A year ago, a little known senator from Vermont threw his hat into the race for the presidential race on the Democratic side. I knew very little of Senator Sanders, and I wanted a competitive Democratic race because I wanted Secretary Clinton to be tested and pushed in the primaries so she could be prepared for the general election if she clinches the nomination. Similar to the 2008 primaries between then Senators Obama and Clinton, and how that primary helped Obama become a better campaigner during the general election against Senator McCain. Essentially, I was curious about this senator from Vermont. I knew he had been in the Senate for a long time, but that’s basically all I knew.
So when he started talking about free tuition and raising the minimum wage and focusing on the middle class, I was interested. I’m a progressive and I hadn’t heard anything along these lines from Secretary Clinton. Of course, I wanted her to make history by becoming the first female presidential candidate of a major party, but I was still very lukewarm about supporting her. I was worried that she wouldn’t care much about the people of color, and especially women of color, in terms of policy. At that time, she didn’t have many policy ideas out there for people of color. So I listened to the stump speeches of both candidates. I started to look up the various policy outlines both had put out, and compared them.
Honestly, I liked how Senator Sanders pushed Secretary Clinton towards the left a bit more than she was before. But as time went on, I started to notice something a bit odd. Senator Sanders kept saying the same slogans, without going into much depth during his speeches. Secretary Clinton did have a similar speech in each of her stops, but I noticed that she had more policy depth. She had more details in her proposals. I may not agree with her proposals 100% but I was pleased that she had details. It proved to me that she had thought that particular issue out and did her research before coming up with her proposal. I’m a scientist; I like making hypotheses based on data.
I kept waiting for details from Senator Sanders on his proposals, especially for the college tuition part. I kept waiting to see if he would explain how he would pay for it other than “making Wall Street pay their fair share”. Besides, what does that even mean? Is he going to revamp the entire tax code? What would the new tax code be based on? I kept waiting to see if he would talk about the people of color in the working and middle classes. Would he talk about how he would help them, and not just the white working class individuals? If he’s against all trade deals, then how would he deal with the ever growing connections between all corners of the globe? I kept waiting to see if he would talk about how he would break up the big banks. What would he replace it with? How would he actually go about breaking them up in the first place?
I kept seeing all of these potholes in his proposals, and I didn’t see any moves to actually address the gaps. So slowly, I started to realize that Sanders wasn’t all that he made himself to be. He’s not Obama, despite the fact that they both have very large crowds and energized the base. His support is very narrow — mostly white working class and young college students. He had been in the Senate for 30 years, but he doesn’t have many superdelegates supporting him. I found that odd. Logically, wouldn’t you try to build as large a network as possible when you’re in the Senate for that long? So wouldn’t you have more superdelegates supporting you? I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, so I didn’t buy the whole “Clinton bought all of the superdelegates which is why Sanders doesn’t have many yet” argument. Superdelegate support comes because the candidate has helped those superdelegates in their elections. The candidates either supported, endorsed, campaigned, or fundraised for those elected officials that are sup erdelegates. So I found it a bit odd that Senator Sanders didn’t have a big network. And that got me thinking about a possible President Sanders. If he doesn’t have the wholehearted support of the Democrats, then how would he possibly get anything done? Republicans won’t support anything a Democrat supports. That’s how partisan our politics has become. So realistically, the Democratic candidate should have the complete support of the Democrats in Congress. Otherwise, even less would get done.
At this time, I started to see similarities between Sanders and Trump. Politics aside, the demographics of the supporters of the two candidates are very similar. So at this point, I started to question myself: do I want a progressive in the Oval Office only to throw the chances to get things done into the wind? Do I want a progressive that focuses even less on people of color than Clinton? The way I saw it, Clinton listened to the founders of Black Lives Matter. Sanders didn’t. Clinton attempted to see how to help and put out policy proposals and continued the dialogue. Sanders didn’t.
Of course, the New Jersey primary wasn’t until June 7th, so I had time to make up my mind. But all of the enthusiasim that I had for Sanders had died. I stopped #feelingthebern. He didn’t satisfy the scientist side of me, and didn’t give me enough details and data based proposals. I don’t agree with a lot of things that Clinton has said or done, but I can see that she is a savvier politician because she is willing to compromise and work with people that don’t have the same ideals as her. That’s why she has such a large network and such a large support amongst the superdelegates. So my decision was based on logic and realistically looking at the future of Congress.
And I think Sanders did a great thing for the Democratic party in the sense that he forced the party platform to be more progressive and move away from the status quo. But now, it’s nearly time for the conventions. And Sanders is still technically in the race, even though Clinton has already clinched the nomination, mathematically. So I think it’s time for Sanders to be a gentleman and withdraw from the race and support Clinton to defeat Trump. Otherwise, he’s losing whatever leverage he has the longer he stays in the race. He’s changed the platform, he’s lost the nomination, so why is he still wasting taxpayer dollars on things like the Secret Service? It’s not right, and his actions now reek with hypocrisy after he’s accused officials for wasting taxpayer dollars on frivolous things.
Your time is up, Senator Sanders. It’s time to take the high road.