The New York State Democratic primary is scheduled for Tuesday, April 19. I intend to vote for Bernie Sanders to be the next president of the United States.
Sanders is a gutsy politician who is leading a movement I strongly believe in–to reclaim America for the many, not just the few. And his message is generating a significant amount of political steam and widespread support, especially among the young, the politically disenfranchised, and white working-class Americans.
Sanders message is simple: Something has to be done about the American economy to make it safe for now and well into the foreseeable future. The extraordinary concentration of income, wealth, and political power at the very top jeopardizes our economy, our democracy, our environment, and the revival of the American middle class. It also significantly diminishes prospects for the poor and for people of color.
A lot of the things Sanders talks about—raising the minimum wage; jobs programs; infrastructure improvements; increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans; billionaires paying their fair share; breaking up the big banks and better regulating financial institutions— are not just issues of the liberal left; they have become mainstream American political ideals.
Sanders excites me with his ideas, and I have grown to believe that he’s the only candidate who consistently and convincingly is telling me the truth. I find Sanders to be sensible, pragmatic, and focused on the “here and now.” We all know that the country needs jobs programs to deal with our crumbling infrastructure; we have suspicions that the TPP trade bill will further harm the ability of the middle class to obtain jobs that pay a living wage; climate change and its effect on the environment is clearly the greatest threat to the future of this country and the safety of its people; and every middle-class voter, if pressed, believes that usury banks and financial institutions, unless closely regulated and held lawfully accountable, will rob us blind.
Sanders’ stump speech has been consistent from Day One: “Enough is enough. This great nation and its government belong to all of the people, and not to a handful of billionaires... There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. This grotesque level of inequality is immoral; it is bad economics; and it is unsustainable.”
“You can’t get huge tax breaks while children in this country go hungry,” Sanders avows. “You can’t continue sending our jobs to China while millions are looking for work. You can’t hide your profits in the Cayman Islands and other tax havens [Panama], while there are massive unmet needs on every corner of this nation. It is not acceptable that a number of major profitable corporations have paid zero in federal income taxes in recent years, and that millionaire hedge fund managers often enjoy an effective tax rate, which is lower than truck drivers or nurses.”
Bernie Sanders is not my idea of a polished and stylish politician—he is gruff, abrupt and brutally honest—but I like that. His platform is strong and bold. He proposes to immediately raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour; to implement a Medicare-for-all health care system; to invest $1 trillion in infrastructure; to make tuition in public universities free; to combat climate change aggressively; and to promote legislation that constitutionally amends the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Sanders has long been recognized by his peers for his principled leadership, his passionate idealism, his unrestrained support and advocacy for middle-class families, and for his human decency and integrity. He couldn’t be clearer about what he expects to achieve—“a democratic, civilized society, where all people are entitled to health care as a right, all people are entitled to quality education as a right, all people are entitled to decent jobs and a decent income, and the government represents ordinary Americans, not just the wealthy and the powerful.”
According to a recently released McClatchy-Marist poll, in addition to Bernie Sanders winning six of the last seven Democratic state primaries, he holds a slight lead over rival Hillary Clinton, within the national electorate, 49 to 47 percent. Sanders is polling significantly higher among those ages 29 and younger, Hispanics, independents and liberals. Clinton has a lead among those 60 and older, African-Americans and registered Democrats. Not only is Sanders, a relative unknown six months ago, capturing the hearts and minds of Americans, he has the highest favorability rating of any candidate, Democrat, Republican or Independent.
Bernie Sanders is promising sweeping change and offering something many of us have been longing for—a more liberal and caring society. The New York primary will be decided by those who either still cling to the belief that there can be an incremental path to change, or those who feel that Sanders is at the forefront of a populist political revolution to take our country back. And Republican obstructionism be damned!