Why Bernie Sanders Is The Only True Progressive Candididate In The Democratic Field
On Tuesday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont announced his candidacy for the presidency of the United States. This is his second run, following his unsuccessful campaign in 2016, where he notably challenged Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination but eventually lost to the Senator, who as we all know then lost the Presidential campaign to Donald Trump.
In his announcing his second run, Senator Sanders joins a crowded field of Democratic candidates vying for the nomination. But make no mistake, Bernie Sanders is far and away the best candidate, not to mention the only true progressive in the Democratic field.
Why do I say that? It’s simple. The platform of the Democratic party has shifted radically over the past two years, since Senator Sanders’ first run. Virtually every major position he espoused in 2016 — Medicare for all, tuition free public college, universal health care, and an end to the senseless wars in the Middle East — have become the dominant mainstream platform of the Democratic Party.
A lot of the candidates in the Democratic Presidential field are new faces. Kamala Harris, the former Attorney General of California, is an impressive candidate with progressive positions on the major issues. She’s also compromised, in a major way, by her record as someone who put more men of color behind bars than any previous California Attorney General. It’s fair to say she is mass incarceration personified.
Corey Booker, the Senator from New Jersey, distinguished himself during the Kavanaugh hearings with his sharp questioning of Brett Kavanaugh. But he’s also a big supporter of charter schools and private education, which I absolutely hate. Just fund public schools at the necessary and appropriate levels, and there will be no need for charter schools. Any student can succeed, regardless of their zip code, if they have good teachers, the requisite resources, and a supportive environment.
What’s more, Booker is known as a close partner and friend to Wall Street and the hedge funds. Which I also hate, given the unprecedented levels of inequality in America today. Plus, for some reason he’s always seemed like an opportunist to me. So Corey Booker won’t get my vote.
One other Democratic candidate that’s gotten a lot of attention is Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. She was elected to the Senate and has rapidly gained attention as an outspoken progressive and one of the champions of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
Warren also infamously faced a scandal when it was revealed that she falsely claimed native American ancestry in a Harvard Law School directory in order to have a better chance of acceptance. Harvard denied the accusation, but it tarnished the Senator somewhat. Other instances of Warren identifying herself as native American have since surfaced, and in February 2019 she apologized for identifying as native American in a 1986 Texas Bar Application.
To which I say: puke! The fact that she latched herself onto literally the most disenfranchised and impoverished group in the entire country to advance her career is absolutely unforgivable. It speaks deeply and incisively to her character. So no, I will not be voting for Elizabeth Warren.
All of the above-mentioned candidates are merely poor imitations of Senator Sanders. They have adopted in full his policy positions and his progressivism, but they have none of his courage, conviction, consistency, or 50-year record of fighting for the poor, working and middle classes against the interests of the rich and major corporations.
Tonight I watched a C-Span interview with Bernie Sanders from January 1988, and I was absolutely blown away. Sanders, who was then the Mayor of Burlington, VT, was speaking about and advocating for the exact same policies and programs that he is today.
He spoke of making the economy work better and more fairly for the poor and the working class. He spoke of higher taxes on the rich. He spoke of universal health insurance. And he spoke about ending US support for right-wing rebel groups in Nicaragua.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the newly elected House Representative from New York, is a protege of Sanders, and she has adopted his Democratic Socialist political identification.
But make no mistake, she is simply Bernie Sanders fifty years ago.
So why not go for the real thing?
For those who support Sanders, including this author, heartening news was announced on Wednesday that he had raised $6 million dollars in the first 24 hours since his Presidential announcement. Beto O’Rourke of Texas was second with $743 million, and Elizabeth Warren was third with $343 million.
So clearly people haven’t forgotten about Bernie Sanders or the excitement he can generate around his progressive vision of an America that works for everyone, not just the millionaires and billionaires, to quote the Senator himself.
Bernie, you have my vote.
Now go out and win this campaign.