I came across this article on Facebook, and I thought I’d respond to it. Not because I don’t see a shit-ton of either pro-Hillary or pro-Bernie propaganda everywhere, but because I feel that the commentator really misses the point of why I, and millions of others, am supporting Bernie Sanders.
Now, keep in mind that this commentary comes from the New York Observer, which happens to be owned by Donald Trump’s son-in-law, and we all know that publications owned by people closely connecting to political candidates are never biased, amiright, Blue Nation Review? (sarcasm). Anyway, the opinion piece in question, written by Rebecca Unger, is:
I’m a Young Liberal and There’s No Way I’m Voting for Bernie Sanders.
So, for fun, I’ll just copy it here, and respond to it. It’s my blog, I can do what I want.
I am a 22-year-old Democrat living in New York City. I work in a creative industry that pays a low salary. I am socially liberal: I believe in LBGT rights, a woman’s right to choose, women’s rights across the board, racial equality, gun control and confronting climate change in a major way. I am upset about income inequality. I believe rich people should be taxed more to help fund policy initiatives that benefit poorer people: healthcare and education and better infrastructure, for example. And yet the idea of voting for Bernie Sanders never once crossed my mind.
Why not? Everything Bernie Sanders has espoused throughout his political career falls exactly in line with everything you’ve said about yourself. But I digress… continue…
This is not about disagreeing with the message Bernie is preaching to Americans — I happen to agree with a lot of what he says. This is about the simple fact that his is an idealistic, naïve agenda that could never be put into practice in America. In this country, to legislate even one tenth of such an ambitious plan would take degrees of cooperation, sacrifice, even manipulation and such an immense amount of ‘give-and-take’ tactics that an idea that once stood untarnished, glistening at the campaign podium, would come out looking like a child’s napkin after a meal of spaghetti Bolognese. Yes, there may be some white patches left around the edges, but no bleach will ever get out all the stains.
What you seem to miss is one of the fundamental messages of Bernie’s campaign: Political Revolution. This doesn’t mean that Bernie would show up to the White House on day one, wave a magic wand, and fix the country… because that’s not going to happen, and I don’t think many Bernie supporters are diluted enough to think this is going to be the case. If you actually listen to Senator Sanders, you’ll learn that Political Revolution means that more people become involved in the political process – showing up on election day, demanding things from elected officials, standing up for what we collectively believe is right. The writer of this commentary herself said that she agrees with Bernie’s message. Voter complacency amongst so-called liberals has given us majorities in both houses of Congress. Political Revolution depends on young progressives voting in midterm elections for progressive candidates, and much more-so than Hillary, the Millennials are the wholesale fundraisers of Bernie Sander’s campaign. We have skin in the game, and understand the message that Senator Sanders is sending us. Vote for him, and vote for a progressive Congress.
Perhaps Bernie hopes that focusing his energy on a single issue will make the job easier. The Senator has openly embraced, rather than repelled, being dubbed a “one-issue candidate.” “My one issue is trying to rebuild a disappearing middle class. That’s my one issue,” he declared at the Democratic debate ahead of the Michigan primary. While this is an extremely important goal — Michigan certainly welcomed it (and Hillary also supports it) — what is troubling is that the person occupying the Oval Office will be faced with a multitude of other important issues, not least a foreign policy roster that will require a great deal of time spent in the Situation Room.
Single Issue? Have you listened to one Bernie campaign speech? I have, and he covers many issues. To name a few issues he’s talking about: Campaign Finance Reform, Immigration Reform, Universal Healthcare, Gender and Racial Equality, Income Inequality, Tax Reform, Foreign Policy, Fighting Terrorism, Veterans’ Affairs, Native American Affairs, Fighting HIV/AIDS, Environmental Reform, Clean Energy, Trade, Access to Education, and more. And I suppose many of these contribute to the issue of rebuilding the middle class. But #ImSoSick of Bernie Sanders being called a one-issue candidate.
This sanctum is designated for dealing with issues of national security and not, for example, enforcing regulations on Wall Street. The hostilities in the Middle East present a formidable challenge to any seasoned politician, let alone one whose references to foreign policy have almost exclusively been confined to “I voted against the war in Iraq.”
Again, if you’d listened to Bernie Sanders talk about the issues, she’d find out that his foreign policy credentials extend past “I voted against the war in Iraq”. He authorized the military strikes in Afghanistan after 9/11, he supported the Iran Nuclear Deal, and he understands that the United States must act against ISIS without taking a unilateral approach. American interventionist foreign policy has created far more problems than it has solved. American involvement in Afghanistan created the conditions that fostered the rise of the Taliban. American involvement in the Iran/Iraq war created the conditions of a Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons. North Africa, Somalia, Nicaragua… Bernie Sanders understands the long history of Western involvement in foreign countries, and the results of those interventions. And although it’s satire The Onion makes some good points about American foreign policy.
Needless to say, Hillary Clinton’s qualifications here far exceed those of Bernie Sanders. Yes, Clinton has made ‘slip ups’ and she will inevitably be criticized for them, but experience is built by learning from one’s mistakes, and her acumen in this area is something American people should take into serious consideration. We need a Commander-in-Chief who understands the importance of what commanding the most powerful armed forces in the world means and knows how to exercise such an enormous responsibility.
I, personally, want a Commander-in-Chief that understands the long term effects of military action, and as much as Hillary can look back at the invasion of Iraq and claim she made a mistake in authorizing the invasion, she did authorize the invasion and failed to grasp the power vacuum removing Saddam would create. She failed to understand that raining bombs and missiles upon an islamic country that had nothing to do with 9/11 might spawn a new generation of terrorists. And really, has Hillary Clinton learned from her mistakes? Just one of her mistakes cost thousands of American lives and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, not to mention the after effects, such as the insurgency, destabilization of the Middle East and ISIS… and that’s not taking the cost of prolonged veterans’ care into account.
As Democrats we can, however, congratulate ourselves for belonging to a party that has not deteriorated into the terrifying, juvenile, mud-slinging, and even violent mess that has come to characterize the Republican race for the nomination. Between insults about spray tans, excessive perspiration and penis size, candidates discuss their vision for America, or in the case of front-runner Donald Trump, spew noxious sound bites with no informational value.
Yes, we can.
The reason I bring up the Republican race — aside from the fact that it’s always fun to punch a conspicuous punching bag — is that someone recently said to me that they think Bernie is the extremist equivalent of Trump for the Democrats, in the sense that he is galvanizing support for a radical leftist cause. This notion is wrong. Bernie is no raging socialist and I don’t think his ideas for America are all that radical when taken in the context of global politics.
I agree. Bernie’s only extreme when you have a narrow vision of the future of our country.
No one would bat an eyelid in Europe for a candidate with his checklist. I say this as someone who lived in Germany for four years and in London for almost five. The problem is Bernie is running to be the President of the United States, and in the United States, no matter how many young, frustrated, liberals there may be who dream of a more equal America with better opportunities for people across the social and economic spectrum, there are far more people who don’t believe that is the role of the state at a fundamental level.
It’s fair to say this, but the federal government creates the rules in which we must abide. As I learned in PoliSci 101, according to Lasswell, Politics is the control of who gets what, when, and why; the study of influence and the influential. One of Bernie Sanders’ biggest talking points is the influence of power and money over politics. Do we have wars because there’s a clear and present danger to our homeland, or do we have wars because Lockheed Martin, Halliburton, and Raytheon stand to profit? Do we have trade deals because it benefits American workers, or do we have trade deals because the corporate campaign contributors can increase their profits by manufacturing in China for a fraction of the cost? Do we have the most expensive healthcare system in the world because doctors make a lot of money, or because lobbyists influence congress into maintaining a healthcare system that necessitates a for-profit model of healthcare distribution? Do we have the highest prison population in the free world because there are so many more criminals in America, or is it because Corrections Corporations of America has lobbied Congress and paid millions to lawmakers to keep marijuana use illegal?
The enactment of legislation necessitates compromise (a fact enshrined in the constitution), or in the words of Senator Sanders, “As we all know, there are bills in Congress that have bad stuff, there are bills in Congress that have good stuff. Good stuff and bad stuff in the same bill.” Yes, Bernie, but as President the bad stuff will mean a watering down, or outright counteraction of many of your goals.
As one can imagine, it’s difficult to pass climate measures and green energy initiatives when the oil and gas industry is bankrolling the campaigns of every senator and representative in congress. Even Donald Trump himself admits that he gives to political campaigns because he expects favors in return. It it that far of a stretch to think that an uncorrupted politician can help reverse that trend? If Bernie Sanders succeeds in the nomination process, he will set a new precedent that says voters care more about integrity than how much a candidate can raise in corporate donations, or how big their SuperPAC is. By relying on small individual donations, Bernie Sanders is bought and paid for by the voters he will represent when he becomes President. Of course, there will always be compromise, and there will always be a middle ground, but that compromise should be based on the notion that politicians are working for the voters and not for the conglomerates that paid their way into power. This starts with Bernie, it does not start with Hillary.
Take healthcare, for example. Bernie advocates Medicare for all — a national, single-payer health insurance system that would replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) made law in 2010. Hillary also has every intention of making healthcare cheaper. But rather than uproot a program that represents a huge milestone in American healthcare policymaking and was also incredibly difficult to implement because of Republican opposition, her proposal is to build on and improve what we have managed to achieve already.
One can’t argue that cheaper health care would be a bad thing. But what will Hillary do to make healthcare cheaper in an environment where the (likely) GOP congress is bought and paid for by health insurance lobbyists? Universal healthcare is an attainable goal, it just takes political will. That political will comes from voters who insist that the congressmen they are electing into office work on their behalf to realize that goal. If there’s enough political will to launch a $1.5 Trillion F-35 program, and to launch a $1.5 Trillion war, the prospects of a healthcare system that is equitable and affordable to everyone shouldn’t be that big of a hurdle.
This is not an “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” move. This is a rational plan to achieve a realistic goal compared with Bernie’s unrealistic plan that would require so much dilution to make it Republican friendly redundancy kicks in. Would single payer, universal healthcare be good for America? Possibly. However, at a basic level a great many Americans instinctively reject anything that would give the government control over a social issue. Obamacare is an essential step in the right direction and Hillary is wise to take it further rather than switch gears and head off into new, uncharted territory.
Yes, single payer, universal healthcare would be good for America. Free tuition to public universities would be good for America. As a note: that should include trade schools. I somehow owe $100,000 on $40,000 of student debt. The meteoric rise in the cost of tuition vs. the average income is insane. Nothing Bernie Sanders says is necessarily unrealistic. It’s just not plausible under current congressional leadership. Again, it will take a political revolution to change things, but the coalition that Sanders is building are the future politically engaged 40-somethings. It’s really a matter of time, unless our collective voices are silenced by those who decry Bernie’s vision as too unrealistic.
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate I’ve heard in a long time talking about capitalizing on America’s human resources to rebuild our infrastructure. I suppose Hillary has a plan, but Bernie has a bolder vision. I recall back in 2008/2009, when the great recession happened. Millions of jobs were lost, and Americans were paying half a trillion dollars to extend unemployment benefits to those out of work. Why couldn’t we have invested that money in infrastructure thus creating jobs, instead of paying people to look for jobs that were no longer available? Why couldn’t we subsidize the cost of adding employees to small business for a period of time? A public-private agreement would have mutual benefits, build skills, strengthen infrastructure and ultimately the economy.
Hillary Clinton would also be a far stronger candidate against whomever the Republicans put up in the general election. Bernie’s policies would give any Republican a field day: it would only take a few moderately conservative brush strokes to paint him as a pink threat, prepared to sully the values that bind this country together. Hillary is without doubt the palatable alternative for moderate conservatives who will flat out refuse to tick a Republican box with the name Donald Trump next to it. Having Bernie on the ballot beside Trump might lead to an increased number of abstainers.
There’s one person universally hated by the GOP more than Barack Obama, and that is Hillary Clinton. Many of the Democrats I know do not like Hillary at all. In fact, some Republicans I know have told me that they have much more respect for Bernie Sanders than Hillary Clinton. Sure, the Republican candidate will call Bernie Sanders a Socialist. Oooh, scary scary. A bit of education and people will know the difference between a social democrat and Karl Marx. They called Obama that too, and a lot worse, and he’s still standing. Besides, they’ve been calling Bernie that since the start, and it hasn’t fazed him thus far. Let me ask you this? You don’t think the GOP is going to have a field day with Hillary Clinton? She brings decades of baggage, all of which will be exploited by the GOP. Benghazi, the email scandal, Whitewater, paid speeches to Wall Street, her fib about coming under fire in Kosovo, etc, whether or not it’s true or fair, it will be a relentless, never-ending attack. Remember when Swift Boat Vets for Truth sunk John Kerry in 2004?
Speaking of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton brings almost as much enthusiasm to the Democratic Party as Secretary Kerry. In 2008, Barack Obama brought out over two million more young voters than in 2004. This enthusiasm for a candidate they cared about and thought reflected their values was a big reason for this. Now look for a moment at Bernie Sander’s demographics. He won 82% of the youth vote in Nevada (17-29), 81% of the youth vote in Michigan and Ohio, and 86% of the youth vote in Illinois. These are important states for the Democratic candidate to win in November. He even won the youth vote with 64% in Florida, a battleground state he handedly lost last month.
Now, counting on the youth vote is a tricky proposition, but history has shown that when younger voters turn out at the polls, the Democratic candidate usually wins out. But this isn’t about picking a candidate for the Democratic Party. It’s about picking a President that will help shape the course of history that young people and myself have to experience, and it’s about picking congressional representatives that will help or hinder the next President. While it’s nice that your 75 year old great-aunt loves Hillary Clinton, she’s not going to be around all that much longer to reap the benefits of income equality, universal healthcare, and a saved environment. Look at it this way, whether Hillary or Bernie is the nominee, against Trump, both will probably win, but Bernie brings an enthusiasm that will reverberate down the ticket.
So I hate to break it to you my fellow Millennials, but a vote for Bernie Sanders is a selfish act: an indulgence of a fantasy, an impractical, high-minded quixotic vision for an America that can never exist; it would be like striking a match against a damp surface. I therefore urge all Bernie-inclined Democrats to make their vote count and choose Hillary Clinton. Whether you agree whole-heartedly with her policies or not, she is the best person for the White House. She will be able to realize an agenda closest to what you crave for this country because she has the experience, the pragmatism, the smarts, the thick skin and perhaps most importantly, the ability to work across party lines to gain the necessary support to get anything done.
Coming from a true Clinton fan. So basically what she’s asking us to do is to vote for the lesser of two evils, hoping the lesser evil wins in November, because she prefers Hillary Clinton. I’m sorry, this isn’t about November for those of us supporting Bernie Sanders. This is about the future; this isn’t about winning a contest. This isn’t about the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders is running for President because he’s responding to a want, need, and desire from millions of young (and old) American citizens who want to reclaim America from Wall Street and the billionaire power players. Hillary Clinton is running for President because she’s responding to a want, need, and desire from Hillary Clinton to be President. We want a bold new agenda, not a politics as usual agenda.
Bernie supporters need to recognize this, leave the bandwagon, unite behind Hillary and show Republicans once and for all that the Democrats are an unstoppable force and will govern the White House for four more years.
In all honesty, I could give two shits about the Democratic Party. Sorry to be so blunt, but what has the Democratic Party done for anyone lately, lost a bunch of congressional and gubernatorial elections? As I see it, it’s about as financially corrupt as the GOP. I also find this last paragraph slightly insulting. The bandwagon has been gaining momentum for a reason. Do us a favor, and let us vote for the candidate who best espouses our values. From day one we’ve been told by the corporate media, who in-part funds Hillary’s campaign, that we, as Bernie supports, need to give up. He’ll never win. He’ll never beat Trump (or whoever). He’ll never succeed. The corporate media is losing their credibility. Also, don’t delude yourself into thinking that the Democrats are an unstoppable force. Every 4 years, the Democratic party clings narrowly on to a Presidential victory, or a sliver of a majority in congress. The DNC has lost touch with the voters in favor of moneyed interests. A Party that represents the people does not create a system of super-delegates to ensure that candidates that represent Wall Street don’t have to run against grass-roots candidates. If Hillary wins (especially if she wins by virtue of super-delegates), it will be the beginning of the end for the Democratic Party. Disillusioning millions of young voters will be the death of the Party.