Bernie Sanders’ cross-generational appeal stems from one major thing — authenticity.
This authenticity comes across not only in style with his classic comments about bailing out Main Street instead of Wall Street or writing the damn bill, but more importantly, in substance.
Sanders has galvanized a movement of not only young people who are historically disinterested in politics, but of working people from all walks of life and of retired people — groups that typically don’t align politically.
Sanders’ Medicare for All platform has broad appeal in a country where millions of Americans are uninsured or under-insured. By some estimates, Medicare for All would save an average of 67,000 lives per year.
Sanders inspires in ways that other candidates don’t because not only is he saying these things, he has been doing something about them. As one person, he has managed to make real inroads.
Whether with striking workers from Verizon, General Motors, the University of California or Disneyland, Sanders walks his talk and gets results.
His track record in the Senate also reflects that. As a senator he fought tirelessly to expand benefits to service members through the Veterans Affairs Bureau — when cuts were proposed Bernie fought back and won. He also is the candidate with the most contributions from members of the military.
From disastrous foreign policy like the Iraq War to disastrous trade policy like NAFTA, Sanders has consistently been on the right side of history.
In 2003, five years before the financial collapse when Alan Greenspan, then Chairman of the Federal Reserve, effectively said that everything in the economy was rosy Sanders said that wasn’t the case for the average American.
“The millionaires and billionaires are the exception to the rule, you talk about an improving economy while we have lost three million private sector jobs in the last two years,” Sanders said.
Even on issues that were once considered controversial like gay rights and civil rights Sanders has been consistently on the same side, unlike his opponent former Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden voted for The Defense of Marriage Act while Sanders opposed it. Biden has been criticized for his handling of bussing while in the Senate. A decade earlier, Bernie led a sit-in with his college when it was discovered that off-campus buildings owned by the university were refusing to rent to black students.
On issue after issue Sanders' record checks out. That is a rarity among politicians.
In an age of skepticism and hyper partisanship fueled by cable news networks, peddling opinion as news, Sanders is a true outlier. He is a politician who means what he says and does what he means and who has also managed to reach across the aisle.
Sanders has come forward as the first major presidential candidate to propose legalizing marijuana nationally along with overturning marijuana convictions. According to Sanders, these measures could save billions of dollars spent on incarceration that would be better spent on education.
Sanders, now in his second presidential bid, has received more single donations than any other candidate in history, as of Jan. 2, 2020, Time magazine reported that Sanders had received 5 million individual donations and that according to his campaign, almost all donors can give again if they wanted to.
Sanders clearly has broad support, and I believe this makes him the people’s choice.
Unfortunately, the media likes to portray him as a socialist without making a clear distinction between socialism and democratic socialism — think Cuba versus Denmark. One country has capitalism with a strong social safety net the other has a system built with little commerce, a strong black market and not a lot of economic mobility. Both countries have greater life expectancies than the United States.
The main difference between Sanders and other politicians is that, yes, he gives a damn about people.
He comes from humble beginnings, the son of Polish immigrants, grew up in a rent-controlled 3 1/2 room apartment in Brooklyn and he is uniquely qualified to represent the people because he’s lived in our shoes.
Anyone who wants meaningful structural change in America in a way that will benefit working people, students, immigrants, people of color and anyone not born into privilege will benefit from voting for Sanders. Those whose main concern is beating Trump should also vote for Sanders because he has proven to be the candidate with the most stamina, popular ideas, popular support and in poll after poll he beats Trump.