We list the five reasons why Bernie Sanders should get the progressive vote
Last night Democratic Presidential candidate nominee Bernie Sanders gained his most significant endorsement so far: from the 700,000 members-strong Communications Workers of America.
This adds to an impressive portfolio of union support from the American Postal Workers Union, the National Nurses United, the National Union of Healthcare Workers, and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.
Not to mention other celebrity supporters, including Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream fame), Noam Chomsky, Seth MacFarlane (creator of Family Guy), John Cusack, Danny DeVito, Mia Farrow, Will Ferrell, Sarah Silverman, Dick Van Dyke, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
What’s most impressive is that Bernie Sanders has gained his support from a long list of people with a strong emphasis on small donations. The make-up of Sanders’ campaign in small donations under $200 is 80 per cent, compared with Hilary Clinton, his rival in the race, for whom it is only 19 per cent.
But there are five more reasons why Bernie Sanders should get the progressive vote:
1. Bernie Sanders wants a minimum wage of $15 – Hilary Clinton doesn’t
“has said previously that a $15 minimum wage, which is fast becoming a reality in pricy cities like Seattle and Los Angeles, may not make sense for less dense areas with lower costs of living. She said she supported the recent move by the wage board of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) to recommend a $15 minimum wage for fast-food workers in that state. But she has also said such a level may not be appropriate nationally.”
Workers being paid more might not be appropriate?
2. Sanders knows how to get reform on Wall Street – Hilary hasn’t a clue
Sanders introduced legislation to break up “too big to fail” financial institutions earlier this year. He believes that “no single financial institution should have holdings so extensive that its failure would send the world economy into crisis. If an institution is too big to fail, it is too big to exist.” Therefore he would move to break up the banks.
Hilary’s plans, on the other, are a little more ambiguous. Her grand plan on what to do about “too big to fail” institutions is to give regulators more powers to ask firms to get smaller if those firms cannot prove they can be managed effectively.
As Matt Taibbi said on the topic in Rolling Stone:
Whether or not you think Hillary Clinton plans on doing anything to fix Wall Street corruption really comes down to your read on her intentions. Both regulators and criminal prosecutors already have enormous theoretical power over the market.
Hillary is probably signaling that she doesn’t plan on leaning into the reform effort all that much. This is consistent with her history as a politician who has accepted an enormous amount of money from Wall Street (both in donations and speaking fees) and has surrounded herself with policy advisors who in many cases bear primary responsibility for the very messes we’re talking about.
3. Sanders is winning support from Democrats who could never vote Hilary, and other surprise voters
A CBS News poll earlier in the year found:
Just under half of Democratic primary voters nationwide say they would enthusiastically support Clinton if she became the party’s nominee. Twenty-seven percent would support her with some reservations and another 11 percent would only back her because she is the nominee. Fourteen percent would not support her in a general election.
That’s a lot of Democrat supporters who absolutely would not vote for Hilary.
But even more surprising is the Atlantic article last month showing the Republican voters who are planning to vote Democrat for the first time if the option is Bernie Sanders:
“[Tarie] MacMillan was a lifelong Republican voter until a few weeks ago when she switched her party affiliation to support the Vermont senator in the primary. It will be the first time she’s ever voted for a Democrat.”
The article notes the Facebook and Reddit groups for Republicans who support Bernie. One comment from Bryan Brown, a 47-year-old Oregon resident, reads:
“I have been a conservative Republican my entire life. But the Republican party as a whole has gotten so far out of touch with the American people. I switched my registration so that I could vote for Sanders in the primary, but the day the primary is over I’m going to register as an Independent.”
4. Bernie is unambiguous on the death penalty
“Mrs Clinton bluntly told attendees at a campaign event that she supports the death penalty – in limited use and in limited case, but she still supports it.”
Sanders, on the other hand:
“called for the abolition of the death penalty in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday, a move that highlighted the issue and the fact that he is to [Clinton’s] left on it.”
5. Sanders does politics differently
Sanders speaks about the real political issues that affect the majority of Americans right now. In a debate in June this year he laid it out clearly:
“People are deeply concerned about the disappearing middle class, wealth and income inequality, the fact that their young kids can’t afford to go to college. We need to transform our economics and politics so that millionaires and billionaires can’t buy elections.”
But when reporters tried to push him to comment on the fact that his closest rival, Hilary Clinton, received over $30m in large donations, he would not dip to personal attack:
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“I’ve known Hillary for 25 years. I am not going to be waging personal attacks against her. We differ on issues, and those are the areas that I’ll be focusing on.”