∞by Marcus Alvarado
Three states and just over 200 delegates are all that remain of Hillary Clinton’s former 60 point lead over Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination for the presidential race.
Although if you’ve been getting your news from the mainstream media and establishment outlets online, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he was down by double that. In fact, a new national poll done by ABC between March 3-6 shows Sanders overcoming his double digit deficit for the first time, trailing just 8 points behind Clinton. The rise clearly shows that he still has momentum going for him, even as the entirety of the Washington Establishment tries to write him off as a failure. Over that weekend, Sanders went on to win 3 out of 4 states, having achieved the highest voter turnout for both Maine and Kansas in decades.
More importantly, however, is that Sanders managed to pull in an upset in the Michigan primaries this past super Tuesday by overcoming an 18 point deficit in the polls and winning by 3 percentage points. Establishment media was quick to write off Sanders while dismissing his underdog victory. Outlets like MSNBC and the Washington Post said that Michigan’s open primary meant that a victory for Sanders was inevitable because independents and Republican voters were allowed to participate in the primary as well.
Ten months ago, Sanders was only polling at 16%. He had no name recognition and very few people even bothered to show up at his earliest rallies. A year ago, he didn’t even have a campaign. Even to this day, there are millions of Americans who are still unfamiliar with Sanders and his progressive agenda. It is because of his millions of supporters online and on the ground, that he has been able to overcome immense odds and become the underdog candidate of a lifetime. He continues to succeed in bringing out both democrats and republicans, along with independents, to vote in primaries that haven’t seen widespread voter turnout, especially amongst millennials which are his biggest supporters, in 40 years.
For the past 10 months, this country has seen a paradigm shift within the world of politics with two outsiders gaining populus support amongst democratic, republican, and independent voters who are sick and tired of a corrupt institution which favors the powerful and wealthy over the poor and the working people. Well, at least that’s the case for the self described Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. The other populus candidate is Donald J. Trump– a reality T.V. star and owner of many failed businesses and ventures such as Trump University, which scammed students out of thousands of dollars and has a D- from the Better Business Bureau. Ironically, Trump is gaining populus support for having a very identical message when it comes to the corruption rampant in government and its love affair of large donor money. However, his xenophobic rhetoric, constant bragging of having taken advantage of the system to his own benefit, and his uncontrollable aggression towards those who differ from him in anyway, paint him to be the exact type of billionair that Sanders describes in regards to corruption and what is wrong with our current economic and political system.
Believe me–you could go on and on about the many failings of Trump but then you’d never get to the most important aspect of this race–and that is the fact that in 2016 we actually have a candidate running for president. Sanders has represented his constituency, has fought on the behalf of all American’s on many civil rights issue, and most importantly is running a campaign which does not accept money from corporations, big banks, and special interests that so often lobby Washington and its political establishment. But if you asked that same establishment, which has of course mostly shrugged off Sanders at this point, they’d paint him up to be the mother of all trojan horses in political history.
Hillary Clinton says he wants to dismantle Obamacare, “start from scratch” as she says, causing the dismantling of the healthcare industry and essentially reigniting the healthcare debate. Meanwhile, the GOP and conservatives say that Sanders is a socialist, communist sympathizer who wants to turn us into a welfare state while giving everything away “for free”. The media, both liberal and conservative outlets alike, routinely tries to discredit/disqualify him because he’s either “too old”, too “radical” or is only a single issue candidate because he often alludes to Wall Street’s neer crashing of our economy as a main reason for our economic disparity. So who is he really? Well to answer that question, we’re going to have to go back to Chicago in 1963, during the height of the civil rights movement.
Imagine for a minute that you are sitting in an aluminum trailer with 25 other students. It’s an unusually warm fall afternoon, with highs reaching 78*. There is no fan and the only window in the overcrowded unit is the one by the teacher’s desk but it doesn’t matter because it’s facing away from the direction of the wind. But the worst part is? It’s only 11 a.m. and you still have four more hours of school left.
Unfortunately, this was the case for many minority students living in the Chicago area–in which most public schools of course were segregated. County superintendents at the time would often defend the decision to teach students in the so called “Willis Wagons”. Minority students would learn in these until more segregated school houses could be built to accommodate the overcrowded schools. Except for the fact that many classrooms during those days weren’t even in use.
To the parents of the children who had to endure this kind of indecency, “Willis Wagons” would become a wedge issue that many civil rights activists, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., would use to call for the ending of segregation in public schools.
One such young activist, the son of Jewish immigrants who fled the Nazis in Poland and moved to Brooklyn, knew all too well of the effects of ostracizing an entire people. It was for this reason that he would hold the first ever civil rights sit-in in Chicago history, at the University of Chicago to end its policy on segregated student housing. Bernie,being a student organizer for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee at the University, led 32 other students in a rally at the school’s administration building to protest the then president’s segregation policies. At the time he was quoted as saying “We Feel it is an intolerable situation when Negro and white students of the university cannot live together in university-owned apartments”. After weeks of sit-ins, the president and the university voted in favor to establish a commission to investigate discrimination.
In 1963, Sanders would join millions of other civil rights activists and go on to attend the March for Jobs and Freedom, held by Dr. King. Then, that very summer, Sanders had gotten himself convicted of resisting arrest during a major anti-segregation rally held in Chicago. He received a $25 fine and a badass story to tell his grandkids when he’s old.
Unfortunately, the only problem with Sander’s anti-segregation activism was that this was also occurring during the height of the Vietnam war where thousands of African American teenagers and men were being drafted–which meant that children who were old enough (and often times not old enough), and African American women as well, took up whatever job they could find at the time just to survive. Which meant fewer and fewer children going to school. This, along with his family history, would lead him to also be active in many peace and antiwar movements. It is also important to note that during this time, Sanders had applied for conscientious objector status but by the time he was denied, he was already too old to be drafted.
The culmination of Progressive agenda’s Bernie Sanders fought towards would soon come to head when he began his political career in the early 70’s where he had moved to live in Burlington, Vermont.