Column: Prepare to ‘feel the Bern’ in the primary

Alex Seidler, Staff Reporter

This Tuesday the Democratic voters of Illinois will have a choice to nominate a candidate that has fought for the American people since he was a college student himself. He even has the courage to finance his campaign with donations from strictly the middle and working class unlike most politicians who take donations from big corporations.

This candidate’s main issues include fighting for pharmaceutical medications, Universal Health Care, breaking up Too-Big-To-Fail Banks and probably the most controversial even among liberals, free college tuition. He has also held positions as Mayor of Burlington, Senator of Vermont and was one of the first independents elected to U.S. House of Representatives. This candidate is Bernie Sanders.

Free college tuition sounds unrealistic to most, but did you know the U.S. is one of the few major countries in the world that doesn’t have this? Countries like Germany, France, Brazil, Slovenia and more all have free higher education. He said he would do this by raising taxes on Wall Street, which consists of some of the highest earning people in the country and those who caused the 2008 stock market crash.

In a report by Bloomberg Markets, the Wall Street Bailout in 2008 cost the government $7.7 trillion which is almost equivalent to half the current deficit. Sanders said he would work to break up these banks so the money would go to things that matter to the public like education and healthcare.

The problem with Hillary Clinton is she is not trustworthy or consistent with her stances on issues. She supported the invasion of Iraq in 2003 until 2007, supported the 2008 Wall Street Bailout, did not fully support gay marriages until around 2010, and supported the Patriot Act in 2001 until 2005, which has led to massive amounts of freedoms being broken. Bernie Sanders has not changed his views on issues to support his political agenda which Clinton has been proven to do (even though she denies it).

But aside from stances on issues what really separates Sanders from Hillary is that he is the Democratic Party’s only chance of beating Donald Trump in the presidential election.

Trump’s strengths lie in his ability to discredit and ostracize his competitors’ through attacking their weaknesses. He is ferocious in his attacks and does not stop until he’s already won over the crowd. Clinton’s biggest flaw is when she is questioned about her campaign contributions from big corporations, which she receives over $2 million in speech funds, she can’t deflate the fact that she is indebted to them.

For example, Clinton has made it clear that one of her goals will be to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies who charge customers high prices for their prescription medicines. But Clinton’s campaign accepted $164,315 from drug and medical device industries.

Also, another issue she said she would tackle is breaking up “Too-Big-To-Fail Banks.” She said, “We can’t go back to the days when Wall Street could write its own rules.” While a strong point, the fact is she has received millions from big banks such as JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and more. So how can she stand up to these big banks and pharmaceuticals when she couldn’t have gotten where she is without them?

Sanders presses on this issue consistently because he only accepts contributions from the middle and working class related organizations and he knows it will be difficult to serve the people if you can’t stand up to these corporations. Trump will attack her for this because it makes her look hypocritical. With Sanders, however, there isn’t much to expose about him considering he’s made all his views known since he first came into politics.

The biggest problem people have with Sanders is that he is too idealistic. However, the question to answer then is who you would rather take a chance on.

Would it be an idealistic candidate who is only indebted to the middle and working class who has proven he’ll fight his hardest on every issue and put the American people first over politics or a “realistic” politician who was a conservative then moderate and only just recently became a progressive who changes her views when it works for her interest and can be leveraged by the rich?

Also, who do you think has the best chance at defeating Trump?

Alex Seidler is a junior mass communication major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].