Join the movement and vote for Bernie

‘Yes’ to Sanders

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Matt Berg/Daily Collegian

By Ryan Kapoor, Collegian Contributor

In 1986, while mayor of Burlington, Vermont, Bernie Sanders slammed his fist on a conference room table and told the owners of a subsidized housing complex who wished to convert them to luxury condos and market rentals, “Over my dead body are you going to displace 336 working families.”

Currently, those buildings are owned by the tenants who live there and have protections for the working families to keep costs manageable. Sanders has been a formidable ally of the American working class for decades, from his arrest in Chicago in 1963 over protesting civil rights to his spat with President Obama over the president’s willingness to cut Social Security. Today, he is our best hope to regain a sense of hope about our politics, our country and our future.

For many Americans, the future feels pretty grim. Student debt, medical debt, high housing costs and the looming existential threat of climate change has made the future rather depressing. In the 2020 election, the Democratic ticket cannot just be anti-Donald Trump. That is not enough to defeat the powerful sentiments that Trump has managed to tap into: fear, uncertainty and doubt. Democrats must do more; they have to promise a powerful vision of America’s future that reinvigorates our commitment to the values, ideas and policies that help working people. The Democratic candidate must demonstrate that the fear Trump and his billionaire friends have stoked cannot match the power of average Americans fighting for their dignity.

Sanders’ campaign has repeatedly demonstrated their unwavering resolve in creating the largest multi-racial, multi-ethnic and diverse coalition of working-class people that this country has ever seen. He does not promise simply a presidency or a return to business as usual. He is presenting a movement that seeks to bring everyone into the political process to fight for visionary policies that will materially improve working class people’s lives: Medicare for All so as to join the rest of the world in in guaranteeing healthcare as a human right, a Green New Deal to defeat the existential threat of climate change and the cancellation of student debt combined with a plan to make a college degree free for all.

The unity of visionary policy, a mass movement and broad coalition, as well as his decades of fighting for the rights of working families makes Sanders the best candidate in the democratic field to beat Trump and to be the next president of the United States.

However, there are many in the Democratic party that have criticisms ready. Many point to his willingness to call himself a “democratic socialist” as a serious weakness that would be exploited in the general election by Trump. However, this criticism fails to take into account several factors, including the fact that Sanders is currently the fourth most-liked politician in America or that his willingness to call himself a socialist mixed with his popular policies is what makes him so universally liked. In an election against a man who won partially off of the sentiment that “he tells it like it is,” Democrats cannot nominate someone who is unwilling or timid to talk about their past or what they believe in.

Personally, I support Sanders because I have seen the failures of our democracy and our economy. My generation so far has seen this country invade two sovereign nations, bail out the CEOs of financial institutions who wrecked our economy and let the looming catastrophe of climate change go completely unchallenged. At the same time, I have friends who struggle to buy insulin.

I do not wish to live in a country of such untold wealth and prosperity that corporate subsidies and tax breaks for the rich are commonplace while working people die because they can’t afford their healthcare. I see Sanders’ campaign and the movement he is helping create to be a way to end this madness; that is why I support Sanders to be the Democratic nominee and, ultimately, the next president of the United States.

Ryan Kapoor is a Collegian contributor and can be reached at [email protected].