The hot topic of the 2016 US presidential elections, Bernie “Feel the Bern” Sanders is a Democratic Party nominee and candidate for the upcoming POTUS position. Throughout his illustrious career, he’s just about done it all: championed race and gender equality, advocated democratic socialist policies, and fought against climate change.
Sanders was born in Brooklyn, NYC to a Jewish father who emigrated from Poland to escape the Nazis during WWII, to which many of his relatives were victims. Growing up, he lived under less-than-modest economic conditions, and during this time he sympathised with the needs and wants of the people; this is where he chose a life of activism.
Fighting against racial segregation, Bernie became a member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), opposed America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, and also attended Martin Luther King’s, “I Have a Dream” speech in Washington, DC. Throughout his career in Congress, he has fought tirelessly for income equality, served two years on the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and established the Burlington Community Land Trust, which finds affordable housing for Americans—the first of its kind in the US. Additionally, he has empowered the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps poor families heat their homes during the winter, and supported the Affordable Care Act, which subsidises housing costs for the needy.
Sanders has an excellent platform for his presidential election and the support of millions of Americans, who are tired of the same party politics. While his career proves that his track record is impressive, it is far from spotless. He remains flexible on his political platform, but voters must look at him through a critical eye before casting their ballots in 2016. We at ALLRIOT wanted to show you all of the herbs and spices Colonel Sanders is working with for his campaign, and the final decision to “Feel the Bern” or call BS is totally up to you.
If elected in 2016, he plans to:
- Make all public colleges and universities tuition-free
- Prevent the federal government from profiting from student loan interest rates
- Lower student loan interest rates from 4.29% to roughly 2.4%
- Triple funding for student work programmes
- Fund the costs of his programmes (75 billion USD) by taxing Wall Street bankers and corporations
- Support Supreme Court judges who plan to overturn the Citizens United and Buckley vs. Valeo decisions, which allow the rich to privatise public assets
- Regulate super PACs and enforce the Fair Elections Act, which limits campaign contributions to small donations
- Introduce a $15 minimum wage
- Pass the Workplace Democracy Act, which will strengthen the role of trade unions
- Fight corporate tax evasion by preventing offshoring of capital to tax havens
- Reduce company outsourcing and exploitation of workers
- Eliminate tax breaks and subsidies to large fossil fuel corporations, and close loopholes in the tax system
- Reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which would heavily regulate America’s ticking time bomb of 5 quadrillion USD in derivatives
- Fund programmes by increasing taxes on earnings over 250,000 USD
Health and Medicine:
- Wants Medicare to negotiate better drug prices, which 83% of Americans support
- Pass legislation to import drugs from Canada, which cost 40% less than American pharmaceuticals
- Increase access to generic drugs, break up pharmaceutical monopolies, and prosecute companies that operate fraudulently
- Protect the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programme, which 11 million people depend on, including veterans and children
- Protect and fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as Ageing and Disability Resource Centres (ADRCs) around the country
Energy and Lobbying:
- Reduce federal lobbying and campaign contributions ($2.26 billion and $330 million since 2009, respectively), which prevent innovative companies from introducing renewable alternative energy resources
- Oppose the Keystone XL pipeline, which will cost taxpayers over 15 billion due to lawsuits and construction costs, as well as severely contaminate natural resources through tar sands extraction—a process that sharply increases greenhouse gases, eviscerates hectares of land, and require up to 4 barrels of oil for 1 barrel of water
- Convene a group of international scientists and advisors to tackle climate change. Would like to follow BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) in reducing emissions and improving food security
- Pass legislation designed to help the LGBT community, including the Equality Act and Every Child Deserves a Family Act. Will fight for LGBT rights and security, and veto legislation based on ‘religious liberty’
- Supports the Iran Deal, which will lift sanctions in exchange for cooperation on uranium enrichment inspections
- Support diplomacy before military interventions and continue to vote against the use of military force. Voted against the Iraq War, while Hillary Clinton supported it.
- Opposes the Patriot Act, wants to close Guantanamo Bay, and control the NSA.
Bernie’s Platform: Cons
- Closet Zionist. Supports Israel and places equal blame on the Palestinians to “recognise the right for Israel to exist”. Told Palestinian supporters to “shut up” during one of his town hall speeches. Cannot reconcile this disagreement with voters, which has cost him support of the American Left.
- Refused to support Green Party candidate Ralph Nader when he ran for president in 2000.
- Too attached to the Democratic Party. Could have operated as an Independent and still received votes, but would have received less debate time and publicity due to the monopoly of the Committee on Public Debates. May continue following Democratic Party policies that have been detrimental to the US in exchange for the extra publicity.
- Calls himself a socialist, but seeks to reform capitalism, not overthrow it. Has not even called for a nationalisation of the banks like Jeremy Corbyn or previous British Labour party PM Clement Attlee.
- Vehemently supports the disastrous F-35 fighter jet boondoggle, even in the face of public criticism. Often has conflicting policies that work at cross-purposes with his long-term agenda.
- Supported the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists in Iraq as a unilateral “lesser of two evils”, which has expanded US brutality against suspected ‘terrorists’ since Sept. 11th.
- May easily become susceptible to the ‘profit motive’ and will lessen his stance on democratic socialism in the same manner as Barack Obama’s failed “Hope and Change” leadership.
- Does not address all issues in the presidential debates, especially against Hillary Clinton. Is a bit passive on many issues in order to appear more moderate. Has not addressed the no-fly zone in Syria or the subpoena on the Clinton Foundation’s dirty money.