Since his narrow defeat by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 democratic primary, Bernie Sanders has not taken his eyes off his goals for the American people for a second. His new campaign has been marching on in force, determined to take the White House and give Americans a better future. Sanders has returned with a base that is far more diverse and powerful than before. His message resonates with young people, minorities and the working class because he is the only true progressive in the race and the only candidate with the guts and commitment to stick true to progressive values during four long years in office.
Bernie’s policy platform is progressive to its core. He is well known for his plan to make public college tuition-free and forgive all $1.6 trillion in student debt. The fight for education is still a priority for Sanders, but his leading policy this time around is Medicare for All, a proposal for single-payer healthcare that would guarantee medical care for all Americans at no cost. Medicare for All replaces halfhearted measures like Obamacare, and it does it with no copays, premiums or deductibles. Sanders is also a strong fighter against climate change, an issue that has risen to the very top of all progressive policy efforts. Sanders wrote the Green New Deal, a $16 trillion, decade long plan to modify the United States’ infrastructure and consumption patterns to be as environmentally conscious as possible. Bernie acknowledges climate change as the existential crisis it is and has a plan to address it.
Sanders’ proposals are expensive, but they will be paid for by another progressive policy: a wealth tax. Bernie proposes taxing net worth over $32 million by 1%, which has been projected to raise $4.36 trillion over 10 years. Sanders also intends to institute a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT) on Wall Street transactions. The FTT would tax bond transactions at 0.1% and stock transactions at 0.5%. This tax serves a dual purpose. First, it could generate up to $3 trillion over 10 years. Second, it would cut down the amount of speculation — a dangerous practice investors engage in that is credited with causing the Great Recession. Redistributing the wealth of the top 1% and curbing the recklessness of Wall Street are Sanders’ progressive priorities.
There is another frontrunner in the Democratic race being lauded as a progressive leader: Elizabeth Warren. Warren definitely stands out among the crowd of candidates due to her co-opting of much of Bernie’s platform including the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, Free College for All and a wealth tax, albeit, a weaker one. Unfortunately, Warren’s sincerity in her progressive views comes into question for two reasons: her consistency in her support for progressive values and her decision to accept corporate and PAC money in the general election.
Elizabeth Warren was a Republican until 1996, meaning she was a Republican during the Reagan and Bush Sr. administrations, presidents known for their die-hard conservative values. Warren is running on a platform very similar to Bernie’s but endorsed Hillary Clinton, the apotheosis of the centrist establishment wing of the Democratic Party, in the 2016 race. The case can be made that an individual’s politics can change and they should be given the benefit of the doubt. This is not the case with Warren. Warren has consistently voted in favor of Donald Trump’s war budgets and increases to Pentagon spending in the last two years, too recent to cut her any slack. Bernie voted no every time. Increasing military spending is not only a betrayal of progressive values, it gives money away that could be used for progressive causes. Warren, for much of the race, said that she would take money from corporations, Wall Street and Super PACs during the general election. Bernie will not, and has repeatedly said so. These are the same people she claims to want to take on and hold accountable in her presidency. She has backpedaled on that position, but says she will still support corporate donations to the DNC. Elizabeth Warren and her party cannot take on the greed of Wall Street and the insurance industry if she is on their bankroll.
Bernie Sanders is a fighter for progressive values and always has been. His track record is flawless. Bernie was arrested at civil rights demonstrations in the 60s, criticized Reagan’s interventionist and corporation favoring policies throughout the 80s and declared LGBT pride days during his mayorship, his first political position he won in 1981. He is consistent and powerful in his support of those in society who have been downtrodden by our current systems.
Sanders isn’t taking corporate money and never will, one of the most important stances necessary for accomplishing substantive reform. His policy platform is purely progressive and proposes progressive tax reform to pay for it. Bernie outshines every other “progressive” in this race and is the only option for those who want to see real change.