Sorry establishment, looks like I’m a twenty-something, know-nothing hippy.
At least that’s what the demographics might say about me for supporting Senator Bernie Sanders. Yet for as radical as the left might think of me, I don’t really feel like a political zealot for the new Progressive. If I’m really being honest, I’m throwing in with the kid from Brooklyn mainly because the choice is obvious. There simply isn’t a better candidate.
You don’t even have to bring up the Republicans to make the argument, although that makes the discussions that much more potent for Democrats. There isn’t one Republican candidate that isn’t bought or a bigot, and in the year 2016, that’s just something we don’t have time for. All of the fear-mongering and pandering is just a waste of time, enough to where I don’t take a lot of it seriously. Despite this knowledge, I do follow the race on the Republican side closely. You have to listen to the other side if you want to make a fair criticism of its points.
With so many candidates still involved and with the schism between the Tea Party and the GOP proper, I don’t think the Republicans have a good chance this cycle. Republicans are aware that they need to make a shift, but they’re unwilling to make those steps to try and address a new audience, since many of them thrive in a bubble isolated from a lot of the new cultural common sense.
That leaves the Democratic race, which is only slightly more compelling.
When listening to people on my college campus talk about Clinton and Sanders, the two could not be more opposite from one another. Clinton is the pragmatic candidate, Bernie is the radical, and both of those titles have appeal right now. But when you examine both of their stances on paper, they tend to agree on most Progressive issues, or social justice talking points.
African American discrimination, check.
Rights for women, check.
Rights for LGBT, check.
Getting money out of politics…
Almost check. Senator Sanders has been singing that tune for most of his career. At first, Clinton made it seem like money in politics (SuperPACS and dark money) we nothing to be concerned with. Only recently has she changed her stance, and for someone like me, who’s been watching the campaign since last year, it felt more like placating than an actual change of heart. The Clinton campaign is now stuck in a tight corner trying to say how money needs to get out of politics while trying to represent the interests of her SuperPAC and other donors. Senator Sanders doesn’t have the same constraints.
In this confession of my political affiliation, I ask those who read this to ask themselves “What exactly is radical about Bernie Sanders?” If you’re referring to his stance on social justice, this acknowledgment of rights is the opposite of radical; it should be common sense. So the radical notion comes from his desire to remove money from politics, which is something that even Trump supporters agree on. When we acknowledge how simple the solution seems to be, who do we vote for? The pragmatic choice, one that represents keeping the status quo? Or perhaps the candidate that represents the most change?
At that point, the choice really isn’t all that hard.