Bernie Sanders Puts the Status Quo on the Backburner
by Alexander Chen on Friday, November 6th, 2015
With the 2016 Presidential Race recently becoming a popular topic, interesting candidates are beginning to be the center of discussion. One of these candidates is Senator Bernie Sanders. Sanders, an independent, is running as a Democratic nominee alongside democratic leader Hillary Clinton.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sanders attended the University of Chicago where he got his B.A. in 1964. From 1991-2007, Sanders was the sole representative for Vermont in the House of Representatives. Afterwards, he became the incumbent senator for Vermont. Sanders identifies with no political party, but has caucused with the Democrats while in the House of Representatives and the Senate.
What does Sanders believe in anyway? Sanders has often taken leftist positions on key issues like wealth inequality and health care. He describes himself as a democratic socialist, often taking leftist actions such as fighting for universal education and free healthcare for all.
He once asked the public “Are we prepared to take on the enormous economical political power of the billionaire class?” Sanders has continuously attacked the 1% by suggesting higher taxes for large corporations and fighting the super PACs that are backing up other candidates. During his rally in Portland, Oregon, he stated that “Yes, we have the guts to take [the billionaire class] on”.
Also on Bernie Sanders’s mind is creating free healthcare and public higher education. Sanders has called himself a democratic socialist. Social Democracy focuses on giving all people equal opportunities. A key point in Bernie Sanders’s agenda is to provide universal healthcare to all citizens, as he believes that healthcare is a right of citizenship. Bernie Sanders continues to use Scandinavian countries like Sweden as a model for the U.S. healthcare system. Bernie makes points about creating free tuition at public colleges & universities and lowering student loan interest rates. These views have led many to paint Sanders as an extreme socialist; some even half-jokingly call him a communist.
In a CNN poll conducted on September 17, 2015, Bernie Sanders won 24% of the votes, just 18% below Hillary Clinton. Why has Bernie Sanders been getting so much attention and support recently? Jonah Garnick (III) believes that “[Bernie] is gaining momentum because people dislike Hillary — it’s mainly because people like his ideas.” Jonah hints that people appreciate Sanders’ authenticity regarding key topics affecting thousands of American lives.
History teacher Joshua Emmott also believes that Sanders’ rise is not inexplicable. Mr. Emmott states that, “Sanders’ success seems to suggest that not only are Republican voters upset with the status quo (those who support Trump) but democrats also seem to be upset with politics as usual.“ “The Sanders phenomenon” would indicate that the Democratic base is left of center and feels let down by Obama, and look at Hillary as four more years of the same.” Overall, Mr. Emmott believes that Americans want change.
Sanders has repeatedly shown that he cares about the next generation, our generation, the generation of youth that are looking for solid education and a stable income. He has also shown care toward current American adults who are in financial instability. Although Sanders is currently in second in recent polls for the Democratic nominee, anything could happen between now and the primaries.
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