Politics Magazine

My Thoughts On Bernie Sanders' Presidential Candidacy

Posted on the 30 April 2015 by Jobsanger
My Thoughts On Bernie Sanders' Presidential Candidacy (This caricature of Senator Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)
Let me preface my remarks here by saying that I love Senator Bernie Sanders. I think he is one of the two best senators in Washington (with the other being Elizabeth Warren). Bernie understands the problems of this country as well, if not better, than any other politician -- and he understands how those problems can be solved.
Many of my brothers and sisters on the left are celebrating the news that Bernie will announce today that he is a candidate for the presidency -- and will be running in the Democratic primary against Hillary Clinton. I have to admit that my first thought on hearing this news was to be against it. I din't like Bernie abandoning his independent status, and I thought his candidacy could split the party and give a Republican a better chance at winning the White House. But upon further thought, I have changed my mind. I now think his candidacy could be a good thing.
Some on the left believe Bernie's candidacy will force Hillary Clinton to the left. But that is not going to happen. Hillary has overwhelming support among rank-and-file Democrats. Bernie;s support has been around 6% in almost every poll. Even if you add in the Warren supporters, he doesn't top 20% -- and that is a long way from being a threat to Clinton's nomination. And Clinton will not be pressured to move further to the left until someone on the left has a much higher percentage of support than 20% (something approaching 50%).
But Bernie's candidacy could be advantageous in another way. It will show most Americans that she is not as far left as others in the Democratic Party -- and that will make her look even more like a moderate than she already looks. Whether those of us on the left (or our counterparts on the right) like it or not, most American voters are neither left nor right. They are moderates, and they want a president who is a moderate -- and it is those voters who will decide who wins the White House in 2016.
For me, the most important thing is to make sure a Republican extremist (and they are all extremists) doesn't win the presidency in 2016, and the second most important thing is to elect more Democrats to Congress. Hillary Clinton is the candidate who can most easily defeat the Republicans, and the candidate with the longest coattails.
To sum up, I love Bernie Sanders, and I welcome his entrance to the Democratic race for the nomination. But I will not vote for him. My support and my vote will go to Hillary Clinton -- and I urge others to do the same.

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