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Not Me, Us

Why Bernie Sanders Needs to be President:

When I was assigned this article at first, it was supposed to be contrasting and advocating for Bernie Sanders in opposition to Pete Buttigieg. Since then, Buttigieg dropped out of the race, the centrist democrats quickly consolidated their support behind Biden, Elizabeth Warren, in my opinion, stopped pretending to be a progressive, the first super Tuesdays occurred and now many of us are stuck somewhere due to COVID-19. 

All of this can make thinking about who to vote for seem irrelevant, but the world, in its current state, is all the more reason that Sanders, in my opinion, needs to be elected as the Democratic nominee. 

Thousands do not have access to Coronavirus testing and treatment due to limitations in insurance or lack thereof. According to US Today reporter Deirdre Shesgreen, The President’s disbanding of the pandemic team, his early downplaying of the virus and otherwise terrible early responses, as reported by Time, created problems early in the spread of the virus into the U.S. 

Now, many more celebrities are getting immediate testing instead of every American. The precedence of neoliberalism is distracting from more efficient ways of alleviating the crisis. The government so far has done little to aid what Mark DeCambre of Market Watch shows is our suffering labor force. 

The New York Times reported the recent coronavirus support bill only helps roughly 20% of Americans. Major companies nationwide are exempt and are asking their employees to work anyways and even donate their sick days to their coworkers. Business Insider reports that this includes the Jeff Bezos-owned Whole Foods. 

The government has repeatedly refused to make the vaccine free, according to Forbes, and to disseminate it as quickly as possible like the Polio vaccine. Meanwhile, millions of people are left vulnerable due to the for-profit nature of our healthcare system. Sander’s plan of Medicare for all is the only realistic way of both addressing public health crises like this and preventing more in the future. 

In my opinion, the case against Sanders is non-existent outside of decades of propaganda telling generations that socialist policies fail without asking what brought them to failure. In reality, the policy equivalents of Sander’s around the world are both popular and effective.

Sanders is far left in relation to many in America, but not at all compared to the rest of the world. Government run healthcare systems globally are successful, and we can look as close as Canada for an example. Not only does it work in a vacuum, but Canada has also been successful at being quick to isolate the virus and getting the vaccine into the testing stages.

Polling also shows most people do believe the government should put more money into Medicare. Biden points to Italy as an example of a failed national health service, but the Center for Economic and Social Rights reported a study showing that Italy’s struggles are a result of severe austerity measures that butcher welfare services, something Biden is familiar with given his decades of lauding Social Security and Medicare cuts. 

Asking how Sanders plans to pay for his plans still is simply Republican word service at this point. The government just put $1.5 trillion, according to the Wall Street Journal into “markets”, which, coincidentally, is the exact amount of student loan debt in the country.

What made this number so bad? Well, Joe Biden years ago wrote a bill that allowed for an expansion of student loan eligibility, but the catch was that debt could not be taken away in bankruptcy, which created many years of predatory loan practices against students across the nation. Biden helped create the problem—Sanders seeks to fix it.

The ultimate thing to keep in mind is that a vote for Biden comes from a point of unique privilege. American society is structured at such a point the old, poor and sick are left without consideration. I believe many people will die if Sanders is not elected president. Biden endorsed a green new deal on the debate stage, but Sanders has been much more serious about it for a while and doesn’t have corporate interests ready to butcher the legislation.

Biden has said he would veto a Medicare-for-all bill if it reached his desk, even when the The National Center for Biotechnology Information says that our large, profit-driven health care, insurance and pharmaceutical industries are proving unsustainable with preventable deaths hardly being prevented, according to the Center for American Progress.

Many of the Democratic nominees would use phrases to describe Sanders as “Good ideas, but unrealistic.” This truly angers me because the only thing preventing these “good ideas” from becoming a reality is decades of corporate self-dealing that has made Sanders the only truly moral actor in the field anymore. 

The reality is that, in general, it is true that many “Bernie Bros” won’t go out to vote for Biden, but we need to ask ourselves a deeper question: Why is that? People voting for Sanders are doing so out of survival. People voting for Biden, or Trump for that matter, are doing so out of political convenience and extreme privilege.

Every day we spend in quarantine, our fragile economy is further exposed and our president’s ineptitude speaks louder and louder. Nobel Prize winner in economics, Joseph Stiglitz, warns that the obsession with endless economic growth will only make poverty worse and prevent us from acting on climate change.

Our government and economy are only coming closer to the brink of collapse thanks to the Coronavirus. The richer will get richer. The poor will only get poorer, and the bootstraps everyone keeps talking about are fraying away. The only way to save ourselves, in my opinion, is to elect Sanders; otherwise, don’t be surprised when the economy collapses and the protracted people’s war begins.

Written By: Sam Jones, senior political science