A favorite of the far-left, Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) announcement that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016 has many ecstatic at the prospect of a non-establishment Democrat taking the White House. Speculation has surrounded his possible run since a 2014 interview with The Nation magazine when Sanders stated that he “is prepared to run for President of the United States in 2016.” The 73-year-old is a self-described socialist and has often compared the United States’ dismal record in healthcare, banking and education to the impeccable one of Scandinavia.
While it appears highly unlikely that Sanders could bring down Hillary Clinton, the Democratic favorite, his campaign shocked the country after raising an astounding $1.5 million in its first 24 hours. Clinton has not released any fundraising information yet and Republicans Marco Rubio and Rand Paul grossed approximately $1 million each, according to the Washington Post. What makes Sanders’ campaign truly unique is his donor base — as a democratic socialist, Sanders does not have any large political action committees or mega-rich donors to contribute to his campaign. The Washington Post article says the average contribution to Sanders’ campaign was $43.
Even if Sanders does not secure the Democratic nomination next year, his campaign would force establishment candidates to take a stance on controversial issues. With little threat of retribution from mega-donors, Sanders can definitively voice his positions without fear of financial retribution. It is a safe bet that Sanders will likely be a thorn in the side of any presidential campaign.
Even if Sanders could overcome the powerhouse that is Clinton, the GOP would surely harp on his political leanings. It is a safe bet that the Nazi card will surely be thrown in Sanders’ direction by some of the more radical Republican candidates. E. P. Clapp, distinguished professor of politics at Occidental University, states in a recent blog post, “We can expect the right-wing echo chamber — including Fox News hosts, Tea Party politicians and Rush Limbaugh — to attack Sanders for espousing an ideology that they’ll likely describe as foreign, European and un-American.” Clapp, however, makes an interesting point — for the majority of young Americans, socialism is no longer seen as a hallmark of communism. Rather, as it is with Sanders, it is an identifier of Scandinavia and its excellent infrastructure, universal healthcare and free education. These services, of course, come at a cost: some of the highest tax rates in the world.
In an age when manifest destiny is seen as an exclusive right for the Christian, caucasian, American, gun-owning male, whose goals are unimpeded by taxes, immigrants and Washington politics, Sanders is likely seen as a threat to all America holds dear. But in reality, it is quite the opposite. Known for his fearlessness in taking on Wall Street and the military industrial complex, Sanders is the maverick politician John McCain never was — his character, resilience and commitment to the American dream make him by far the most ideal candidate for the nation’s highest office. A Sanders White House promises astounding change for the better; improved infrastructure, campaign finance reform and equality for all Americans would undoubtedly change the United States’ position on the world stage for the better.