Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was running the risk of being an ‘one issue candidate’, his political rallies are rousing and inspiring. Besides vowing to break up banks who are ‘too big to fail’, enacting a single payer healthcare system, and free public college and university tuition, while are all worthy causes, there was not much else to his platforms. He was at risk of becoming a political ‘one trick pony’. His foreign policy is non-interventionist, seeking to end the role of the US being the world’s policeman and invading Iraq was a mistake. Besides that, there’s not much else to it either. I didn’t watch the early debates because Chris O’Malley bored me and I wrongly assumed all of that was just for show as Hillary Clinton will be the eventual candidate anyways. The nomination was hers to lose (this was before I felt the Bern).
A lot has changed since the Iowa Caucasus and the New Hampshire primary. Clinton barely eked out a win in Iowa and she lost by 20 points to Sanders in New Hampshire. After Sanders’s decisive win in New Hampshire, he raised $5 million dollars from individuals. Hillary Clinton is now on the defensive after a few of her surrogates misspoke. Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright are probably seething at the ungratefulness of the younger generation of women. The truth is, we (women), don’t like to be told what to do or how to think, or even worse, be told we do certain things to get the attention of boys (which by the way, is fairly easy to get and no need to switch political allegiance to achieve that aim). Not even by the self-appointed high council of feminism, and if there’s a special cold day in hell for us younger feminists for refusing their sage advice (directive), I guess I’ll see a few of them there. I can definitely see a place of the former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
The last two debates I watched with great interest, especially the direct attacks at Hillary Clinton’s ties to Wall Street and big corporations. If the public didn’t know or didn’t know the depth of the ties, we all do now. He’s laid out a successful case on why that’s a big problem, how she’ll never govern fairly because of it. Like he said in this last debate, Wall Street, big pharma, big insurance companies, fossil fuel companies don’t donate millions of dollars to political campaigns because they are feeling generous and have too much money on their hands (they do, but that’s beside the point), they pay those contributions in hopes of benefitting themselves and he asked Mrs. Clinton to “not insult the intelligence” of the American people. To which, the former Secretary of State has no response to.
The last debate which took place in Milwaukee, each of the candidates fresh off of their wins and losses, was more thorough and measured in their positions. Sanders articulated his foreign policy better, which is less intervention and if intervention is necessary, the United States will no longer take the lead, which by default will make us shoulder the burden. Sanders wants to re-engage NATO, to revamp NATO if you will and make the world part of the peacekeeping and policing duties. Sanders emphasized a more open door immigration policy and bringing 11 million people out of the shadows, especially for unaccompanied minors, Sanders favored granting them asylum. He didn’t speak much about how to secure the borders, and neither did Clinton. It’s an obvious pander for the Hispanic vote.
Sanders campaign and should he win the presidency is to focus on the problems of the United States and retreat from the world. We need to fix our appalling rate of children living in poverty (30%) highest in the industrialized nations. We need to fix our roads, bridges and other infrastructure so tragedies like Flint can be prevented. Sanders wants to de-militarize the police and have police officers be represented in diversity of the community they are serving. Most importantly, he wants to end the mass incarceration which is blighting a generation of black and latino young men.
The priorities of the American public has changed. Gen X, Y and Millennials, especially Gen Y and Millennials no longer care about America as a superpower of the world. We care about America the country with respect to American people and how it takes care of its own first before the president decides and goes to invade a sovereign nation. Sanders has captured this mood, just like Obama did in 2008, unfortunately Obama continued the militaristic policies of the previous administration. Granted, it’s not reasonable to ask any President to immediately withdraw America from the world as a superpower and with it our military presence around the world, but we can decline a leading role in being the police officers of the world and make it a joint effort between all the superpowers.
Hillary Clinton’s claim that “you have to be ready on day one” and implying that she’s the one that’s ready. Well, the presidency of the United States isn’t a job one can prepare for unless one has already been president. And all first term presidents were not ready, they think they are but they are not. And you really don’t need to be ‘ready’, the elections of President Bill Clinton, who was the governor of Arkansas before he became president, and President Obama, who was a first term senator before he became president, prove this point. In fact, they were probably the least ready of all recent presidents, with the exception of Ronald Reagan.
In my view, Hillary Clinton misjudged the mood of her voters and that’s why many of her would be voters are now supporting Sanders. Voters no longer care that she was a former Secretary of State who stared down Middle Eastern dictators or brokered a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Voters want to know what is she going to do to improve the lives of everyday Americans, whose lives and livelihoods have been decimated by the recession. What is she going to do about police brutality, institutionalized racism, income inequality across genders and races, reigning in the excesses and cutting the legs off of Wall Street.
It’s not guaranteed that Bernie Sanders can fix all of the problems of our nation in one term or even two terms, but he has the will and desire to do so. With transformative candidates such as Obama and Sanders, much is expected from them and as a result the disappointment is greater. Theoretically we know one man cannot walk on water or change centuries of an entrenched system, but in our hearts we want them to, we expect them to be miracle workers. Sanders’s sincerity comes across to the voters. Hillary Clinton is only paying lip service. That’s the difference and that is why young voters and women are Feeling The Bern.