The Case for Bernie Sanders

By Tina Phillips

Bernie Sanders is once again running for president, and once again the Democratic establishment is trying to stop him. Sanders has made clear he doesn’t just want to beat Trump, but to transform this country. Sanders has stated, “we have [to have] the guts to take on Wall Street, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the military-industrial complex, and the fossil fuel industry. If we don’t have the guts to take them on, we’ll continue to have plans, we’ll continue to have talk, and the rich will get richer, and everybody else will be struggling.” This is why we support Bernie Sanders. Because his policy proposals aim at corporations and the rich, and reforming the capitalist system itself. Many people are scared of a “socialist” becoming president. So far there has been an unprecedented effort to smear Sanders and make him appear to be a risky choice over Donald Trump. 

There have been a lot of fear tactics by those in power and media. The media is panicked about the possibility of a Sanders nomination, a feeling not shared by most people. Most people want someone to tackle income inequality and who sees healthcare as a human right. Recent exit polls even prove the majority of people want Medicare for All. They want someone who is against big money in politics and for progressive legislation. 

The reality is Sanders is the best candidate out of the options. And he absolutely would beat Donald Trump. We need to stop buying into the myths peddled by the DNC, establishment Democrats, centrists, and the mainstream media. The neoliberal’s day is over. Sanders is the future and we need that future to start now, if we have any chance at surviving past the next 10 years and beyond. 

The main reasons people give as to why they don’t want to vote for Sanders are basically myths. He is more likely to beat Trump, not less. So electability is a myth. Bernie Sanders is highly electable. He is not as radical as many claim being more like a moderate New Deal Democrat than Jeremy Corbyn. has a record of compromising in a bipartisan fashion, and is a pragmatist who works within the system. He believes in a grassroots movement to push from the outside and hold Congress accountable. 

Sanders gives practical ways to pay for his plans, like taxing the rich, cutting ineffective and wasteful programs, and raising a small amount of taxes on medium income earners. Just Medicare for All alone would save us all a lot of money. Eliminating student and medical debt would be a boon to the economy and benefit  millions of people. Sanders also has a plan for housing and to help families with childcare and family leave. The Green New Deal would generate jobs and help save the planet. Not that we think he can achieve everything he stands for, but having this bold progressive agenda in the spirit of FDR and MLK jr is a good start. 

How Sanders plans to get his policy ideas into law involves two of his core values. One is keep corporate influence out of politics. The other is build a grassroots multi-racial multi-generational working class movement to fight for what they need and deserve. Sanders has proven his commitment to stopping corporations and the rich from controlling our political system by not taking their money. He has even outraised corporate-backed candidates with small donations from mostly everyday people. Sanders campaign is 100% funded by ordinary people, unions, and nonprofits. This gives him credibility other candidates don’t have. And since he isn’t taking corporate money, he is less likely to do their bidding, instead truly represent the will of the American people. 

Sanders, once elected,will be the organizer in chief. He will  rally the movement,which he helped build, to keep up political organizing beyond the election. This could look like direct action, civil disobedience, sit-ins, town hall meetings, and strikes. Pressuring Congress to pass key legislation and pressuring corporations to do the right thing is key. This type of strategy could work to force concessions we haven’t seen for many decades. Sanders also wants to give more power to people to control their own lives and destiny by empowering workers. 

Sanders isn’t a cynical compromiser or capitulator like some past presidents have been. He is a true progressive, which is what people were hoping Obama was, but were sorely disappointed. He appeals to independents and even some Republicans. 12% of his voters from 2016 voted for Trump in the general. That’s a sizable amount of people he could win back. Besides he has wide support from the young, women , and people of color. With this type of broad-based support and coalitions the campaign has built, the Sanders administration could be transformational.

Sanders is compassionate and has a moral compass that is focused on justice. Despite what the Hillary Clinton’s of the world think, he is likable. In fact, he has a very high rating for trustworthiness, consistency, and is the most popular senator in the United States. People see that he is consistent in his message and actions over 40 years. Sanders has worked with bipartisan support, for example as with his resolution to pull out of the war in Yemen. Sanders has proven he has what it takes to take on Donald Trump, and is uniquely suited to this task. While Trump is cast as a right-wing Populist, Sanders is a left-wing Populist. A true contrast is what we need right now to help us get our priorities right. Do we want a country ruled by corporations, or one ruled by the people? A country built for the rich, or one built for all of us? A battle between them would truly be a real clear choice for America, and reset the direction the country will take. 

Despite what some say about Sanders being “too angry” at least he’s angry at the right people.These include the corporations that are screwing us over, the rich, and the powerful, who are hoarding all our money and resources. With this, they leave us to fight for crumbs, while they ruin our planet, and destroy our chances of a sustainable future by making this planet unlivable for human life. 

There are some who criticize Sanders as being weak on women’s issues. Elizabeth Warren accused Sanders of being a sexist, among others in the media who kept pushing the “Bernie Bros” narrative. They claim he is a sexist, but provide no evidence, and point to online trolls who support his campaign (who we see in every political stripe) as a reason he is a bad candidate. It is nearly impossible to control what individuals choose to do on the Internet. Yet the Sanders campaign has been told they are responsible, which is unfair, especially given other campaigns are not told to control their online supporters (which doesn’t even seem possible to be honest). Sanders has admonished online trolls many times. The fact that some people are getting vicious in a heated presidential election isn’t surprising, and it doesn’t mean Sander’s policy ideas are any less desirable or needed. We support the candidate and denounce cyberbullying and shaming in all forms. They aren’t mutually exclusive. 

We are very strongly in favor of socialist feminism, so why do we support Sanders?  Because Sanders is a feminist, and his past support and policy proposals prove that. The fact is Sanders uses his voice to speak for the voiceless, and the injustice he has seen so many people face makes him righteously and understandably angry. He represents millions of marginalized people who are angry too, and with good reason. The American people have been getting screwed and things are getting increasingly worse. The stakes have never been higher with the threat of climate change looming, millions suffering with wealth inequality, and not able to afford basic medical care. We know the establishment doesn’t care about us, but we know Sanders does. He is fighting on behalf of working class people, who have long ago been abandoned by both major parties. 

Sanders doesn’t communicate with anger, but with compassion, love, altruistic joy, and for the dignity of all people.We must remember that. Love is the heart of the Sanders campaign. And a fierce love of justice. Sanders has a deep commitment to working class people and helping fight with them in the struggle for a better world. We join him in this fight. 

Sanders is fighting against the rich and powerful who are killing us. They are mass murdering us and getting away with it. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention. Sander’s analysis is solidly about using both a class and intersectional approach to transforming this rotten system. Sanders wants a system that works for everyone, and not just rich white straight native born Christian men. He addresses every major issue impacting us, in a way that eliminates the vast majority of influence corporations and the rich have over our lives. He wants to stop them from not only ruining our lives but from literally killing us. Sanders has helped build a movement ready to strike or participate in civil disobedience to get Medicare for All or the Green New Deal. We know our very lives are at stake, this is a life or death election, and we are ready to fight for ourselves and each other. We understand that we cannot support a female candidate or a candidate of color simply because of their identity. We are allowing divide and conquer to win otherwise. Sanders understands the only thing that can transform this country is solidarity. We are all in this together.

Sanders is a uniter, despite what some say. He is uniting the working class and people of color with Euro-Americans, and many others who are different from one another. Sanders has called on this nation to fight for people we don’t know and who are not like us. That type of solidarity is the glue that holds our movement together and it’s how we will win. If not now, eventually. Martin Luther King, Jr., democratic socialist, said, “the moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We are witnessing a large movement of working class Americans bending it right now and we need to be part of that movement.    

As socialists you may be wondering why we would propose supporting Sanders, given he is a social democrat. First off, because there is no good alternative. Howie Hawkins is running a principled campaign seeking nomination from the Green Party, and has already received support from the Socialist Party USA and Solidarity. However, given the current political situation, we need to not only stop Trump from being reelected, but also the existential threat of climate change. At this point, we go with the harm reduction option. Of course there are plenty of great policies, as we have laid out, that are good reasons to want a Sanders presidency. Reforms are worth fighting for too. 

People try to say Sanders has done nothing. Well, consider what he’s up against. The vast majority of Congress and every president since he entered Congress hasn’t exactly been for his agenda. But despite that, he did do some important things

But is Sanders perfect? Of course not! We also have reservations about Sanders. His foreign policy, particularly support of drones and some military interventions, are not something we support. However, he has come around on several issues he was weak on in the past, improving his stances, and making himself more acceptable. He has expanded his support of people of color, made stronger his support for women, come around on gun control, and has a better stance on the Palestian conflict than he once did. Furthermore, we have hope we can push him even further left in the future. In fact, many in his base are left of him. 

As Jermey Scahill lays out clearly Sanders is being red-baited. We are gaslit and sold propaganda that Sanders is some socialist boogieman to be feared. When in actuality, he is not left enough to even be considered an actual socialist, despite his self-identification. Scahill also points out how we feel, in that Sanders has done a lot to build grassroots movements and to fight for oppressed communities. He has been endorsed by many members of Black Lives Matter, and has garnered support from youth organizations fighting climate change, and by some prominent feminists. And given his progressive agenda, he is worth our critical support. 

There is a good chance that Sanders will not get the majority of votes (or delegates) going into the Democratic Party Convention. And in the case of a brokered convention the centrists plan to try to take the nomination away from Sanders, who would likely have a plurality instead of a clear majority. In this situation, Sanders might give his support to  someone with less votes from the American public. We need this process to happen and to prove to the American people how undemocratic the Democratic Party truly is. This is a test to the system, a long time in the making. They will use superdelegates and delegates of candidates who have dropped out to do this. Sanders may even drop out before the convention if he does not have a plurality of delegates and someone else does. Recently many other candidates for the nomination dropped out and endorsed Joe Biden. 

The DNC is working hard to help Biden to capture the nomination. Despite the fact that Biden is a weak candidate. Biden is close to Hillary Clinton in his policy stances, and if you recall Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump. He also has a long history of bad policy stances and bills he wrote that were damaging to our country. These include the 1994 Crime Bill and the 1995 Omnibus Counterterrorism Act, which was used to help draft the Patriot Act. And he worked with Southern segregationists to try to stop busing to integrate schools. He attacked Antia Hill, helping to put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court. He supported the war in Iraq. He helped the credit card industry screw over average Americans, putting them more in debt. And made it so people with student loan debt could not declare bankruptcy. He supported the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. In addition, he supported bad trade policies. He also supported cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. The list goes on and on. 

Moreover, it has become clear Joe Biden has dementia and that is a clear disqualification. Furthermore, he is not a strong candidate to take on Donald Trump and there is a big chance he will lose to Trump. Trump will make climate change worse and Biden won’t do much to stop it. We really can’t afford to have Biden be the nominee. Biden has made it clear to corporate American that nothing will change under his administration. Yet, timidness is something we just can’t afford right now, because time is running out to make the big changes we need. In fact this moment is not one a centrist will be good at capturing and is likely to lose.
It has also become obvious that the Democratic Party establishment would rather Trump win than Sanders. They are threatened that much by a Sanders presidency because they are afraid their corporate donations will be taken away, and they may lose their power and their jobs. Sanders is taking on the entire system that puts greed above human needs. This is even more reason to support Sanders. We must say, “No to the status quo Joe,” and the status quo DNC too. We need someone who inspires people and excites them to come out and vote. Someone to vote for, not against. That person is Bernie Sanders. 

In the event that the nomination is stolen from Sanders, we support protest and direct action. Already, we have seen the favoritism of Biden in the mainstream media and bias against Sanders, as voter suppression and fraud in the attempts to thwart Sanders rise. It feels like the fix is in, just as it was in 2016. And whether Sanders is forced out or drops out voluntarily, we support a dirty break with the Democratic Party, having the progressive wing split off. The DNC and establishment have made it clear they won’t allow progressives to win or allow for a fair process. So the time has come. This would mean we support efforts to form a new mass progressive party or throw support to the Green Party. Some efforts are already being made to lay the groundwork for that. We believe that we must go beyond reformist politics at some point to actual democratic socialism. There is no way to predict how all that will play out exactly or the timeline, but we know that the Democratic Party establishment is hellbent on preventing progressive change. So, we will most likely need to start challenging them directly from our own political party that represents the working class.

However, for now we hope you will join us in supporting Bernie Sanders for president. We should give it all we have to try to push for his nomination and hope for the best. We truly believe this movement is not about getting one person elected, but about moving forward an agenda that will not only stop Donald Trump, but usher in a new progressive era. We must continue to build our movement no matter what happens. As the Sanders slogan goes, “Not me, Us.” Let’s do this together for the sake of all of us on this planet and to ensure future generations. 

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