Kevin Moye | Staff Writer
The 2020 election cycle is starting to pick up speed and with it comes the revealing of the Democratic Party’s talent pool. This pool of potential candidates is already shaping up to be the most diverse in the history of our country. The field contains more women and people of color than ever before, some with intersecting identities that make the group even more historic.
While I am highly impressed by the diversity of the field this year, I have become increasingly disappointed by the narrative surrounding one candidate in particular: Bernie Sanders. A surface-level look at Sanders would lead one to believe that he is the prototypical old, white male candidate, but his underlying policy plans prove that this cannot be farther from the truth.
The trope of him being just another old, white man running for president is a gross mischaracterization of who Bernie Sanders actually is. Characterizing Sanders as simply a white guy undermines his actual identity of being a Jewish man with family ties that were deeply impacted by the Holocaust. To call him just a white guy erases this Jewish heritage which Sanders proudly wears. A Sanders victory would be historic in its own right as he would be both the first ever Jewish president and presidential nominee.
When it comes to policy, Sanders is still far and away the best candidate in the field. His initial run for the presidency in 2016 arguably initiated the current tide of progressive politics that have manifested since the beginning of the Trump presidency. Once thought of as “pie-in-the-sky” policies like universal healthcare and free access to higher education have become hallmarks of many Democrat platforms.
One of the biggest challenges the senator faced in his 2016 presidential bid was capturing the black vote during the primaries. Sanders handily lost the South to Hillary Clinton as a result of his inability to appeal to black voters in the region. The senator has reconciled with many problems his 2016 campaign faced in attaining the black vote which comprised of diversifying his staff and putting an extra emphasis on achieving racial equality in addition to economic inequality. As a result of these direction changes, Sanders is now the second most popular candidate among black voters falling behind only Joe Biden.
Rival candidates like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren are certainly appealing when looking at the diverse perspectives they bring coupled with their left-leaning platforms; however, the policies that Sanders advocates for still appear to be the most uplifting for the black and millennial communities. Sanders continues to campaign on a platform that finally sheds light on some of the most marginalized communities in our society.
Harris has already drawn the ire of many progressive voters for her policies she advocated for during her time as California’s district attorney. Her recalcitrance in legalizing marijuana within the state as well as her truancy laws which disproportionately impacted low-income families of color are evidence of a problematic legislative record. Cory Booker has also been scrutinized for his close connections with In 2014, it was reported that Booker received the most Wall Street funding of any other Senate candidate that year. Black Americans have taken note of the questions surrounding these two, with Harris and Booker polling at 14 percent and 6 percent among black voters behind Sanders’ 28 percent.
As the Democratic candidates encounter more questioning of their issues, it becomes increasingly clear the Sanders leads the pack as the champion for leftist politics. After four years of nauseating far-right politics taking the helm in our country, it is time we shift the country radically towards the left. Bernie Sanders is just the candidate capable of bringing our country the radical change it needs to heal from its history of injustice and inequality.