Feel the bern: why Bernie is the best candidate


Courtesy of Creative Commons

Jack Bartlett

It’s no secret that this election has been extraordinarily hectic, with 12 democratic candidates still in the running and many more who’ve already dropped out. But who is the best, who deserves your vote? While that question may be difficult to answer, and very different from person to person, I’m here to convince you that the answer is Bernie Sanders. While he may be old, he’s as experienced and more than anyone else on the debate stage, and his track record of success rivals anyone else’s.

I landed on Bernie only through careful thought and consideration. To help with that, I created three criteria for a good president. One; knowing the problems that the American people face. Two; having a feasible idea to solve these problems, and three; being able to handle unexpected difficult situations. If a candidate has all three of these down, I’d feel more than happy to support them. And after listening to debates and looking at websites, Bernie Sanders fits all of the criteria.

First, let me tell you about Bernie Sanders. You might know him as the old white guy who yells at things, and although he may be exactly that, there is more than meets the eye. He’s a US Senator from Vermont, in his 3rd term after winning re-election in 2018 by 66.1 percent. Before he was a senator, he was the mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and transformed the small city into one of the most livable in the US, with affordable housing, environmental protection, and a thriving arts community. During his time in the House of Representatives, he was dubbed ‘amendment king’ after passing 90 total amendments, more than any other congressman. 

But, we still must test him against my three criteria. Firstly, does he know the issues? A single glance at Bernie’s campaign website will reveal an expansive list of issues he plans to fix, from our reliance on fossil fuels to racial injustices. He knows, cares, and actively fights for fixing what needs to be fixed. The main issue he talks about is the rising price of medical care in our country, and how the US is the only developed nation without universal health care. It’s hard to deny that there’s something wrong about that.

Secondly, how does he plan to fix those issues? Another look at that same website will reveal that too. For instance, his Medicare for All system would implement single-payer, universal healthcare for everyone and ensure that nobody has to pay more than $200 per year for medicine they need to survive. He has extensive plans to cancel the $1.6 Trillion of owed student debt, transform our power grid to 100% renewable sources, tax the uber-wealthy, and more. These plans are all feasible, and implementing them would help the American people immensely.

Finally, can he be successful in the face of a crisis? Well, the only way we can really know this is by looking back on his previous experience in leadership. Specifically, his time as mayor of Burlington. And there, we see that time and time again, Sanders is able to revitalize areas undergoing crises and make them into places where people can live, work and relax. A prime example of this is the Burlington waterfront. When Sanders came into office, it was an industrial wasteland, without much business or foot-traffic. A local businessman Tony Pomerleau wanted to turn it into a place for the wealthy, but Sanders refused to let that happen. Thanks to him, the waterfront boasts a community boathouse, a fishing pier, acres of parkland, and more. 

With this story and many others, we can say that Sanders was willing and able to handle difficult situations as mayor. Given the chance, he would certainly do the same as president. •