On Bernie Sanders and the Liberal Dream

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Earlier last week Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont and far-left Independent politician, threw his hat into the ring and declared his candidacy for the presidential elections. He will be running as a Democratic Party candidate and will be facing off against Hillary Clinton in the primary elections. This means only good things for liberal voters in America.

Sanders encapsulates so many Democratic liberal dreams. His platform is inherently ‘screw big donors, I care about the working class’ and he says it in practically those words on his website. His sponsors are mostly unions and the largest donation he has received is $95,000 from the Machinists/Aerospace Workers Union. Hillary Clinton, by comparison, is literally being bankrolled by nearly all the big banks and has received contributions of upwards of $780,000 from Citigroup alone. It’s not difficult to see the politics of the two liberal candidates here alone.

In fact, Sanders is incredibly unashamed of his democratic socialism and his far left ideology. In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” host George Stephanopoulos asked Sanders if he wanted America to look more like Scandinavia. Sanders said “That’s right.” His intention is to see America accommodate more working class interests like free healthcare and higher education and he doesn’t hide it.

The 2008 Recession stretched the gap between the top 1% and the bottom 99% to a breaking point — Romney told his sponsors directly he didn’t care about the supposed “47%” who didn’t pay income tax and talked of them acting as though they were entitled to government handouts. Occupy Wall Street launched with the specific purpose of shutting down the banks that had caused the Recession and forced so many Americans to lose their jobs. And yet, since 2008, no presidential candidate has adequately addressed the wealth disparity. President Obama, during his campaigning, talked at length about protecting the middle class but focused little on the working class. And now Secretary of State and Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton is in bed with the same banks that caused the Recession. The Democratic Party, for all its liberal spouting, has been inept at dealing directly with the cause of everyone’s problems — economic inequality.

Enter Sanders with his no-nonsense grumpy grandpa persona. Unlike Clinton, he believes in protecting the working class, making healthcare universal, and not bombing the Middle East. He voted against the Iraq War and bombing Syria. He voted against building a wall along the Mexico-US border. With the exception of his kowtowing to popular Senate opinion on supporting Israel’s military occupation of Palestine, he may actually be a bastion of minority hope. He may actually be here for brown people.

But high ideals and lofty goals don’t win an election. Clinton is tried and tested and there’s a general feeling that she almost deserves to be the Democratic nominee, regardless of recent scandal or policies. She’s been in the race so long, is funded by the world’s largest banks, and has proved herself as Secretary of State. It is my opinion that she will take the Democratic crown and run during the primaries. But that doesn’t count Sanders out.

Sanders may be just what the Democratic Party needs. It has proven itself to be out of touch with some of the largest issues facing the American public. As it is they’re barely keeping up with current issues — Clinton’s acknowledgment of police brutality and race inequality in the US post Baltimore was lukewarm and lacked tangible action. Sanders may be to the Democrats what the Tea Party is to the Republicans — by outlining radical thought that many voters agree on, the Democratic Party may have to include expanded platforms that don’t err on the moderate side (do I hear ‘universal healthcare?’). Whether he wins the primaries or not, and he probably won’t, Sanders may change the face of the Democratic Party.

It will be interesting to watch his campaign progress. Ultimately it will be a test of whether the Democratic Party wants to change and get back in touch with voters or whether it will stick to the status quo with Clinton.

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