The Overlooked Quality That Bernie Sanders Has Brought to the 2016 Presidential Election

hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-debateNo one is going to ever mistake me for someone who’s a “Feel the Bern” kind of guy. It’s not that I don’t like Bernie Sanders, I just have some serious reservations about his ability to win in the general election and how effective he could actually be as president. As I’ve said since long before he announced he was running for president, in my opinion, Sanders is best suited for the Senate.

That being said, I would more than happily support him if he happens to win the Democratic nomination. I would fight for him through next November just as I would Hillary Clinton or Martin O’Malley.

As I’ve said repeatedly – above all else – 2016 must be about keeping Republicans out of the White House. There’s far too much at stake to play the game of, “I didn’t get my way, so I’m taking my ball and going home.”

Many people have said that even if Sanders doesn’t win, he’s been a huge benefit to the entire process for nothing more than the simple fact that he’s pushed Clinton more to the left. I think the benefit of Bernie Sanders as a presidential candidate goes beyond that.

Honestly, possibly the biggest asset I’ve seen from Sanders being a candidate is the professionalism that’s been present during these Democratic debates and, in turn, the entire primary process.

While he and Clinton clearly disagree on some issues, watching the Democratic debates is a joy from my perspective as an adult looking for a mature debate.

Watching the Republican primary is grueling. Not because I don’t enjoy a good train wreck now and again, but because of how infantile the whole process has been on that side of the political world.

From Donald Trump’s frequent Twitter hissy fits, to the spineless sociopath Ted Cruz spouting off his usual inane nonsense, the entire Republican party is in shambles right now. Every GOP presidential debate is like watching a bunch of juveniles desperately trying to one-up each other on the ridiculous scale.

Yet when Clinton and Sanders faced their toughest public test – a face to face debate the day after a large blowup concerning a data breach and the DNC temporarily suspending access to voting information to Sanders’ campaign – the two handled the entire situation beautifully.

The question was asked, Sanders apologized, Clinton thanked him for his apology and both candidates agreed it was time to move on and focus on issues that Americans cared about.

Instead of using the moment to wage some sort of pointless back and forth diatribe between both – which is what would have happened had this been a Republican debate – they realized nothing good could have come from such a petty public display and quickly moved on from the situation altogether.

And while I commend Clinton for holding up her end of this respectful back and forth between the two candidates, I’m willing to admit that Bernie Sanders has been the largest catalyst for the 2016 presidential primary being mostly focused on the issues. More so than anything else he’s done this presidential election, he’s helped remind the country what politics should be about – campaigns and debates focused on the issues, not petty personal attacks.

In a lot of ways, the whole process has brought out the best in each of these candidates.

Will we ever see another presidential primary like this? Who knows, but I certainly hope so. We need this type of mutual respect, professionalism and campaigning on the issues rather than fear mongering and name calling.

The maturity I’ve seen from the Democratic candidates thus far during this 2016 election cycle has made me extremely proud (more so than normal) to call myself a Democrat.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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