I Supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. Looking Back, I Wouldn’t do it Again

Before I had any real interest in politics, I was an anchor on my school’s news show, reporting on news I thought the student body should know about. Because of that, I spent a good deal of time researching the happenings of the world, way back in early 2015. At that time, we had begun to report on the 2016 presidential race, and so we were looking at the possible candidates (and those who had in fact declared their candidacy). From the start, we knew that Hillary Clinton was going to run. That was well known. And, before the email scandal, she looked like a great candidate who the entire party could get behind,

But one day, I watched a video of this old man with a strong Brooklyn accent announce his candidacy on the lawn outside the capitol in DC. He looked like a mad scientist, and had no one there to cheer him on other than his camera crew.

I was thrilled by Bernie, at first, because he was an independent running for president as a Democrat. It seemed so out of the ordinary and interesting to me. And when I learned about his policies, of fighting economic inequality, raising the minimum wage, making public college free and creating a universal healthcare system in the US, I was very ready to support him. I have Bernie to thank for my entrance to politics.

As I’ve mentioned before, I spent about a month and a half as a volunteer for Bernie’s campaign in Denver. It was a great experience, and I met some awesome people as we managed to get Bernie the win in the Colorado caucuses.

And now, 3 years later, I wouldn’t support him again.

I’ve moved progressively away from the far-left policies provided by Bernie. I don’t see a Universal Healthcare system as feasible for America anymore; instead, I support the Medicare-X plan proposed by Senators Tim Kaine (VA) and Michael Bennet (CO). I don’t necessarily think we should make 4-year public college free; instead, I’m more in favor of free community college, so that students can get critical workforce training first, and then transfer to a 4-year school later on. I don’t support huge minimum wage increases because I believe that it can lead to inflation and prevent a lot of lower-income people and young people from getting minimum wage earning jobs. (I do still like the tax the rich more part of his platform, however).

My problem with the Bernie wing of the Democratic party is that they are all about the base. We like to talk about how Trump plays to his base and doesn’t care about the rest of the voters. But the further left-leaning Democrats do just the same thing. The part of this country that doesn’t fall into either far side of the 2 party’s bases is the vast majority. So when we come up with a plan that energizes liberals, we’re alienating large groups of voters in the same way that Trump’s far-right policies energize those people.

My experience working for Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper this summer in the midst of the GOP attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act has made me a much larger fan of compromises that benefit more people. He worked hard alongside Ohio Governor John Kasich to push for a bipartisan healthcare solution as opposed to partisan options that angered a lot of people.

At the end of the day, people will always have extreme views. There will be senators and representatives that are on the far side of many issues and won’t want to take a compromise. But the way our government is set up is to make compromises. The constitution was created by a combination of compromises in order to get everyone on board. It has become problematic that there are people who would rather push issues that only a slim portion of Americans believe in as opposed to working to pass bipartisan solutions that can satisfy as much of the country as possible.

My concern with Bernie is that he’ll push far-left policies that will anger conservatives much more than Obama did. It’ll lead to further partisanship and division in the US. I want us to come back together, to heal, to become Americans again, not Democrats and Republicans.

So I won’t back Bernie if he runs again. I’ll back the candidate who wants to work towards compromise and finding solutions that support everyone (except for the uber-wealthy, they’re just fine).

Because without compromise, we’ll only get more angry.

I prefer happy people.

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