Battleground: Democratic presidential candidate
March 14, 2020
As the Illinois primary quickly approaches, Democratic voters debate which of one of the three candidates will receive their votes: Joe Biden, Tulsi Gabbard, or Bernie Sanders. With the polls showing Biden and Sanders in the lead, the two candidates will face off on Sunday, March 15 in a televised debate.
While both candidates have Democratic policies, Biden is considered a moderate Democrat while Sanders is considered a Democratic socialist. Former Vice President and Delaware Senator Biden maintains his basic views of democracy while Vermont Senator and former Representative Sanders argues for more progressive reforms.
In August 1963, hundreds of demonstrators protested throughout Chicago for an end to segregation in the educational system. The Chicago Public School System intended on adding mobile classrooms at majority-black schools instead of sending black students to the white schools with open seats. During this massive protest, several demonstrators were arrested, Bernie Sanders being one of them.
Sanders began his political career by fighting alongside minorities and targeted groups for justices, whether that be by leading sit-ins throughout his time at the University of Chicago to protesting housing discrimination.
Meanwhile, in 1987, Joe Biden fabricated a story of leaving a diner when his black classmate was thrown out. The classmate later corrected this story, saying that Biden stayed and finished his meal.
Biden repeatedly showed this lack of care towards injustices throughout his time as a politician. In 1985, Biden voted for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which started the reign of harsh mandatory minimums and the notorious sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. In 1994, Biden voted for the Crime Bill, which is responsible for the mass incarceration that followed years after.
According to Jacobi writer Branko Marcetic, while President George H. W. Bush started the war on drugs that targeted the black community and drastically increased the number of black individuals in prison, Biden furthered this war on drugs, proclaiming that Bush’s plan wasn’t “tough enough”. Furthermore, Biden pushed for an expansion of the death penalty, specifically voting for a bill that included 51 crimes in the death penalty and restricted inmates in appealing their executions.
Biden may promise reforms to criminal justice, but as seen from his history with criminal justice, these are clearly empty promises. Time and time again, Biden shows his priorities and these priorities will not address the injustices that he has created. His main priority is to gain more votes, not to fix any problems.
The American Civil Liberties Union spent $1 million on mailers to tell them that while all the other presidential candidates had taken a stance on criminal justice reform and immigration, Biden avoided taking any firm stances, showing his goal in simply gaining votes from both sides of an issue.
However, Sanders doesn’t hesitate when it comes to taking strong stances on issues, unlike Biden who cowers away from such issues in fear of losing corporate funding. Sanders openly speaks about his views, which include raising taxes on the rich, increasing the minimum wage to $15/hour, forgiving student debt, and Medicare for all.
Sanders’ opponents criticize his policies for their lack of plausibility. However, what they fail to account for is America’s massive amount of spending on military, economy and other unnecessary affairs.
On Thursday, March 11, the Federal Reserve announced its plan to pump $1.5 trillion into the economy to fix the damage caused by Coronavirus. Ironically enough, this amount of money is equivalent to the current amount of student loan debt. The Federal Reserve’s plan will probably fail as the effects of Coronavirus are extensive. If the government used that amount of money in helping students in debt, homeless on the street, or the sick drowning in hospital bills, some of the many problems Americans face would be solved.
Furthermore, Sanders’ call for Medicare for all is not outrageous. Nearly every European and South American country has universal health care policies. And in a time where Coronavirus has spread rapidly, the U.S. will suffer immensely as tests for this virus are not free and costs can be anywhere from $160 to thousands, depending on where you take the test.
An American citizen went to the emergency room to take the test and walked away with a $3,270 bill from just the hospital charges. The 33 million Americans without insurance plan to avoid the emergency room and other unnecessary costs as their medical bills will not be affordable. This lack of healthcare heightened the emergency state of Coronavirus and will only worsen the conditions as time goes on.
Sanders plans to take action as president to avoid such circumstances in the future and to ensure that every American has access to healthcare.
Many former presidential candidates like Hilary Clinton and Elizabeth Warren have also attacked Sanders by claiming he failed to act on his views during his years as Vermont’s senator. This attack is still used today by Biden supporters, despite having no validity.
In 2001, Sanders passed an amendment that increased funds to $100 million for community health centers. In 2004, Sanders passed a $22 million increase for a program responsible for heating homes of families in poverty. In 2007, Sanders changed the law so at least 30 percent of hot water in new federal buildings came from solar water heaters. In 2012, Sanders required the corruption of senior military officials to be available to the public.
In 2018, Sanders went after America’s largest corporation, Amazon, which is something most presidential candidates would never even think of doing. Sanders introduced legislation that would tax corporations for every dollar of federal aid their workers received, which would push those companies to increase their minimum wage.
Ignorance and fear fuels such claims and attacks towards Sanders. The establishments, the Democratic National Committee, the current Democratic politicians, and the rich do not want Bernie Sanders to reach the presidential campaign. Sanders reveals all the corruption and the problems in the government, the Democratic Party, and America.
By addressing these problems, Sanders will change the lifestyles of the politicians and the rich, like the Clintons, Bidens, and even the Obamas. They will no longer be able to attend their fundraising dinners and be fueled by corporations.
Sanders represents a legitimate candidate for office with his respectful and honest character. Sanders displays respect for every American, which is seen in his responses to other candidates and his condemning of supporters engaging in harassment and bullying.
Biden, on the other hand, faced multiple allegations due to his interactions with women, whether it be calling a 10-year-old girl “good-looking” or attempting to sniff a former candidate’s hair and kiss her neck. Moreover, Biden lacks basic respect for people who don’t support his campaign. During his Michigan visits, videos captured Biden yelling in a worker’s face after the worker accused Biden of ending gun rights. Biden is seen telling the worker that he’s “full of sh*t”. Biden lacks the accountability and respect that the president should maintain, proving why he should not be the future president.
Sanders prioritizes the needs of every American over the incomes of the corporations and the stability of the top one percent of Americans, changing the initiative of every politician to “not me, us.”
After months of a large, diverse Democratic candidate race, the contest has finally narrowed down to two real contestants (Tulsi Gabbard is just a space-filler who should drop out of the race), former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
But when I say “two contestants,” I really mean one contestant: Joe Biden. Biden would be by far the best choice for Americans as they head to the polls, especially if we want to stabilize our current volatile political predicament and ensure that President Donald Trump doesn’t get reelected.
Let’s first take a look at Biden’s backstory to get a better sense of all he has achieved—and what he still can—and will.
Before devoting himself to a lifelong career in politics, Biden practiced attended Syracuse to study law, where he gained a substantial understanding of the legal system and the Constitution. In 1972, he was elected to the United States Senate, where he would remain for 40 years.
While in the Senate, Biden played a monumental role in getting key, effective legislation passed and was a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, nuclear arms control, climate change treaties, protection for women against violence, among many other pressing issues. Biden helped create the SALT II Treaty, the Global Climate Protection Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Brady background check bill, the Recovery Act, the Affordable Care Act…need I say more?
Biden was the former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Vice President of the U.S., the list goes on. So, you could say that his extensive political background renders him an extremely qualified candidate for the presidency. The knowledge he gained from these various positions, especially as vice president, is invaluable, and proves that he has the best experience and qualifications to be president.
During his vice presidency, Biden played a major role in the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014, oftentimes advising Obama on foreign policy. He also pressured Obama to enact banking reforms and was instrumental in the ratification of gun control bills.
At this point, it may be necessary to apologize. I realize now that I have been rambling about Biden’s outstanding accomplishments, his potential, his pragmatic yet revolutionary policies…there I go again. Now is as good a time as any to address the other candidate. Here we go. Brace yourself.
Bernie Sanders started his career as mayor of the vitally important town of Burlington, Vt. (in case you couldn’t tell, I am being sarcastic. Who cares about Burlington, Vt.? His mayorship doesn’t hold a flame to Biden’s role as vice president of the U.S.). He then proceeded to become a member of the US House of Representatives, where he served for 16 years. After accomplishing absolutely nothing (unless you consider agitating classist grievances and conflicts that reflected Karl Marx’s calls for a proletariat revolution as an accomplishment) in the House, Sanders moved on to the Senate, where he has lurked in the background ever since.
And while Biden has helped pass effective and successful gun reform, Sanders has paved the way for firearms to remain on the streets, vetoing bills that established background checks and voicing his assent for bills that protected gun producers.
The only notable thing about Sanders is his ability to breed radicalism and create searing divisions within the Democratic Party and the United States as a whole. He has been ineffective, unproductive, and frankly, irrelevant during his tenure. According to Politico, Sanders had “big ideas but little impact on Capitol Hill,” noting how he has larger-than-life ideas, especially in regards to financial reform, but how he hasn’t really done anything to address this except for the “Audit the Fed” bill.
Plus, he’s not even a Democrat! Sure, he may be a self-described “Democratic Socialist,” but that doesn’t mean he is a Democrat. He is an independent running in the Democratic race. And, what is “Democratic Socialism,” you may ask? To be brutally honest, it’s just a euphemism for communism.
His radical ideology and agenda will only exacerbate the divisions we currently see plaguing our country. The partisanship in our country is at an all-time high, with an ultra-conservative wing uniting behind Trump and an ultra-liberal wing coalescing behind Sanders. If the election were between Trump and Sanders, the vast majority of Americans who consider themselves more moderate would be caught between two extremists. Many moderate Republicans and Independents would fear voting for a socialist, so they would instead vote for Trump, strengthening Trump’s chances of winning the election.
One thing most Americans can agree on is that Trump is bad news. His tyrannical personality and policies have already threatened our democracy, and if he is reelected, we might not even have a democracy anymore. Which brings me back to why Biden is the best candidate for the presidency. If Sanders is the Democratic nominee, he cannot win. His radical, divisive ideology cannot unite such a broad coalition of Americans to defeat Trump.
But Biden can. His pragmatic, centrist policies will exert a moderating influence on our volatile political climate and will benefit all people, regardless of class, gender, political affiliation, religion, etc. His vast knowledge and unparalleled qualifications reinforce his credibility and potential to lead a country of almost 330 million people.
So, the next time you hear somebody say “Feel the Bern,” take it as a warning sign of what could be if Sanders wins the nomination. If he gets chosen as the Democratic nominee, you will be “feeling the Bern,” as our country will go up in flames.