Feel the Bern

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Feel the Bern

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Let’s take a moment and face the facts: this election is anything but normal. In 2017, we could potentially be inaugurating our first female president or a socialist. Quite frankly, the scales are not tipped in anybody’s favor but Hillary’s.

But if this were the case, then what gives Bernie Sanders, a candidate who started from the bottom and rose through the ranks on nothing but donations and brutal honesty, such a large following? How is he able to compete against Hillary Clinton, a woman who has control over much of corporate media and over 400 more superdelegates?

Perhaps the answer is just that simple: he’s preaching the truth.

Hillary has had a long history of inconsistencies. From the Clinton era Defense of Marriage Act to voting for the Iraq War in 2002, Hillary has flip flopped on issues over and over again to gain voters. She defends the DOMA, which defines marriage for federal law purposes as a union between a man and a woman, by stating that it was used to prevent conditions from becoming worse for the LGBT community. She then stated in 2004 that she truly believed marriage to be a “sacred bond between a man and a woman.”

On the other hand, Bernie has stood by his stances since the beginning, when he was an officer of the Congress of Racial Equality in the University of Chicago when he was 20 and marched on DC to see MLK speak in 1963. He was one of only 67 votes against the DOMA and had been fighting for peace (against the Gulf War in 1991 and the Iraq War in 2002) throughout his term in Congress.

Despite his long career of justice advocacy, some still insist that Hillary has a better record of getting things done better than Bernie. However, he has been labeled a “practical and successful legislator,” and also the “amendment king” of the House of Representatives for passing more amendments than any other member of Congress.

But will the so called “amendment king” be able to survive in the White House with such a potentially antagonistic right-winged Congress? The answer lies within our very own hands—  congressional elections give people the power to decide what kind of a term President Sanders will have.

Bernie Sanders is also, surprisingly, better able to represent minorities. He is Jewish, born into a low income family living in a rent controlled home in Chicago urbania, and his father was an immigrant with little education. Meanwhile, Hillary was born into a middle class suburban family, and her father was a small business owner. Clearly, Bernie is better able to understand and assist the lower class.

But what about gender? With a female president, we would be making great strides towards a better future for gender equality, wouldn’t we?

Actually, both Bernie and Hillary are fighting for gender equality. However, Hillary often forgets intersectionality. While she does fight for the gap between genders, she tiptoes around the subject of how women of color are paid much less than white women are, whereas Bernie addresses this problem directly with the appropriate statistics. 

Due to his more humble methods of politics, Bernie gets most of his campaign funding from donations, so that is campaign is literally by the people, for the people. It is also because of this that he seems to be losing— Hillary, whose campaign is funded by a large majority of large media companies, has been shown in a better light than Bernie since the beginning of the elections.

After the first Democratic debate, the New York Times and CNN reported that Clinton was the clear winner, according to public polls. In contrast, every single poll taken online and in focus groups declared Bernie Sanders the clear winner, often in landslide votes. This probably has to do with Time Warner, the company that owns CNN among other entertainment networks, having contributed over $600,000 to Hillary’s campaign so far.

Still, Bernie fights on. Proportionately to past elections, he is extremely close to the competition for someone who has had to face so many obstacles and will doubtless have to face more. In a case like this, every vote counts.

Many refuse to vote for Bernie believing that because he is so radical, he will never get the vote. But they forget that these things are never truly predestined. While Hillary has her media, her money, and her political moderation, Bernie has his innate sense of justice and overwhelming willpower to get things done.

At the end of the day, we should vote for a presidential candidate not because of their gender, but because and solely because of their policies. After all, wouldn’t voting for a president because of their gender be in itself sexist?

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