Is Bernie Sanders the Best Candidate for Our Generation?
Over the past year, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have faced off in a series of primaries to decide who will run as the Democratic candidate for the next U.S. President. Currently [subject to change], Clinton has the vote of 1930 delegates, whereas Sanders has the vote of 1191. With 2383 delegates needed, Clinton seems satisfied that she has this election in the bag, but Sanders and his campaign team remain confident that they can still win.
Sanders’ claim is reasonable, as Clinton only leads him by 1% in a poll created by USA Today on the 21st. Still, Sanders can use all the help he can get. For those who can vote, Bernie Sanders is the best choice for high schoolers and college students because he believes that a college education should be made more accessible, has been a long time supporter of issues students care about, and is well qualified for the position.
Sanders’ views on education could be the most driving factor for why students should consider him for the election. In 2015, The College Board stated that the average price [including room and board] to attend a full time undergraduate program at a public four year university was $19,548. Working at a minimum wage job, this year’s worth of college tuition would take around 2700 hours to pay off. For a full time student who can not complete these hours, this can result in debt.
Sanders has stated in many interviews that he would like to make college free, or at least reduce the cost.
“Today’s economy requires more education. That is why I believe that we must, when we talk about public education in America, we must make public colleges and universities tuition free,” Sanders said.
During his first government position as mayor of Burlington in 1983, Sanders enacted the city’s first gay pride parade. Sanders voted against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” a law that does not let open members of the LGBT community serve in the Army. He also voted against the “Defense of Marriage Act,” a law that stopped federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Hillary helped create these laws and still, as of 2015, defends them. While she has currently endorsed LGBT rights, some believe that this is an effort to gain more votes.
“You can’t be against LGBT and get votes, especially now. I just think she’s changing her beliefs for votes,” Alivia Hart ‘19 said.
Bernie Sanders, unlike Hillary Clinton, has also held these stances for many years and has not changed them in order to gain popularity. As recent as last year, HIllary suddenly switched her stances on issues such as gun control, immigration, and LGBT rights. This may further illustrate the fact that she has changed her stances to gain popularity with voters.
Some students believe that he is not as qualified as Clinton due to her eight years as first lady, eight years as a New York Senator, and four years as Secretary of State. In comparison, Sanders has served 16 years in the House of Representatives and is currently serving his second term in the Senate.
“He definitely does not have as much experience as some people, but he has more experience than some of the other people that have been our president,” Olivia Sweeney ‘19 said.
Not only does he have more experience than previous presidents, he also has more experience in government than both of the republican candidates combined. While his experience may not be as varied as Clinton’s, Sanders has still served twenty years in government positions.
“I think that Bernie Sanders is really a different candidate than we’ve really experienced before, and he’s perceived by many people in this country to be extremely radical,” Alexander Knorr ‘17 said. “Though,when you really look at it on a global standard, especially European countries that he so frequently references, he really isn’t that radical. I would say he’s more of a moderate socialist, and because of that, I personally think it wouldn’t be bad to have him in the presidency. Working with all of the people who are already there, he would be able to institute some moderate reforms that would help move the country in the right direction.”