Are you feeling the Bern, or do you scream #Hillyes? This is a debate that a lot of Wilson students find themselves in. Many Democrats have been choosing how to answer this pertinent question since the beginning of the primary season. It has intensified since the Democratic candidates for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, stepped away from the Iowa caucus with a virtual tie. Support for these two candidates has been so strong that former Governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley suspended his presidential bid. In the New Hampshire primary, Sanders took the upper hand with a definitive 60 percent of the vote, while Hillary recently won in Nevada. It is predicted that Clinton will win the next primary, in South Carolina.
Bernie Sanders is a self-described Democratic Socialist, and a more liberal candidate than Hillary Clinton. His campaign has generally appealed more to younger voters such as high schoolers, college students, and graduate students. Sanders has very strong opinions on gun control, healthcare, and education. According to pbs.org, he wants to ban assault weapons, revoke laws protecting some gun manufacturers, and have no federal handgun waiting period. He also believes in universal healthcare, as well as government-subsidized preschool and free tuition at public universities and colleges. He has supported gay rights efforts for decades.
On the other hand, Clinton did not completely supported same-sex marriage until a few years ago. She strongly stresses the importance of conclusive background checks on anyone trying to buy a gun. Clinton has more experience with foreign policy than Sanders, as she served as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Her top priorities in that arena are to “maintain a cutting-edge military, strengthen alliances, cultivate new partners, stand up to aggressors, defeat ISIS, and enforce the Iran nuclear agreement.”
Both candidates are pro-choice when it comes to reproductive rights, and have put forth similar proposals on immigration.
Even though she feels that Clinton makes good points, freshman Adelaide Kaiser supports Sanders. “I like Bernie because he stands for the people,” she says. “He cares about the social issues facing our country– women’s rights, Black Lives Matter, and LGBTQ rights– as well as fighting for the middle class by raising the minimum wage and making college affordable. He is running a people’s campaign, with no super PACs, and he has a lot of integrity and good ideas.”
Senior Deddeh Sherman, on the other hand, supports Clinton’s campaign. Sherman says that while Sanders has received strong support from younger voters, Hillary has more credibility. “Hillary was the Secretary of State, and therefore has more experience and knows more about politics. I would never vote for a Republican, but Hillary seems like the better option in this case. I like what she has to say about gay rights and gender equality in the workplace.”
Sanders and Clinton have been in an increasingly close race since the beginning of their primary campaigns. Each candidate represents different ideals of the Democratic Party, which creates a difficult choice for voters. While Bernie is a Democratic Socialist who is appealing to a younger crowd, Hillary is doing better with Black and middle-aged voters. Wilson is just as divided as the Democratic Party, and it shows in the student body’s beliefs. Needless to say, whoever wins this primary is in for a tough fight against the Republican candidate, as November draws near and the presidency hangs in the balance.
GRAPHIC BY STEPHEN BERG