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The last time Bernie Sanders ran for President, it was a wild ride. Strap yourselves in, because this time it takes us all the way to The White House.
United States Senator Bernie Sanders, announced via YouTube that he intended to seek the Democratic nomination for President. This is the second time Sanders has attempted to gain the nomination. In 2016 he was the main challenger to Hillary Clinton, in a contest which was much closer than political commentators predicted.
Although Sanders did not secure the nomination, his grassroots movement awakened a generation of political activists, from demographics previously ignored by the political establishment. This new generation, overwhelmingly young and from working and middle class backgrounds, didn’t just vote at the ballot box for the first time ever but also knocked on doors, phoned the electorate, managed social media accounts and hosted community meetings all over the US.
Although many in the political establishment will dismiss Sanders as they did in 2016, this time it will be different. This time, Bernie Sanders will win.
The neoliberal consensus which has gripped Western politics since the 1980’s is eroding. The third way, centre ground election route has crumbled. Nowhere is this more painstakingly obvious than the US Democratic Party. In 2016, Hillary Clinton ran a campaign that was vastly out of touch with the electorate. In some ways, you have to empathise with the Clinton campaign. She was in a somewhat impossible position, arguing for a political and economic status quo which was not working for the working and middle classes, the blue collar workers, often in traditional industries, which were the core of Trumps vote base and always hold the pendulum in elections. She, however, chose to run on policies which did not address the economic anxieties of Middle America, who feel like they have lost out in the age of globalisation.
The search for innovate solutions to the problems real people face has been filled by alternative movements across the world, on both the left and right. This includes Jeremy Corbyn in the UK, Emmanuel Macron in France, and yes, Donald Trump in the United States. The 2016 Sanders campaign was one of these alternative movements, promising a radical upheaval of the status quo. Sanders described it as a political revolution. This campaign will continue this revolution.
In 2016, Bernie Sanders was considered an outsider. Many accused the Democratic establishment of conspiring against Sanders, and it is true that the overwhelming majority of senior names in the party supported Clinton. If they have learned the lessons of 2016, and there is no guarantee that they have, they will throw the entire weight of the party behind Bernie Sanders. In 2016, political commentators and politicians alike claimed that Sanders was unelectable. As we see so often with the political establishment, they are horribly out of touch with the political reality. This time, the democratic establishment will throw their entire weight behind the Vermont Senator, who has single highhandedly shifted the stale political discourse in the United States.
Sanders is a man of principle, whose core beliefs have changed little since he first entered the political sphere in the 1980s’. Compare this to Hillary Clinton, who quite literally said whatever her PR team believed was popular, in order to get elected. Bernie Sanders is incredibly popular for being all the things Hillary could never be – authentic. The electorate are tired of the aforementioned style-over-substance politician and crave genuinely empathetic men and women who they can relate to, and will honestly represent them. Sanders has consistently polled as the most popular politician in the United States since 2016.The policies which Sanders advocates for are inspired by his principles. On this front Sanders was, again, dismissed in 2016. We were told these policies were too radical, only supported by those on the fringe, and were simply unsuited to the realities of the American politician field. This could not be further from the truth. Sanders policies are incredibly popular, so much so that Medhi Hassan has even stated that Sanders isn’t the radical and loony leftist portrayed in mainstream media, but in fact is a political moderate, endorsing policies considered sensible and effective by most Americans.
The United States is the only Western country without a system of socialised healthcare. The creation of a medicare-for-all program is Sanders’ flagship policy, which he fought for his entire life. Medicare for all enjoys overwhelming support, with 70% of Americans believing healthcare should be provided to every single citizen. This transcends the left-right political divide; over half of Republican respondents in the same poll went against the Presidents own policy position and support socialised healthcare.
Likewise, the increased focus on the ongoing Climate Crisis is likely to continue well into the Presidential election and is likely to take centre stage as the public continue to demand policy solutions. Sanders is one of a few American senators and representatives to endorse a ‘Green New Deal’, a proposed economic stimulus program aimed at rejuvernating the American economy and tackling inequality while being sustainable and protecting the environment. This is hugely popular with voters.
In fact, if you take a look at all the current major political debates going on within the US, Sanders supports policies that resonate with the population. Tuition-free college, a $15 dollar an hour minimum wage, access to safe and legal abortions, ending the federal drug prohibition, legalizing cannabis, reducing incarceration and protecting the rights of migrants are all positions that are popular with the electorate and have been supported by Sanders since he was arrested for protesting segregation in 1963.
The hunger for change is stronger than ever, and the issues that define our generation can only be addressed by a radical agenda. The radical agenda proposed by Bernie Sanders will propel him all the way to the White House. This time, Bernie Sanders will win.