Opinions, Column

Bernie Sanders for President 2020

With the conclusion of the first Democratic caucus, and the first step in nominating the Democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders has become a front-runner to winning the Democratic nomination. Sanders’ movement originated as a small grassroots campaign in 2016, but that small campaign now has Sanders consistently polling among the top two candidates nation-wide.

Sanders’ positions on health care, climate change, and LGBTQ+ rights, were viewed as radical just four years ago, but most of his policies are now mainstream positions within the Democratic primary. Many of the other nominees, such as Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg, now support these same policies. Sanders is the best candidate to represent the American people not only because he resonates well with the working class and many voters who voted for Donald Trump in the last election, but because he has fought his entire life in order to promote economic and social equality. 

Four years ago, universal health care was seen as a radical socialist idea that would never work. But this “radical” idea has become a staple of Sanders’ campaign. Throughout his career, Sanders has endorsed this idea of universal single-payer health care, arguing health care is a basic human right. While people argue that it is not feasible to eliminate private insurance and put all Americans on a single government health care plan, almost every single other developed country in the world guarantees health care to its citizens. In addition to this, the United States still spends more per capita on health care every year than countries that do guarantee health care as a right. The effects of the United States’ health care system are staggering, as of 2018, nearly 28 million people did not have health insurance,and as of 2016  an estimated 41 million people between ages 19 and 64 having inadequate health insurance. 

The concept of a business model is to generate the most revenue and reduce costs. Therefore, the business model for a health insurance and drug agencies is to create the most revenue, by increasing premiums and increasing the prices of necessary drugs (such as insulin). Because of this profit-maximization system, millions of Americans are not able to afford these increased prices, forcing people to not seek out treatment when they are sick—in an effort to not go into medical debt—or forcing people to ration their drugs to make them last longer. This concept is not humane: For people who are unable to afford insurance, it could cost them their lives. 

Since Sanders was first elected, he has been advocating for universal health care. Throughout his time as senator he has introduced multiple bills that would expand Medicare and Medicaid. The Trump administration, however, has made every effort to undermine any expansion to these programs. The contrast between Sanders and Trump is remarkable. Sanders has been reiterating the same ideas about health care and contradicting the myths that are created to convince people it’s not feasible since he was a mayor in Burlington, VT. On the other hand, the current presidential administration has continuously attempted to roll back provisions within the Affordable Care Act. 

Another reason why Sanders is the best fit for the presidency is because of his dedication to social justice. Sanders’ commitment dates back to his college days. As a student at the University of Chicago, he was arrested for protesting laws forcing black kids to go to school in run-down trailers instead of sending them to white schools. Sanders has continued to fight for racial justice, especially criminal justice reform. Sanders has cited the need for a massive reform of the American criminal justice system due to the wide disparity between the incarceration rates of white people and black and Latinx people. 

Policies such as minimum drug sentences, the bail system, and the disenfranchisement of convicted felons have severely affected black and latino communities. Statistics have proven that white and black Americans are not treated the same within our judicial system. Black Americans are over-policed and are given longer prison sentences for the same crime. Sanders has vowed to not only repeal laws enacted during the war on drugs, but to commute all sentences stemming from marijuana violations and to repeal laws designed to disenfranchise felons. This would allow convicted felons to have a voice in our Democratic society and not be seen as second-class citizens. This dedication to racial justice once again proves why Sanders represents people of all backgrounds.

Another one of Sanders’ top issues is climate change. Sanders recognizes that climate change is the biggest threat to the United States’ national security, due to increased conflicts over natural resources. Sanders was also right when he asserted that if the world does not come together to solve this crisis, increased amounts of people will be displaced, creating one of the greatest humanitarian crises the world has ever seen. Our society has already begun to see just some of the effects of climate change. In the last five years, the world has experienced catastrophic weather, such as the fires in Australia and California, the droughts in Central America, and massive hurricanes that have severely damaged coastal American states. These types of catastrophic events will only get worse and more frequent if a bold plan is not enacted. In order to tackle climate change, Sanders has endorsed the Green New Deal, which is the boldest and most aggressive plan on record. 

All these reasons are why I’m proud to support Sanders for the Democratic nomination. These are radical times—and we need radical solutions. Sanders is, without a doubt, the right man for the country. 

February 17, 2020