing that all of these candidates have in common is that they all lost in the general election. There’s a simple reason for this. When times are tough, and we get weary, it isn’t comforting for our leader to say, “let’s get real, we can’t do all of these great things that you need”.
What’s invigorating or exciting about a candidate that only wants to tell us what we can’t do? Is that how the slaves got their freedom? Is that how the Civil Rights Movement ended segregation? Is that how the Women’s movement secured their equal rights? No. We NEED to shoot for the stars. We need to dream big. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t tell us to get real, he told us that he had a dream! As the late, great Nelson Mandela once said, “it always seems impossible until it’s done”. So why do we keep settling for leaders that tell us what we CAN’T do? If you’re an optimist like me, then I just won you over. But if you’re a realist like my girlfriend and my mom, then you probably need more convincing. Let’s talk about the pragmatism of dreaming big.
Have you ever bought a car? You knew what you wanted and you knew how much you were willing to pay for it. You knew what you could realistically afford, but you also knew that the salesperson was incentivized to milk you for every dollar that they could. With that in mind, did you go into that process thinking, “I guess I should start with a compromise price, since I know I’ll never get what I want anyway”? Of course you didn’t, because that’s not how negotiations work! Politics is the same way. If we shoot for the stars, we can at least land on a cloud. However, if we only shoot for the ceiling, we might very well end up in the basement. I’ve said all of that to say, that Bernie Sanders might very well NOT get everything he wants in his extensive platform. However, we have to start the bargaining process from an ambitious place. The Republicans will never give us what we want, we’re going to have to fight for every inch. We’re in a much better position to win those fights if we don’t compromise prematurely.
You might be thinking, “okay Bernie seems pretty good at this point, but what about Joe is so bad?” I want to begin by saying that my issues with Joe Biden are not personal. I’ve always lamented the fact that I was born 4 months too late to vote for him and Barack Obama in 2012. But we need to move our country forward, not backward. While it is true that Joe served the country well as Obama’s Vice President, it’s also true that Joe Biden’s long record of bad votes and bad decisions are electoral liabilities. He voted for the Iraq War, he wrote the 1994 Crime Bill that destroyed communities of color, he’s called for cuts to Medicare and Social Security several times, and he voted in favor of the Bankruptcy Bill that made it much harder for middle class Americans to get out of tough financial situations. You’re probably thinking, “but he’s still better than Trump”, and I completely agree with you. However, this isn’t just about being a better option than Trump, it’s about being the BEST alternative to Trump.
Bernie has been consistent throughout his career. No politician has been as pro-labor union as he has. He’s been protesting civil rights injustices against African-Americans since the 60’s. He’s been an advocate of LGBTQ rights and a woman’s right to choose for decades. In short, he’s been living out the values that the current Democratic Party champions for his entire life. That is a candidate that people can get excited about. That is a candidate that can make usual non-voters change their mind and get involved in the political process. That’s a candidate that can beat Donald Trump, and address the core issues that allowed him to come into power in the first place. These are all the reasons why I’m voting for Bernie Sanders tomorrow on Super Tuesday, and I think you should too!