My generation may be ‘Feeling the Bern’, but I’m still with Clinton

By Tess Halpern

(US Embassy/ Flickr)
(US Embassy/ Flickr)

On this campus, and on many college campuses around the country, young people are “Feeling the Bern.”  Bernie Sanders has risen from practical obscurity to beating Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, largely with the help of millennial voters, and I understand why.  Not only do millennials like Sanders’ ideas, but he’s also very relatable, especially when compared to Clinton.

I know it might sound farfetched, claiming that 18 to 22-year-old voters are relating to a 74-year-old man, but it’s true. Sanders wants to take the United States out of endless wars, provide basic government healthcare for all and most importantly he wants to tax the one percent and use that money to make public university tuition free. Sanders is essentially a real life Robin Hood and his Brooklyn accent reminds me of my Grandma, and what’s not to like about that picture?

However, no matter how much the idea of Sanders as president excites me, I will be voting for Clinton and no, it is not because I am a woman. I will vote for her because I think that she is the best person for the job.

Last semester I was taking a first-year seminar class in which we discussed current events. As would naturally happen at this time of year, those conversations often drifted to the upcoming election and in one of those discussions my professor brought up a very interesting point. He claimed that we, as Americans, for whatever reason, tend to elect a president who is someone that we could see ourselves hanging out with. I had never thought of that before, but looking back on the last couple of elections it definitely makes sense. Barack Obama needs no explanation as he is, arguably, one of the coolest presidents in American history and George W. Bush is more of a stretch, but just imagine that he was in your high school graduating class.  George Bush would be that guy that would make you roll your eyes every time he spoke but, don’t lie, at the end of the day you would probably vote for him for class clown.

Looking at the current candidates, Sanders is probably the coolest one, and I think that’s why he is so appealing to the young voter. He’s unpolished, he’s an underdog, he tells it like it is, and it’s not impossible to imagine him sitting on your couch wearing track pants and complaining about the Yankees. He is a regular human being and he’s easy to like, but that is not enough to earn my vote.

Contrary to what my professor claimed, I don’t necessarily want a president that I can relate to. I can easily relate to people my age and, frankly, the thought of someone who is my age, or who acts like my age, running the country is mildly terrifying.

When you strip Sanders’ “cool factor” away and we are only left with policy, the two candidates are more similar than one might initially think. For example, both want to raise minimum wage – Clinton to 12 dollars and Sanders to 15 dollars – and both want to lower the cost of public education – Clinton so it is “affordable” and Sanders so it is free. Although, once again, Sanders may appeal to young voters, Clinton’s policies appeal to a larger demographic than Sanders’, which makes her more electable and more likely to actually get stuff done.

Hillary Clinton is a 68-year-old grandmother and, yes, she acts like one. She is harsh, she has no sense of humor, I’ve never seen her hair move and those videos of her trying to “nae nae” and dab on the Ellen DeGeneres show made me visibly cringe, but she is running for the position of president of the United States, not for the position of your best friend. To be president you don’t have to be funny and you don’t have to know how to dance, but you have to be smart, strong, and good under pressure and I think that Clinton has proven that she is all of the above.

The most important thing to think about when electing a president is not who you would rather drink a beer with, but it’s what they bring to the table. Hillary has enormous amounts of experience, from serving as a senator for eight years, to barely losing to Obama in 2008, to now serving as the 67th United States Secretary of State. She has been tested as a leader and is more than capable of running the country.

Tess Halpern is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]