Can Bernie Sanders really be the next US president?

By: Daniel Grondin, Student Voices Writer

Bernie Sanders is fast becoming a serious candidate for US Democrat candidate for the 2016 US election. In a recent poll in Iowa, Sanders in ahead of main rival Hilary Clinton with a week to go to the Iowa caucus. So who is Senator Bernie Sanders, what does he stand for and, most importantly, does he have a realistic chance of winning the democratic candidacy and going on to become US president?

Bernie Sanders was born on September 8th 1941 in Brooklyn. His father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland and his mother was from the USA. He attended P.S. 197 elementary school. He then went to James Madison High School. During his time there, he participated in and lost his first election. Shortly after he graduated, his mother died aged 46. He then went to Brooklyn College before moving to the University of Chicago where he graduated from with a bachelor degree in political science. While at the university, Sanders began his involvement in political activism. He joined the Young People's Socialist League, and was active in the Civil Rights Movement as a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. In January 1962, Sanders led a rally at the University of Chicago administration building to protest the universities segregated campus housing policy. He began his political career in 1971 as a candidate for the Liberty Union. In 1979, after failing to be elected in Vermont over numerous elections, Sanders resigned from the party and worked for the American People's Historical Society. In 1891, Sanders ran for mayor of Burlington as an independent candidate and won, before doing so again on 3 more occasions. During his time in office, he described himself as a socialist. In 1988, Sanders ran for the U.S. Congress for the Vermont seat but came 2nd. He ran again 2 years later but, this time, he won. In 2005, he ran for US Senate. He won by a 2 to 1 margin. In 2012 he was re-selected. 

Despite a long career in politics, Bernie Sanders had never been part of either of the major parties (despite voting with the Democrats the majority of the time) and had never been near the top of the political pyramid. That changed on 30th April 2015 when he announced that he would be seeking the Democratic nomination for president. In his announcement speech, he highlighted the fact that "billionaires own the political process" in America and that he wanted to change that. It was a sign of things to come. Sanders stated that donations would only be accepted from individuals and not from large companies. He even turned down a donation from Big Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli (who infamously raised the price of a life saving drug by 5,000% overnightand instead gave it to a Washington health clinic. Within 24 hours, Sanders raised $1.5 million. That total doubled 3 days later. He became the first US 2016 presidential candidate to reach 1 million individual donations. On the 20th December 2015, his campaign reached 2.3 million donations, surpassing Barack Obama's record for highest number of donations to a presidential campaign. Sanders has also used social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, to his advantage by engaging with the electorate.

But what does Bernie Sanders stand for? On the political spectrum, he would be seen as left of centre. The issues he focuses on include income and wealth inequality, education fees, restoring democracy, creating a living wage, combating climate change, fighting for women's and LGBT rights and against racial injustice, making a fair immigration policy, caring for veterans, medical care for all, strengthen and expand social security, reforming Wall Street, improving infrastructure and developing a better foreign policy. He is most famous for fighting for causes such as LGBT and black rights way before his time, as well as often criticising Wall Street and large corporations for being the source of many of America's problems.

The big question is: Can Bernie Sanders really become the 45th president of the United States? To do so, he first needs to win the Democratic nomination. This is decided by the primaries which run from February to June. Then, on the week commencing 25th June 2016, the Democratic conference is held in Philadelphia and the nominee is decided there (using the primaries votes). His main rival is Hillary Clinton. Although she is more well-known on an international level, she represents the same old sort of politics to many whereas Sanders represents a change from the norm. Despite leading for a number of months, Clinton has fallen behind Sanders in the polls with the Iowa caucus right around the corner. Sanders has also appeared to come out of top in the Democrats TV debates. If he does win the Democratic nomination, he then has to face off against the Republican candidate in the presidential election. This appears to be either Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio. If he can win that election, he will become the president. In summary, Bernie Sanders may not come across as the next president and he still has some major hurdles to jump but, whisper it, he may just be the next president of the USA.
Can Bernie Sanders really be the next US president? Can Bernie Sanders really be the next US president? Reviewed by Admin on 20:33 Rating: 5


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