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Editor’s note: This piece is one of five pieces, about each of the Democratic presidential candidates, published on Monday, March 2, the day before Super Tuesday.
I always vote for Democrats, but I’m not a proud member of the Democratic Party. For too long America’s left-of-center political organization — the party that brought us the New Deal — has crept further to the right, abandoning its working class roots.
My frustration with the Democrats peaked in 2013, when President Obama proposed cutting Social Security benefits, just to appease the right and foster bipartisanship. As a former Obama volunteer, I was demoralized. Just when it looked like the cuts were imminent, a senator from Vermont objected to Obama’s plan, and helped derail it. That was my introduction to Bernie Sanders.
What appealed to me about Sanders then, and still moves me today, is his lived conviction that some things — such as Social Security — should not be offered up as collateral to the right-wing.
His 2016 run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination did two things. It challenged the conventional wisdom that policies like universal healthcare and housing are impossible for America to achieve. And it pushed American voters to question, “What if we actually fought for what we want, instead of what we think the Republicans will let us have?”
In America, unless you are comfortably upper-middle class or above, the costs of housing, healthcare, transit and education can make the future feel out of reach. This is a major source of anxiety for people, including me. Sanders’ campaign has focused on ordinary Americans, encouraging them to share their stories about surviving in America. I think it’s been one of the most emotionally resonant and galvanizing elements of his bid.
Sanders’ 2020 campaign has evolved into a multi-racial and working-class coalition of voters who are ready to fight for material equity, a better future, and to change how politics is practiced. The voters who support Sanders now will be the same people who pack town halls and lobby their representatives to support the policy changes that will make life better for millions of us. Sanders inspires the grassroots energy for his justice policies that never materialized in the Obama years.
All this might sound rowdy or even scary, but I believe it’s necessary. Sanders is laying the foundation for the Democratic Party I’ve always dreamed of — a party that will compromise selectively, but will always uphold the rights and dignity of all people, especially those who have been marginalized.
The Case For The Candidates
Ahead of Super Tuesday, Cog contributors make their best arguments for the top Democrats running for president:
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