Bernie Sanders brings something special to the table, and it isn't his policies

Forget about policy for a minute; there is something more important than tuition-free college or single-payer healthcare that Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is offering the American public: himself. He has rightfully become the channel for the middle class (and, increasingly) lower class American rage at the socio-political-economic establishment that has crushed the American Dream for anybody paying a wink of attention. Like the great George Carlin said, you have to be asleep to believe it. That has never been truer than today.

In over 20 years on Capitol Hill, Sanders has never capitulated to anybody to become “an insider.” He is truly an outsider on a hill replete with insiders. This is not due to his extensive congressional career – serving as the longest Independent congressman in U.S. history — but due to the makeup of his character and his consistency in word and deed. What other politician on a national stage expunges the largest publicity crisis for his strongest competitor? 

Like the much-beloved former President Jimmy Carter, Sanders is a candidate who also doubles as a genuine person. Senator Sanders has no loyalty to special interests, unless you count unions, teachers, firefighters and postal workers, i.e. normal, hard-working Americans, as “special interests.” I personally would call those representative examples of the public interest.

An honest politician is as much an oxymoron as jumbo shrimp, but it is seemingly as rare as a white- supremacist-free Trump rally. Bernie represents something much greater than his proto-socialist policies. He represents the goodness in American politics. He represents the ideal representative that the Founding Fathers had in mind; one who wants and votes for what is best for the nation as a whole. That alone is worth more than any number of bills funneled through the corrupted system that Capitol Hill has devolved into.

Who are we kidding, though? It’s not like stuff gets done even now in President Barack Obama’s administration, because Congress is so polarized and shows such animosity to our president. Guess what? That isn’t going to change when either a “socialist” or a woman is in charge — congressional Republicans respect those groups just as little as they do black people and will block any Democratic president’s initiatives with the same zeal. The argument that Sanders' initiatives won’t make it through Congress is bunk, because Congress is bunk.

I would wholeheartedly prefer that congressional gridlock for the length of his term rather than the further promotion of policies that embolden the power of the plutocrats to dictate our economy and our politics. I would vote Lawrence Lessig in tomorrow for the same reason; these candidates want, more than anything else, to overhaul the debased campaigning system that was perverted by Citizens United. That is the single most important political issue facing our nation today. We alone can elect leaders who are willing to change that maleficent ruling among the dozens of other corrupt institutions and laws that need immediate correction.

But, vitally, Sanders' message also transcends the messenger. He isn’t begging the electorate to be the leader of the free world — the opening statements of the Democratic debate say it all, where he neglects to say “I” but only once — but rather he is imploring the nation to start a “political revolution”. (He also wasn’t pitching his candidacy or listing credentials with that “I”. Read the opening statements for yourself and see who seems least interested in the personal glory of adding "President of the United States" to their resume.)

When I saw him at his rally in Phoenix, he stated this same end goal, just like he has at every campaign stop. The goal of his campaign is not only to elect a liberal president in Bernie Sanders, but to change the composition of Congress from those who obey and serve the “millionaire and billionaire class” to those who have the wider interests of everyday America at heart. Without this transformation, it doesn’t matter who our next president is, Republican or Democrat, woman or man; it’ll be business as usual. 

Related Links:

ASU student hosts gathering to support Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders speaks about income inequality to his largest audience yet at Phoenix rally


Reach the columnist at hfinzel@asu.edu or follow @OnlyH_man on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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