Monday, January 25, 2016

Why I'm throwing my support behind Bernie Sanders for President

Clinton trends towards progressivism, but Sanders is a true progressive at heart

We are just about one week away from the Iowa caucus, and thus one week away from the official start of the nomination process for each party’s choice for presidential candidate. Endorsements are coming in from every corner of the country, from political leaders (current and past) as well as newspaper editorial boards.

Recognizing that my humble blog isn’t exactly the most influential that there is when it comes to presidential politics, I’d still like to add my two cents as to who should be our next president. That person should be Bernie Sanders.

I’m not naive -- Sanders has some huge hurdles to surpass, primarily his own competition within the Democratic Party. And in Hillary Clinton we have another candidate who would do a fine job in her own right as president. Should Sanders not receive the nomination from the Democrats, I’d be glad to put my full support behind her.

However, Sanders represents a vision of the future, for the party as well as the nation at-large. His promotion of a single payer system of health care coverage is what largely drives my support for his candidacy. And though the math has yet to be perfected on the issue, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.

Other nations have already provided some form of single payer coverage for their citizens. Yet no two nations are alike when it comes to this, and so it would be for America also. If we are to create a single payer system of health care, it will likely be different from all other forms of single payer presently out there.

Nevertheless, it makes no sense for us to relegate ourselves to the realities of the current political system and to give up on the issue. Just because single payer won’t pass today’s Congress doesn’t mean we shouldn’t support a candidate that is pushing for it. And the Clinton camp’s insinuation that Sanders would do away with Obamacare is irresponsible to make -- Sanders would only undo the current law if it made sense to do so, and only if he could replace it with something that improved upon the current health care system, namely in recognizing that coverage is a right that every person deserves.

It isn’t just health care that makes Sanders the preferred candidate. On the student debt crisis Sanders also leads, urging that we pursue a higher education system that provides free services to deserving students. No pupil that achieves high marks in their K-12 education should be left out from pursuing college on account of their economic status, says Sanders, and he’s absolutely right.

Sanders’s beliefs should drive our future policy on prison reform as well. He supports a complete overhaul of the system, reducing the influence of for-profit prisons that require thresholds of inmates to be provided for them from the states. That sort of policy is backwards thinking. Instead, we should focus on rehabilitation, and creating a society that sends less men and women to prison in the first place.

And though Clinton supports de-criminalization, Sanders is the only Democratic candidate that supports ending the prohibition on marijuana, for medicinal and recreational purposes. The drug, which is less harmful than alcohol when it comes to poisoning hazards, sends far too many to jail for what little harm it actually does. By legalizing it, we can also tax it, earning more revenue while simultaneously reducing the number of people imprisoned (in turn lowering prison costs) because of what amounts to stupid policy.

Sanders is not the perfect candidate -- there’s no such thing as one, and we shouldn’t pretend that there ever will be. His past stances on gun issues warrant serious vetting. Overall, he is on the correct side of the issue, but on some specific aspects of gun law he has raised some doubts.

And this endorsement is not meant to be a slight to his competition either. Hillary Clinton would also make an outstanding Democratic nominee and eventual president. Her candidacy is inspiring millions of young women across the nation, and her views on many of the issues outlined above, though not parallel to Sanders’s, are nevertheless more preferable than the conservative alternatives offered by the GOP.

But to me, Sanders is simply the right candidate to select as our next president. While Hillary trends toward progressivism, Bernie is an outright one, and his vision -- for better governance and policies that enable Americans to improve their lives -- echoes the traditions that Democrats once stood proudly for.

We can be certain that he would hear the people’s voices while serving in the White House, and respond accordingly to our concerns. For that reason, I proudly throw my support behind Bernie Sanders to become our next President of the United States.

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