Until Bernie Sanders exploded into the 2016 presidential campaign, the common consensus was that the race would come down to Hillary Clinton facing off against Jeb Bush in the general election. While Hillary Clinton still leads many Democratic polls, Jeb Bush has struggled to gain any traction in the Republican field which has been dominated by Donald Trump’s ultra-nationalist and increasingly racist campaign.
Hillary Clinton has tried (with mixed success) to balance her message between establishment Democratic policies and the increasingly popular message of Bernie Sanders that has resounded solidly with younger, more progressive voters like myself. Now, readers of Time Magazine have overwhelmingly picked the senator from Vermont as their choice for the magazine’s Person of the Year.
Via The Hill:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) currently leads online polling for Time magazine’s 2015 Person of the Year, with less than two weeks to go before voting ends.
The Democratic presidential candidate, a self-described democratic socialist, leads among the magazine’s readers with 11.2 percent of the overall vote in the survey.
The magazine’s editors pick the Person of the Year, though anyone can weigh in online.
Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist Malala Yousafzai is the current runner-up at 4.8 percent, followed by global luminaries Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Pope Francis and President Obama. (Source)
It shouldn’t be a surprise that Bernie Sanders is so popular online. Currently, he has more fans on Reddit than any other presidential candidate and his calls for raising the minimum wage and addressing income inequality have the attention of younger voters. This message is a welcome change for those of us who have watched many Democrats become entirely too comfortable with Wall Street, and the corporations who took us into the last recession.
Even if Bernie Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic presidential nomination, he has shifted the political dialogue in the party to issues that likely would have been overlooked, and energized people who may not have participated otherwise. As much as Clinton supporters lament his candidacy, it’s a safe bet that most of the folks who support Sanders aren’t planning on voting for any of the Republican contenders – especially Donald Trump or Ben Carson.
America has a choice to make. We can choose the progressive politics of Bernie Sanders, or we can go further down the dark, nativist and xenophobic road that the GOP and Donald Trump offers us. Yes, it’s great that Bernie Sanders may make the cover of Time Magazine, but simple Internet popularity isn’t going to change much unless the same people get off their computers and smartphones, and vote in 2016.
We can choose to go forward, or we can abandon the American Dream and prosperity for people other than 1% in favor of the hysterical and racist rhetoric espoused by the Republican Party. It’s up to us to make a change, and voters who remain apathetic have nobody else but themselves to blame.
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