Why Bernie Sanders is the right choice for the 2016 election



Andrew Arendash

Bernie Sanders represents the democratic values intrinsic in the founding of this country. He stands for equal opportunity and respect for every American life regardless of skin color, sexual orientation, gender identification or religion. Sanders labels himself a socialist, but in reality he fights for Social Democratic values like those seen in FDR’s New Deal.  These values will help the American working class in a time where the economic policies of recent presidents have only worsened the inherent problems of capitalism.  These problems are visible in the increasing disparity between the wealthiest Americans and the working class, a disparity that has reached its highest level yet and does not seem to be stopping.

Sanders supports a $15 minimum wage, which will be incrementally increased until 2020 so that workers in the fast food industry and other minimum wage jobs can survive working 40 hours a week instead of being told by employers to seek welfare in addition to working overtime and working a second or even third job. This increase in wages will cause other jobs to raise their wages and put more money into the poorest consumers who have been shown to spend the most money in the economy and boost economic growth. As someone who has worked a minimum wage job for two years before coming to Villanova, I have seen firsthand the exploitations and the exhausting struggle for people older than me stuck working non-stop in order to pay their bills and not be forced on the streets.

The most controversial and relevant Sanders proposal for college students is his tuition-free model for public universities and community colleges. I support Sanders’ plan, because as seen in the European countries that have already enacted such plans, young students are able to receive the education and skills necessary for skilled jobs that pay well which, in turn, are spent back into the economy instead of into a private bank or the Federal government’s hands because of exorbitant loans due to high tuition costs. Sanders will pay for this plan by using a tax on Wall Street speculation, which works twofold to raise revenue for the Federal government to afford this proposal, but also stop the high-frequency trading on Wall Street that is seen as risky and volatile and has played a part in economic troubles and recessions in the past.

Universal healthcare is another vital component of Sanders’ plan for America. In countries like Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden, healthcare is seen as a right for all people and is guaranteed under a single-payer plan. Sanders would have all Americans enrolled into Medicare as their insurance provider, eliminating the premiums and other payments forced upon the poorest Americans by greedy and exploitive insurance companies, saving many Americans far more in costs for health care than Sanders is proposing in taxes to cover his plan. Yes, Sanders would increase taxes across all brackets, but the heaviest increases in taxes are in the upper brackets, where the richest Americans are paying less than the poorest, yet profit the most from government subsidies and exploiting labor by paying unfair wages and cutting corners in ethical business practices. In America, we should not be seeing people die because they could not afford the extremely expensive treatments provided by American hospitals.

Finally, Sanders stands for the oppressed peoples of the United States. He is the only candidate to make Native American rights and issues a part of his platform. Sanders has also supported LGBT rights and women’s rights since the 1970s. Sanders has fought for African American rights since his college days when he was arrested for protesting segregation at the University of Chicago. Today, he supports the Black Lives Matter movement has made fighting the War on Drugs (which targets the poorest Americans and African Americans), For-Profit Prisons, and other oppressive justice systems so that the minority of this country are protected and Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy lives on. Sanders has defended immigrants against the horrific accusations by Donald Trump and other Republicans, and recognizes that immigrants play a vital role in the economy and the U.S. in general. He has fought against Islamophobia and speaks out against the fearmongering that has struck the American people.

In the end, Sanders’ campaign is one of love and respect for all, helping those who suffer under our current system, and helping to become a welcoming nation to all. I support Sanders because I believe in his message and his character, and that won’t ever change.