Cincinnati, OH- A crowd gathered to march in support of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders who is running for President. Sanders’ general fervor has been felt, notably, among young people in the United States, and especially students. However, in this crowd were the young, older people, African-Americans, Caucasians, Hispanics, Christians, Atheists, Muslims, and everything in between. I talked to people in the crowd and I continually heard the same thing- Bernie is the only candidate worth voting for.
Note that Ohio is a particularly important state for this primary election. There are marches organized all over the state in the coming weeks and Sanders will be visiting Cleveland on February 25th.
As has been said time and time again, it appears that American voters are done with establishment politics. Unfortunately, Donald Trump nearly has the Republican nomination locked in (which honestly only plays to the benefit of Democrats). But, Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed socialist has tremendous support in his own party as well as from Republicans. Sanders has pulled support from both sides through his entire political tenure running as an independent candidate.
After the recent Democratic Town Hall, we again heard Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric that Senator Bernie Sanders’ ideas are just not politically feasible.
She is, to some extent, correct that many of Sanders’ seemingly outlandish policies would not pass by the current congress, but she discredits (and for the most part ignores) the popularity of Sanders’ ideas. Universal healthcare, free college tuition for public schools, and campaign finance reform (just a few of Sanders’ policy ideas) are overwhelmingly popular. Clinton’s obsession with political expedience has made her very unpopular among sectors of the Democratic Party and because of this she is playing a dangerous game.
Hailed liberal, Elizabeth Warren, at one time said:
“Anyone who shrugs and says that change is too hard, has crawled into bed with the billionaires.”
This is the uninspiring nature of the Clinton campaign we see today just as we saw in 2008 when Clinton was blindsided by then Senator Barack Obama. One has to remember that it was not politically expedient for a Catholic to be President at one time as it was widely believed the Pope would control the White House if that were the case. Later, John Fitzgerald Kennedy took office as President of the United States. It was never conceivable that a black man would be President, and now Barack Obama sits in office. Even in the case of Obama, Wall Street was actually terrified by his 2008 campaign, but later had a deep sigh of relief when it was quickly understood that he and Clinton were not really that different. These perceived barriers are of very little concern and Clinton’s association with big money is without question.
What stands on the side of Senator Sanders is the facts, also in conjunction with a clean record, and prophetic statements being dug up that have a disturbing relevance to the present day.
Sanders has run as an independent his entire career but this time he is seeking a nomination from the Democratic Party. Party loyalists have been shunning this, but really what you see from this is a realistic shift to some degree on the part of Senator Sanders. Running as an independent is good if you want to keep your reputation clean but it’s not a strategy to win the highest office in America. This is the non-strategy pursued by Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, who is definitely far to the left of Sanders by any metric. Recently she has railed against President Obama on social media, attacked American imperialism, and is calling for a “Green New Deal.”
These are the kinds of things that actually are unrealistic and that alienate those who hold very appropriate ideals.
What are Bernie’s barriers? One thing that has been beat over the head is his lack of support from minority voters. This has been attributed to Hillary Clinton’s notoriety as a champion of the Democratic Party. Committed Bernie voter who lives near Cincinnati, Adrian Echeveste, had this to say:
“I just really think that if Latinos and other minorities knew who Bernie is then they would support him. He has the best policies for minority groups. I even convinced my Dad to vote for him.”
The Sanders campaign released a statement that he won the crucial Latino vote in Nevada although the corporate media has made their own rebuttals against this claim. Most of Sanders’ supporters have learned to not trust the mainstream corporate media so it is unlikely that any big outlet’s stories will have an impact on their sentiments.
America has a real opportunity with Senator Sanders. It is not just some theoretical idea, some dream, a far out of reach revolution, or feel-good statements; the establishment is genuinely terrified. Real change has always come from strong grass-roots movements, involving change from the bottom to the top. We saw this in American history during the Labor Movement, during the Civil Rights Movement, and during the Women’s Rights Movement. Remember, at the time these movements were unfolding, no one thought they were expedient either. At a time when elections are won and lost in campaign bank accounts, ultimately it is the American people who cast the ballot, and I think this will be the lesson of the 2016 election.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al-Masdar News.
Brad Blankenship is a contributor to Al-Masdar News and is a political activist and student of Philosophy and Political Science at Northern Kentucky University.
You can follow him on Twitter: @BradAlMasdar