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Analysis of Bernie Sanders in 2016 Presidential Campaign

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Bernie Sanders (Bernard Sanders) was a member in the House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007 when he was elected to represent Vermont in the Senate. Even though he is not a member of any political party (independent), Bernie Sanders sought the Democratic Party`s nomination in the us presidential elections of 2016 and recently in 2020 elections.

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In 2016 presidential elections, Bernie Sanders was the runner up in Democratic Party`s nomination out of six candidates. He won 46% of the pledged delegates while Hillary Clinton received 54% and thus became the Democratic Party`s nominee. Even though we might argue that he lost, he proved to be popular with numerous voters, especially younger Democrats. So, the question arises – how did he succeed in doing that? Much of the Sander`s campaign focused on domestic issues. He was pro universal health care, free tuition at public universities and colleges and tax increases on wealthy. American values that he supported the most were equality

Equality is a big issue he put a lot of effort in. He strongly opposed the income and wealth inequality, wage gap and gay rights. During his campaign, he said:

What we have seen is that while the average person is working longer hours for lower wages, we have seen a huge increase in income and wealth inequality, which is now reaching obscene levels. … This is a rigged economy, which works for the rich and the powerful, and is not working for ordinary Americans.

His stance on LGBTQ+ community has been supportive throughout the decades. In 1996 he voted against the Defence of Marriage Act, while his home state of Vermont was the first to legalize same-sex unions in 2000, and gay marriage in 2009, both of which Sanders actively supported. After the Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in June 2015, Sanders said: ‘For far too long our justice system has marginalized the gay community, and I am very glad the court caught up to the American people.’

Among the other claims concerning this cause, he also assured the general public that in case he is elected, he would:

  • Strongly oppose any legislation that purports to “protect” religious liberty at the expense of others’ rights.
  • Ensure LGBTQ+ people have comprehensive health insurance without discrimination from providers.

In his speech at the Grand Valley State University in Allendale he also talked about the wage gap as a part of inequality problem:

And this campaign is listening to women. And what we are hearing from women is why is it happening that they are sitting in an office making 79 cents on a dollar compared to a man in that office. You and I know that has nothing to do with economics and has everything to do with sexism. (Sanders 0:06)

Sanders did not shy away from sensitive topics either. Speaking on the issues of race inequality, Sanders said:

It is an obscenity that we stigmatize so many young Americans with a criminal record for smoking marijuana, but not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy. This must change. We must address the lingering unjust stereotypes that lead to the labeling of black youths as ‘thugs.’ We know the truth that, like every community in this country, the vast majority of people of color are trying to work hard, play by the rules and raise their children. It’s time to stop demonizing minority communities.

He supported the end of discrimination against black and brown Americans in legal, economic, political and physical senses.

Furthermore, Sanders proposed the idea of tuition free higher education, as the education is the “equalizer” in a modern society. By giving everyone the education, people would have more equal opportunities in their early careers. Not having to pay for college would allow more young people to also have the liberty to pursue majors they are actually interested in, not only those who have the best chance to pay off student loans as quickly as possible.

Universal healthcare was one of the biggest points of his campaign. He believed that the only right and functional way for healthcare is to go single-payer. He was also advocating decreasing the price of drugs, pointing out that other countries have the same exact medicine but sold as generics rather than patented, overpriced medicines in US. By making healthcare more affordable, Americans would have gained the equal rights for medical attention, treatment and care.

With high level of equality in the nation, a core American value gets promoted – unity. If everyone is equal, people feel united, thus, safer.

On the issues of liberty, Sanders was critical of U.S. government global surveillance policies. He voted against the Patriot Act and was strongly criticizing warrantless wiretapping of phone, email and browsing history records of Americans.

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While protecting liberty in terms of privacy, Sanders had a very much different opinion on gun policies. He supported banning semi-automatic weapons and closing a controversial “gun show loophole”. On the other hand, he is in favor of instant background checks for gun owners.

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