On Feeling the Bern

Bernie Sanders is a dream-come-true for most of us progressive gen-Ys. An Independent, seasoned Senator who challenges corporate greed and addresses the pressing problems that plague lower and middle-class Americans? He marched in solidarity with Martin Luther King, Jr., for goodness sake. It’s hard not to jump on the bandwagon. Especially with all those Bernie’s face-and-quote pictures floating around social media.

Although I agree with Bernie Sanders on nearly every front, I was skeptical to throw my support behind him when his popularity exploded over this summer. Most of the peers (my peers being 20-something Portlandians) seemed to have some idealized dream of Bernie that he could fix all of our nation’s problems. Many of my friends had chosen to support Bernie Sanders because of a single quote or article they encountered on Facebook or Twitter. I was suspicious that Bernie was making a lot of appealing promises without proposing actual mapped-out plans.

I attended the Bernie Sanders rally in Portland, Oregon, with 20,000 of my fellow Portlandians. I cheered and yelled when he spoke about combating wealth inequality and getting big money out of politics. He was literally reading my mind when he said that progressive Americans should “reclaim family values” and ensure that paid sick leave and access to contraceptives should be ubiquitous.

Despite my admiration for essentially everything Bernie Sanders stands for, I do not think he should be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 election. It is unlikely if not impossible for a self- proclaimed Socialist to become the next President of the United States. If Bernie gets the nomination, I fear that, no matter how related-to-George-W.-Bush the Republican nominee is, that person will win the election.

Another consideration is the lack of corporate support. The unfortunate reality is that having ties in Big Ag and Wall Street is beneficial to a presidential candidate’s campaign. Jeb Bush is essentially bought and paid for by the military, and that much internal power is a force to be reckoned with.

I support Bernie Sanders’ platform, but I support Hillary Clinton as the next President. She has, after all, already been the President (they were called “Billary” for a reason). I think she knows what the job entails. More importantly, she is familiar with the barriers and shortcuts to implementing actual change in our nation. She has the tools necessary and I have no doubt that she is the most qualified candidate.

Bernie’s promises are tantalizing, but Hillary’s experience is what our country needs.

It certainly doesn’t need the risk of a Republican president.