Dan Brook states his 52 Reasons to Support Bernie Sanders for President
Editor’s Note: I once again want to encourage those who support Hillary, or Jill Stein, or other candidates, to write articles for us about why they do so. We don’t endorse any candidate or political party–can’t because we are a non-profit–but we will publish smart articles from many different perspectives on the election. If we keep on getting mainly pro-Bernie, we may have to stop publishing anything because this tilt may give the appearance of us endorsing a candidate, which we don’t do.–Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor Tikkun RabbiLerner.firstname.lastname@example.org
52 Righteous Reasons to Support Progressive Bernie Sanders Over Establishment Hillary Clinton and the Regressive Republicans
There are many vast and critical differences when you compare progressive Bernie to moderate Hillary and the regressive GOP. Here are 52 righteous reasons to support Bernie Sanders for President. There are undoubtedly others.
1. If you like the Walmart Corporation (with its union busting, racial and sexual discrimination, aggressive outsourcing, low pay, wage theft, super exploitation, destruction of small businesses, business manipulation, environmental destruction, etc.), you’ll love Hillary Clinton! She was on its Board of Directors for 6 years (1986-1992), only leaving to become First Lady. She has many other big corporate friends, as well (e.g., Goldman Sachs and Wall Street, Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Banks, Corporate Mass Media, MIC). Bernie calls Walmart out for its misdeeds, is adamantly against corporations that are too big to fail, that avoid taxes and don’t pay their fair share, that rip off workers and consumers, that defraud the government, and that have too much power in Washington.
2. Hillary and most Republicans are also too close with Monsanto and uncritically support GMOs; Hillary hired Monsanto lobbyists for her campaign. Bernie supports labeling GMOs to give consumers more informed choices and to keep us safe, while also supporting more organic agriculture, family farms, and a sustainable food system and environment.
3. Hillary and most Republicans support the death penalty, with all its many problems. Bernie wants to abolish the death penalty, making the U.S. more civilized, as has been done in most other advanced countries.
4. Hillary and most Republicans supported the privacy-invading Patriot Act and the disastrous war in Iraq, which cost so many lives and so much money, spreading terrorism and giving rise to ISIS. Hillary referred to the Iraq War as “a business opportunity”, recently calling her decision a “mistake”; that is not the kind of foreign policy experience and judgment we need. Courageously voting against it, Bernie refers to the disastrous Iraq War as a major foreign policy blunder that shouldn’t be repeated.
5. Unlike Hillary and most Republicans, Bernie showed judgment and courage by vociferously opposing the privacy-invading Patriot Act, opposing NSA spying on Americans and supporting whistleblower Edward Snowden, and opposing both Iraq wars, as well as opposing military intervention in Libya and Syria, clearly stating that war should be the last resort and that the Iraq War was an unmitigated disaster built on lies, which resulted in many deaths and disabilities, much destruction, trillions of dollars wasted, a suppression of civil rights, the spread of Al Qaida and terrorism, and the creation of ISIS. Hillary’s “experience” has not done us any favors, to say the least, while Bernie’s experience has been invaluable.
6. Hillary and most Republicans support a major air and/or ground war with American ground troops against ISIS in a variety of countries. Bernie opposes the philosophy of endless war that creates many more problems than it solves. Bernie supports limited military engagement within a broad international coalition with Muslim countries playing a major role in terms of combat and finance. Bernie believes war should be a last resort, that our actions shouldn’t lead to worse results, and that we shouldn’t fight if we’re not willing to take care of our veterans afterward. While Bernie has often been anti-war, he’s always been dedicated to taking care of veterans and our homeland.
7. Hillary and most Republicans don’t say much about ending racism; too often, quite the contrary. Hillary’s record on race has been called “abysmal” by a leading #BlackLivesMatter activist; Republicans are even worse. Refreshingly, Bernie often speaks out about the “ugly stain of racism” as well as xenophobia, Islamophobia, immigrant-bashing, refugee refusal, voter suppression, mass incarceration, police abuse, the war on drugs, the criminal injustice system, immigration reform, unemployment, wage gaps based on race and sex, rollbacks of affirmative action, and discrimination based on race, sex, and sexuality, and Bernie has declared that we need to “end institutional racism”. Bernie has a very strong record on civil rights as well as a very strong platform on racial justice. Bernie is willing to say that #BlackLivesMatter and to invoke Sandra Bland and #SayHerName.
8. Hillary and most Republicans oppose granting asylum to child refugees fleeing violence in Central America. Hillary coldly stated “they should be sent back”. Bernie said “The U.S. has always been a haven for the the oppressed. Is there any group more vulnerable than children?” Bernie is the only candidate who compassionately supports asylum for refugees, supports a path to citizenship for undocumented residents, supports DACA & DAPA, supported the Senate’s 2013 immigration bill, supports comprehensive immigration reform (CIR), and supports fair wages and good working conditions for all workers regardless of status. While Hillary supported a border fence/wall, Bernie opposed it.
9. Hillary and many Republicans are too close to Rupert Murdoch and #FauxNews. Murdoch supported Hillary’s senatorial campaign, hosted a fundraiser for her, and said he would be fine with her as president. Bernie is his nemesis and Bernie is proud of it.
10. Hillary and most Republicans oppose the legalization of marijuana and agricultural hemp. Bernie supports it as part of criminal justice reform, saying that people shouldn’t go to jail for simply smoking a joint. Bernie is sensitive to the fact that the War on Drugs has mostly been a war on the poor and people of color, costing billions of dollars and ruining people’s lives, while ignoring important issues. Bernie also supports the legalization of agricultural hemp. Ending the War on Drugs would not only raise a lot of tax money, but would also save huge government spending on surveillance, arrests, trials, and mass incarceration. Bernie has also supported the legalization of medicinal marijuana and believe that marijuana should be removed from the schedule of the most dangerous drugs.
11. Hillary and the Republicans don’t say much about raising the minimum wage to a living wage (wealthy Hillary suggests $12 an hour or $24,000 per year for a full-time worker is enough). Bernie marches with strikers and picketers, actively supporting unions and very clearly and repeatedly saying that he wants to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and that no one who works full time should live in poverty. Bernie also supports making it easier to unionize, facilitating worker co-ops, and would create millions of new high-paying jobs by fixing the nation’s infrastructure.
12. Hillary and most Republicans don’t have plans to make public colleges and universities free for all qualified students, while Bernie believes that no one who is qualified and desirous should be denied the opportunity to pursue higher education because they can’t afford it and he plans to pay for this with a small tax on Wall Street and/or a small cut in military spending.
13. Hillary and most Republicans have super-secret SuperPACs, which raise money from millionaires and billionaires. Bernie doesn’t have one, doesn’t want one, and and is the only candidate who opposes the billionaires buying our elections. SuperPACs undermine democracy and Bernie actively opposes the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision giving big corporations and the billionaires undue influence to pervert our system for their greedy ends.
14. Hillary and the Republicans are unwilling to make the necessary investments in maintaining, repairing, and rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, the physical backbone of the country. Bernie advocates investing $1 trillion to maintain, repair, and rebuild crumbling infrastructure all around America (e.g. our roads, highways, tunnels, bridges, levees, airports, sea ports, parks, playgrounds, picnic areas, hospitals, schools, libraries, housing, community centers, recreation areas, beaches, monuments, lighting, signage, public transportation, broadband internet, etc.), thereby strengthening it for this and future generations, while creating millions of good jobs and significantly boosting our economy.
15. Hillary and the Republicans opposed marriage equality and supported the discriminatory DADT and DOMA. Bernie is a long-time advocate of same-sex marriage and full LGBT rights, being opposed to DADT, DOMA, and all forms of bullying, discrimination, and injustice. Bernie supported ENDA, VAWA, reproductive health and freedom, pay equity, and actively supports Planned Parenthood, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), the Equality Act, paid parental leave, and paid sick leave.
16. Hillary and the Republicans are opposed to single-payer universal healthcare, allowing private corporations to profit and people to be priced out of the healthcare market, as tens of millions of Americans still are, even with the improvements that Obamacare has brought. Bernie enthusiastically supports single-payer universal healthcare by advocating Medicare-for-All and proposes paying for it with a small tax on Wall Street speculation, which would lead to full coverage for all, better health outcomes, longer lives, less suffering, less anxiety, fewer personal bankruptcies, and economic efficiency.
17. Hillary and the Republicans are opposed to expanding Social Security to lift more senior citizens and others out of poverty. Bernie seeks to expandSocial Security for all recipients, paying for that by removing the unfair cap on payroll taxes for high income earners (currently benefiting only those individuals who earn above $118,500 per year), which would also guarantee the solvency of Social Security for a much longer time.
18. Hillary and the Republicans ignore the plight of poor people and their need for banks to cash their checks and receive loans to get them through cash-strapped times, often forcing them to pay usurious fees and high interest rates to predatory businesses. Bernie supports allowing the U.S. Postal Service to get back into the small banking business, as it once was, to help remedy these problems by allowing for check cashing, bill paying, and small loans.
19. Hillary and many Republicans collect a huge amount of campaign contributions from Wall Street and giant corporations. Their donor lists are littered with mega-corporations and billionaires, illustrated by the fact that about 158 families have contributed nearly half of all campaign contributions to the 2016 presidential election to date. Hillary is the top choice of candidates among millionaires. Bernie has raised most of his money from actual people sharing small amounts of their hard-earned incomes to support an independent, fair-minded, caring candidate whoalways puts people before profits. Bernie is not beholden to anyone and is “Not for Sale!”
20. Hillary and most Republicans are willing to let Wall Street police itself, which we know doesn’t work and won’t work. While Hillary told Wall Street to “cut it out”, Bernie wants to jail Wall Street crooks, break up corporations that are too big to fail, not include Wall Street bankers in his Cabinet, and put a small tax on financial speculation by the wealthy that makes our economy too volatile and use that revenue for universal healthcare and tuition-free public colleges and universities. While Hillary supported the Wall Street bailout, saying that the banks were “the biggest winners”, Bernie opposed it. Bernie believes that it’s time for Wall Street to finally bail out Main Street, instead of the business-as-usual, top-down, gross economic inequality supported by Hillary and most Republicans.
21. Hillary and the Republicans support the continued overuse of fossil fuels. Hillary was silent on the Canadian Keystone XL tar sands pipeline until finally coming out against it. Bernie has been opposed to the dirty oil and dirty politics of KXL since day one, immediately realizing how disastrous it was and voting against it. While Hillary and most Republicans support dangerous and highly-polluting fracking, Bernie supports the banning of all fracking and all fossil fuel extraction on federal land, opposes Arctic oil drilling, opposes offshore oil drilling, opposes the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, opposes the Bakken pipeline, opposes billion-dollar subsidies to the oil industry, supports a revenue-neutral carbon price, and supports shifting our country to safe, clean, renewable energies and national energy independence to fight global warming, boost the economy, make America stronger and healthier, make us less reliant on foreign dictators, and bring us into a prosperous, sustainable future with millions of green jobs.
22. Hillary and most Republicans supported NAFTA & the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which as Secretary of State Hillary called the “gold standard” of so-called trade deals before recently pulling back from it (though even many of her supporters concede she would likely flip back to supporting it, if elected, just as she did with the Colombian free trade deal). Bernie has been opposed to NAFTA, CAFTA, TPP, TTIP, TISA, and other so-called free trade deals for big corporations since the very beginning, showing sound judgment, a deep commitment to workers and the environment, decisiveness, consistency, strong leadership, and integrity.
23. Hillary and the Republicans are perfectly fine with private prisons, while Hillary collects a lot of campaign contributions from private prison corporations with their major conflicts of interest. Bernie wants to abolish private prisons and shut down private detention centers, saying that corporations should not be profiting from crime and mass incarceration.
24. Hillary and most Republicans oppose reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial and investment banking from 1933, in response to the Great Depression, to 1999, before the Great Recession. Bernie supports Glass-Steagall to protect us from another fraudulent financial debacle that led to the Great Recession and the massive public bail out of big banks and other big corporations, which Hillary supported and Bernie opposed. Bernie opposed removing Glass-Steagall before the Great Recession and supports reinstating it ASAP, doing everything he can to prevent another Great Recession.
25. Hillary and most Republicans seem delighted and way-too-eager to cater to the top 1%, the multi-millionaires and billionaires as well as the giant corporations that disproportionately control our political and economic systems. In stark contrast, Bernie has for decades championed the needs of the poor, working class, and middle class of America, supporting the desperate and legitimate need of the 99% over the unrestrained and immoral greed of the 1%, passionately and consistently advocating and implementing plans and policies to do so.
26. Hillary and the Republicans don’t support expanding voting rights and making it easier for allcitizens to vote. Bernie supports universal suffrage, supports automatic voter registration, supportsexpanding the Voting Rights Act, supports Election Day being a federal holiday called Democracy Day, supports ex-felons not being permanently disenfranchised, supports Instant Runoff Voting for electoral efficiency and fairness, supports overturningCitizens United so billionaires can’t buy our elections, supports the Disclose Act, supports his Democracy Is For People amendment, supports reining in partisan gerrymandering, and supports the eventual public funding of elections, demanding that our government represent we the people.
27. Hillary and most Republicans support mandatory minimum sentencing, which ties the hands of judges and leads to more people being imprisoned for longer sentences than anywhere else in the world. Bernie opposes mandatory minimum sentences and seeks to reduce mass incarceration. Bernie also wants to reinstate federal parole.
28. While Hillary and most Republicans supported the privacy-invading SOPA, PIPA, and CISA, Bernie opposed those internet censorship bills. Bernie believes net neutrality is “absolutely imperative”.
29. While Hillary and most Republicans supported NDAA, which gave the military power to indefinitely detain even American citizens without due process or trial, Bernie opposed it, sticking up for people, the Constitution, and the rule of law.
30. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie wants to cap exorbitant ATM fees and to cap usurious credit card interest rates to reduce big bank exploitation of ordinary Americans. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans who work for the big corporations, Bernie works for the American people.
31. Unlike Hillary and most Republicans, Bernie wants to reform the Federal Reserve Bank. Bernie thinks the Fed should be less corporate, more democratic, more representative, and more fair for American people, not just American banks and banksters.
32. As much as Hillary and most Republicans like to appear tough on crime, they opposed the prosecution of torturers, while Bernie opposed amnesty for torturers and supports prosecuting people accused of the heinous crime of torture.
33. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie has promised to not allow fossil fuel and Wall Street lobbyists or executives into his administration.
34. Hillary and most Republicans voted for George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) debacle, which more and more Democrats and Republicans are abandoning, and so many schools despise, while Bernie voted against it and continued to vigorously oppose it. Instead of NCLB’s authoritarian one-size-fits-all emphasis on repeated high-stakes testing and punishment, Bernie supports a more holistic education, allowing teachers more flexibility and providing students more support, with a greater emphasis on problem solving, critical thinking, and teamwork.
35. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie is opposed to the unfair funding scheme for schools, whereby rich neighborhoods are likely to have rich schools and poor neighborhoods are likely to have poor schools, thereby reproducing wealth and poverty as well as racism. Bernie supports more progressive and equitable funding for all schools, so all students could have equal opportunity for learning and success.
36. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie is the only candidate who’s a member of the Autism Caucus. Bernie co-sponsored the Assistive Technology Act, co-sponsored the Expand Tricare Coverage of Autism Amendment, and secured billions of dollars to increase coverage for those on the autistic spectrum.
37. Hillary and the Republicans voted for the bankruptcy bill that was favored by the credit card and banking companies. While it penalized ordinary Americans, it exempted some big money interests, which helped pave the way for the financial disaster that led to the Great Recession for which no one on Wall Street was indicted, let alone jailed. Obama said that this bill “put the interests of those banks and financial institutions ahead of the interests of the American people.” Bernie, of course, sided with regular people and voted against this bill.
38. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie wants to convert the for-profit corporate credit rating agencies that gave the green light to Wall Street shenanigans that tanked our economy into non-profit agencies that serve the public without conflicts of interest.
39. Hillary and most Republicans collect campaign contributions from military contractors, most of which have committed fraud against us, and seem way too eager to support arms deals to dictators, reckless bombings, risky no fly zones, deadly invasions, and disastrous budget-busting wars. Bernie supports a defense budget and policy that protects our national security interests, not the financial interests of military contractors.
40. Hillary and most Republicans bend over backwards to keep Saudi Arabia as a close ally, despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is a theocratic fascist family dictatorship, with the third largest military budget in the world, where religious rights, women’s rights, and other civil and human rights are brutally suppressed (e.g., religions other than Islam cannot be practiced, women must be escorted by male relatives, atheists and peaceful protesters face the death penalty by beheading, ad nauseum). Hillary’s foundation collected between $10-25 million from Saudi Arabia (and millions from Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates) and Hillary approved major arms sales to Saudi Arabia, even as Saudi Arabia is more focused on bombing a religious minority in Yemen than fighting ISIS. Bernie is not afraid to criticize Saudi Arabia (and other Muslim countries), demanding that they do more.
41. Unlike Hillary and the Republican candidates, Bernie is not a millionaire or billionaire, does not live a lavish lifestyle, does not have billionaire backers, does not enrich himself on the public coffer, does not collect outrageous speaking fees, flies coach and is willing to take the middle seat, and is a down-to-Earth, humble human being.
42. Hillary and most Republicans want to freeze or even reduce the estate tax on the inheritances of the top 1% (currently on estates worth at least $5.43 million after various deductions and credits). Bernie wants to sharply increase it so that when billionaires die, their wealthy estates are taxed at a steeply progressive rate to support social programs. By raising minimum wages on the bottom and estate taxes on the top, as well as taking other important economic measures, Bernie is the only candidate who is serious about significantly reducing economic inequality and rebuilding America and the American middle class.
43. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans who are supported by millionaires and billionaires, Bernie received 1 million donations faster than anypresidential candidate in U.S. history, and now has over 3 million individual donations, a record-breaking historical milestone in American politics and a testament to his widespread support from regular people all around the country, and Bernie has many more women donors than Hillary or any other candidate. Bernie also has the highest home-state approval rating of any senator (a whopping 83%!) and the highest net favorability rating of any presidential candidate. While serving us in the House of Representatives, Bernie passed more amendments than any of his colleagues and Bernie has been similarly productive in the Senate; Bernie has been called the “amendment king” in Congress. Bernie is the most popular, most productive, hardest working, most honest and trustworthy, most likable, and most electable candidate. As polls consistently show, Bernie is much better able to attract Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and Greens and is in the best position to beat the Republican nominee.
44. Hillary and the Republicans run attack ads, malign their opponents, sling mud, say and do anything to score cheap political points against their rivals, no matter how slimy or low the blow. In his 20 elections, Bernie has never run a negative ad and actively refrains from saying anything personally negative about his electoral opponents, even defending Hillary during their first Democratic debate.
45. Hillary and the Republicans don’t get the highest marks from the ACLU, NARAL, NAACP, SEIU, HRC, ARA, VFW, AFL-CIO, CWA, MoveOn, Friends of the Earth, Humane Society, Citizens Action, National Nurses, Democracy for America, Defenders of Wildlife, Working Families Party, Americans for Democratic Action, Progressive Democrats of America, 350.org, and other highly respected organizations. Bernie does!
46. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, who seem saddled with various scandals and embarrassing baggage (sadly, way too many to name!), Bernie has been completely scandal free for all his time, whether in or out of office. Bernie is a public servant par excellence without any conflicts of interest!
47. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans who simply want your money and your vote and then want you to go away and be quiet and obedient, Bernie warmly welcomes your participation, wants you to be actively involved in your democracy, seeks to build an ongoing movement for social justice, and encourages you to join the political revolution to re-democratize America. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie is inclusive and wants to govern with you, not over you.
48. While regressive Republicans call themselves “conservative”, Hillary has referred to herself as “kind of moderate and center”, yet Bernie describes himself as a “proud progressive”. Hillary is the most conservative Democratic candidate, similar or closer to the Republican position on various major issues, while Bernie is the most progressive candidate for president who will change this country for the better. Bernie would also be the first Jewish president, indeed the first non-Christian president, and the first non-millionaire president since Harry Truman.
49. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie is a secular Jew, spiritual but not religious, and is not involved in organized religion, yet he credits his being Jewish for his interest in politics. Asked about his religious beliefs, Bernie has responded: “I am what I am”, believing that we’re all in it together and that we should help each other. Bernie often echoes Pope Francis. Bernie has said that he is “proud to be Jewish” and he not only cites the Golden Rule, as so many do, but he tries to live it.
50. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans, Bernie had many relatives killed in the Holocaust and unfortunately knows the pain that fascism causes intimately. Bernie is the best antidote to the racism and fascistic tendencies of the Republican Party.
51. Unlike Hillary and the Republicans who lie and otherwise deceive, Bernie has common sense and is a man of his word and his word is good. If a politician is untrustworthy, dishonest, deceptive, and lies, how do you know what you are actually voting for? Bernie is well known for his honesty, authenticity, integrity, consistency, diligence, and efficiency, as well as for being kind, compassionate, principled, dedicated, trustworthy, likable, pragmatic, progressive, and a mensch. Unlike Hillary and the GOP, Bernie is the real deal and gets results.
52. With a great VP running mate such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Rep. Raul Grijalva, Rep. Barbara Lee, or Rep. Keith Ellison, who each share so many good and admirable qualities with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bernie would be even more appealing!
Each of these reasons is compelling, while all 52 combined provide overwhelming evidence for progressives to support Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.
Dan Brook, Ph.D. is a professor of political science and sociology.