Bernie Sanders 2016: The far-left answer to Hillary Clinton
By Louis Smith
While portions of the United States’ population remain drunk on the news that ruthless political mogul Hillary Clinton would be running for the 2016 presidential nomination, Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders made his announcement that he would also be seeking the democratic nomination April 30 on the lawn in front of Capitol Hill.
“This campaign is not about Bernie Sanders, it is about a grassroots movement of Americans standing up and saying: ‘enough is enough.’ This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires,” 73-year-old Sanders said during his speech on Capitol Hill. “The major issue is, how do we create an economy that works for all of our people, rather than a small number of billionaires?”
The Brooklyn native was elected as the mayor of Burlington in 1981, although he had been active in the political arena for 10 years prior. He then served as the sole Vermont congressman from 1990 to 2006, and was elected as senator on the independent ticket in 2007. From there, Sanders has made waves throughout the political system by openly supporting LGBT equality, aligning himself as a rigid supporter of universal healthcare, and as an outright advocate for clean energy.
In March 2015, Sanders issued a statement in response to Saudi Arabia’s call for American troops to fight ISIS saying: “I find it remarkable that Saudi Arabia, which borders Iraq and is controlled by a multibillion-dollar family, is demanding that U.S. combat troops have ‘boots on the ground’ against ISIS. Where are the Saudi troops? With the third largest military budget in the world, and an army far larger than ISIS, the Saudi government must accept its full responsibility for stability in their own region of the world.”
This statement comes amidst Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner’s call to potentially respond to the threat of ISIS by landing American troops to help combat this growing concern.
Sanders’ announcement comes as a wave of relief to far-left democrats who view the environment as a top priority in 2016, known as “Climate Hawks” in the political arena, due to the fact that Clinton is much more moderate when it comes to issues like clean energy and climate change. According to Politico.com, Clinton made blatant pro-natural gas statements in 2014 at Sen. Harry Reid’s National Clean Energy Summit, citing “potential” benefits to production and export of oil and natural gas.
“Assuming that our production stays at the same levels, or even as some predict, goes higher, I do think there’s a play here…this is a great economic advantage, a competitive advantage, for us…we don’t want to give that up,” said Clinton.
She then continued to speak on the topic of natural gas, stating: “The boom in domestic natural gas production is an example of American innovation changing the game. With the right safeguards in place, gas is cleaner than coal.”
Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, takes a “no prisoners” stance when it comes to shifting the nation’s reliance away from natural gas and oil, unlike Clinton. Sen. Sanders isn’t looking to “play ball” with these oil barons and big business; he’s looking to completely change the game itself.
Sanders is looking ahead to the future of our planet, and states that shifting our focus to sustainable energy will help not only protect the environment but also create jobs, which would help battle the real unemployment rate of 12 percent.
The raising of the national minimum wage, equality of pay among men and women, supporting the growth of unions, and stress on protecting the interests of seniors and children who currently live in poverty are among the key points in Sen. Sanders platform. He also tackles tax reform, which would finally hold corporations accountable for paying federal income taxes, and level out the tax rate for higher income Americans.
“It is absurd that we lose over $100 billion a year in revenue because corporations and the wealthy stash their cash in offshore tax havens around the world. The time is long overdue for real tax reform,” Sanders said via BernieSanders.com, his official political website for the 2016 nomination.
Although it’s debatable about whether the United States is ready for a far-left democrat to take office, it is refreshing to see someone who has the credentials and drive to inject change into our somewhat stagnant, corporate-dominated system. Although Sanders runs as an independent, he caucuses with the democrats, which gives him an even bigger platform to share his ideas. Although personally I don’t agree with every one of his goals, I think it is important that we see a successful politician stand up for the rights of the average American.
“We’re not going to raise $2 billion, and we’re not going to raise $1 billion…I do not have millionaire or billionaire friends,” Sanders announced, according to The New York Times.
Out of the gates, it is no surprise that Bernie Sanders is financially at a disadvantage against the well-equipped Super PAC-backed Clinton. However, according to WashingtonPost.com, the Sanders Campaign announced that they had already raised over $1.5 million online in the first 24 hours since the Vermont Independent announced his bid. This true grassroots campaign should illustrate one important point to Clinton: figures, charts, and friends with money don’t scare all politicians, and Bernie Sanders isn’t backing down.