Drawing lines in the sand for the president

The 2016 race for the Oval Office is already in full swing, but we’re still being forced to choose the better of two evils.

Andy Stec, Columnist

I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all the Bernie Sanders supporters at Hamline—so the majority of you—but Sanders talks a big game. While he has a resounding support amongst college students, he just can’t draw in that wider American audience. I truly, desperately, wish to be disproven on this one. While it is early in the race, even in Sanders’ best polls, he lagged 4 points behind Clinton. After the most recent Democratic Debate, this has dropped to further Clinton’s lead. The very thing that pulls us towards Sanders, his outsider approach to Capital Hill (flashbacks to 1976 anyone?), is exactly what alienates him from the larger population. Unfortunately, ‘socialism’ is still a scary word for most people.

Alright, I’ve been logical. I’ve done that part, so now I can make brash illogical choices. In this case, I’ll most likely be voting for Bernie Sanders in the primaries. Yes, I’m doing this even though he has a very large chance at not gaining the Democratic Nomination. This is because I won’t sacrifice values that I hold dear, for the sake of giving one more vote to a candidate who may or may not be more likely to hold office. At what point did we begin voting based on party rather than platform? It doesn’t take a political science major to realize that even candidates in the same party have wildly different views on important issues. Bernie Sanders remains closest to my own, and I truly believe that we would benefit from a Bernie White House.

It’s something that really came about when we began to lean heavily on the two-party system: if you want to make it in the big leagues, you’d better conform. It’s why Senator Sanders, the longest serving Independent in Congressional history, is currently running for the Democratic bid. In our intense political landscape, there are the Republicans and the Democrats, the Elephants and the Donkeys, the reds and the blues. What better way to distinguish your enemies than to point at a political map of the nation and proudly proclaim, “There! Those states, those red states! Those guys want to turn this country into an oligarchy!” Or, “Those blue states! Those coast-dwellers want to drive our nation into economic ruin!” It simply makes throwing stones and attack ads easier.

Sanders may not make the White House, but that doesn’t make him a lost cause. Every time Bernie gets a public platform to explain his – dare I say – socialist views, it desensitizes the American public. I’m not exactly hopeful for a socialist at the resolute desk in 2016, but I remain hopeful for one in 2020 or 2024. Clinton’s history with foreign policy leaves me hesitant to back her bid for office. Backing a candidate simply because they’ve played their political cards right isn’t how we should decide our votes. They’re not representatives of their constituents’ ideals, they’re representatives of the broken political system – a card game we’re not playing.