There’s so much debate about who could or should win the Democrat nomination for president in 2020, and not enough action supporting a single candidate. After about two hours of reading articles pertaining to potential candidates, my headache made it perfectly clear: Bernie Sanders is the ideal Democratic candidate for president.
In 2016, Sanders’ influence left the Democratic Party with the most progressive party platform in U.S. history.
There were various forces working against him within the Democratic National Committee, an organization that should remain impartial during presidential bids and unify the party. Instead, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the chairman at the time, was made to resign due to emails circulating strategies to denigrate Sanders and his campaign, and calling his campaign manager a “…damn liar…” and “…an ASS…,” and after DNC Communications Director Luis Miranda sending an email severely criticizing the Sanders campaign. [wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/emailid/9423].
One would think Sanders could have very well won the primary were it not for these occurrences.
So why should we give Sanders another chance? First because he has a history of progressive values and a track record to prove it. Bernie Sanders was actually arrested at least once during the Civil Rights Movement: “One hundred and sixty-nine people had been arrested in the summer of ’63, and four people were charged, and one of them was Bernard Sanders, 21” [chicagomag.com].
I don’t see any pictures of Joe Biden being active during the Civil Rights Movement, despite being similar in age to Sanders. Kamala Harris, who is a worthy adversary, and Elizabeth Warren were both a little too young to be held accountable.
Also, many publications say Sanders’ platform is no longer distinct because there are candidates who profess the same goals. But again, he is the one who in 2016 brought these issues to the forefront.
There are also many concerns about his age. There have been many presidents who have died in office, but even if we elected the youngest possible candidate, they could be assassinated the very next day. So, Sanders’ advanced age is the least concerning aspect of his potential presidency.
A Vice article by Taylor Hosking boldly states, “Sanders isn’t really here for reparations.” Their issue is that he has said there are better ways to make reparations than simply writing a check. He doesn’t wanna just give people money so, therefore, he’s against reparations? That is absurd.
To be against reparations is to be against the betterment of the black community. “I think what we have got to do is pay attention to distressed communities: black communities, Latino communities and white communities, and as president, I pledge to do that, ” Sanders said on The View.
One might be concerned about him mentioning white communities as well black and Latino communities. Although white privilege exists, there are still poor white communities. Ignoring them for being white would cause them to be more angry than they already are in, for example, the rust belt. That anger is what fueled Trump’s campaign and his path to the presidency.
Every American deserves the opportunity to prosper. If Sanders didn’t care about the betterment of the black community as Hosking implies, would he have joined activist Shaun King at a Black Lives Matter Rally just this past year? Would he have endorsed Jesse Jackson for president in 1988? I think not.
Also, none of the other Democratic candidates have expressed a willingness to write a check either, so why bash him for that? It seems there is a bit of bias. Spinning a point of argument to criticize Sanders specifically when the same argument could be made against others — like Kamala Harris, who suggested the idea of funding for mental health treatment as a form of reparations on NPR’s Morning Edition with Steve Inskeep — shows an obvious intent to degrade Sanders — which would be fine if their argument actually had a leg to stand on.
Bernie’s biggest competition in the Democratic Primary is former Vice President Joe Biden. Biden championed the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, a bill which even former President Bill Clinton admits worsened mass incarceration, which we all know more disproportionately affects the black community and people of color. Biden could say his policy views have evolved, but there’s no sign of a denouncement of this act. And he is frankly unashamed of it to this day, even going so far as to call it the 1994 “Joe Biden” Crime Bill.
Sanders voted for the bill as well. But unlike Biden’s brazen enthusiasm for it, Sanders, at the time, expressed concerns about the bill and made it very clear the only reason he voted for it was because of its inclusion of the Violence Against Women Act.
Sanders even criticizes the 1994 crime bill despite voting for it, holding himself accountable, unlike Biden. The fact that Sanders has the conviction to analyze a possible misstep in his performance as an elected official shows tremendous moral superiority to Biden and other politicians.
This is what makes Bernie Sanders unique, not perfect. He’s made some tough decisions, but through it all, I’ve yet to see anyone with as much experience and historically progressive values on a consistent basis.
When everyone said he couldn’t, he fought to challenge the establishment and the status quo of the party, valiantly faced Hillary Clinton in the wake of conspiracies against him. He even influenced Clinton to start endorsing the “radical” progressive ideas he proposed. He fought and still fights for civil rights, black lives, women, LGBTQIA+, immigrants, the impoverished and people of color across the nation. If that’s not presidential material, the U.S. has a tough future ahead. Because no one at this point in our nation’s history can affect more positive change than Bernie Sanders in the Oval Office.
Joey Moreno is currently enrolled in El Centro College as a PR/Literary Arts double major. He has worked in the Dallas high-end restaurant industry for more than three years and is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.