When I first heard about Bernie Sanders, he reminded me of a candidate that I hear about every election cycle — a semi-independent hyper-liberal who has strong stances on important issues. He is the person who wants complete equality and world peace. He is ultimately the progressive idealist, preordained to failure, who is doomed before he even begins by the moderate views of the democrat voter base, the enormous disconnect between their ideas and the modern political machine. Sanders, I thought, is that person who you say you would vote for, if you thought they had any chance of winning. But you won’t vote for them because you think you’d better just go for the surer bet. However, the more I read about Sanders, the more I hear him speak, and the more I look at the state of his opposition, the more I see a candidate who is primed to take America by storm. Sanders is a man who knows what he is fighting with, fighting against, and fighting for. Sanders is the candidate who can champion the views of those who have never have a chance to voice them.
For me, an important thing to see in a candidate, and something that I see affecting the American political scene more than anything in recent months, is that a politician must be honest about the beliefs they hold. Studies consistently find that politicians lie on a regular basis. Watching some of the most famous politicians today flip stances on the issues that are allegedly cornerstones to their campaigns is as easy as turning on the TV once every week. Donald Trump flipped completely on abortion, Hilary Clinton changed her stance on gay marriage; politicians change as soon as it seems that they won’t be electable because of their current stance. However, look back for 30+ years, and you can see Bernie Sanders preaching the same values, declaiming the same government problems, and holding his views just as firmly as he does today. From income inequality to gay marriage, he has recognized the real problems hurting real people and fights against them, instead of focusing on whatever hot topic analysts feel will win the most votes.
Moreover, Sanders shows his honesty and electability by remaining the only open socialist in the entire congress. While some Americans think of that stance as a dirty word, Sanders believes in his brand of socialism and defends it, showing once again how he will put his honest views in front of what he thinks will get him elected.
Many young people have clearly shown support for Sanders, and it’s no surprise why. Sanders knows that the college education system is broken, and that young people have been abused by this messed-up system. He is preaching for equality, after years of growing inequality in this country. Most importantly, Sanders is pushing change, and change that he has specific, clear steps to achieve. Young people are fed up with the stagnant American political system, politicians who either preach change they never mean to implement or actively push back against change. Bernie Sanders wants social justice for all. This congress has been one of the most unproductive ones in history, and American young people are sick of seeing a broken country with no sign of changing. Young people and people tired of the political system will flock to the polls to support someone who wants what they do.
There is no clearer example of this than the source of the money Sanders is raising. While other candidates rely on big money to support them, Sanders has raised as much as many big money politicians with almost 85% of his donations coming from contributions from ordinary people who donate because they believe in him.
What I see when I look at the presidential candidates are puppets and clowns, spouting the stereotypes necessitated by their party or their hatred of people who oppose change. But when I look at Sanders I see something different: a crusader for positive change, a voice for social justice, a voice for the Americans who care about all Americans.