A lot of people, myself included, didn’t expect Senator Bernie Sanders to run for president in 2016. While I certainly welcomed the possibility that he would challenge Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination, I figured that he would do little more than push her to the left and force her to talk about issues many progressives have been wanting her to address and stake out a position on. That would eventually make her a stronger candidate than if she were to run without any serious opposition – at least that’s what I thought.
My assumptions were wrong, and I couldn’t be happier about the fact that not only is Bernie Sanders running, but he’s finding an incredible amount of support right out of the gate.
Sen. Bernie Sanders raised more than $1.5 million in the 24-hours since he announced his presidential run, his campaign announced Friday.
It’s a strong performance for a candidate many pundits have dismissed as fringe, outpacing Republican candidates who have recently announced. Sen. Marco Rubio raised $1.25 million in the day after announcing his campaign, Sen. Ted Cruz raised $1 million, while Sen. Rand Paul raised about $750,000.
Sanders, an independent senator from Vermont, announced Thursday that he will run for president as a Democrat, challenging former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. (Source)
There are many Democrat and independent voters who weren’t happy with being told that they should go ahead and get behind Hillary Clinton because she was inevitable, and it was time to elect a woman as president anyhow. Sit down, shut up and support Hillary Clinton – that’s the way we were hearing it from the pundits who have been preaching against any opposition to her candidacy. There’s two problems with that. First, who has the right to tell voters to accept a candidate before anyone else announces that they’re running? Sure, if she wins the nomination, I’ll vote for her in the general election, but shouldn’t I have a choice in the primaries? Second, not only do we want Bernie Sanders in this race, we need him in this race. From former Clinton counselor Bill Curry writing for Salon:
Sanders can teach today’s progressives how to be more like their forebears, who won elections and historic reforms by prosecuting their cases with fact and logic. Sanders is bright and articulate enough to pull it off. In so doing he could redefine what it means to be a candidate. He might even persuade a few folks that calculation and charisma count for less than intelligence, character and conviction.
Pundits say Sanders will drive Clinton to the left. Maybe so, but it would be enough to drive her to greater specificity. A shallow, malleable press drools over Clinton’s new populist patois, which thus far contains nothing by way of content. Her people say she’s bent on not repeating her 2008 campaign, but she seems more bent on replaying Obama’s. It’s just as big a mistake. (Source)
I certainly hope Bernie Sanders does win the nomination, but as I said before, faced with the choice of Hillary Clinton or a Republican in the White House, I’m obviously going to choose Hillary. I like Bernie Sanders because not only does he support getting money out of politics, he’s actually putting his money where his mouth is (no pun intended) by refusing to be part of a Super PAC or take any money from Wall Street – something Hillary hasn’t done.
Can she win when matched up with any of the potential Republican candidates? Sure she can, but don’t count out Bernie Sanders either. What’s more, Hillary Clinton does not do well when matched against Rand Paul but Bernie Sanders has the ability to win over many libertarians who don’t trust Rand Paul and would agree with Senator Sanders on issues like ending the War on Drugs, reducing military spending and ending domestic surveillance programs.
Bernie Sanders has been a progressive for his entire career and has shown that you don’t need massive amounts of money to win an election if you have a message that voters identify with. Hillary Clinton has a much shorter political career and is more of a center-right Democrat who voted to authorize the Iraq War, whereas Bernie Sanders voted against it. Ideally, a candidate should not only have a message that connects with the majority of voters, but they should be able to excite and energize the base as well – and nothing excites me less than being told that a candidate is inevitable and that I need to sit down, shut up, and support her.
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