Bernie Sanders’ Candidacy Provides a New Sense of Authenticity

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Bernie Sanders’ Candidacy Provides a New Sense of Authenticity

Jacqueline Davis

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Although the primary elections remain months away, candidates in the 2016 presidential election have begun campaigning for their shot to represent their respective party in the general election. In contrast to the congested Republican party with 14 interchangeable candidates (and Donald Trump), the Democratic party has two candidates with a chance of grabbing the nomination: front-runner Hillary Clinton and underdog Bernie Sanders. While Bernie Sanders remains a long shot, his candidacy has the potential to improve the American political system, and even if he cannot overcome the Democratic favorite, he has lit the flame and America has and will continue to #feeltheBern.    

The American people’s appreciation of Republican ignoramus Donald Trump suggests that the country needs an honest candidate, even if that honesty comes from a racist homophobe; however, Bernie Sanders with his unkempt hair and thick Brooklyn accent offers this sincerity without offending the entire immigrant population, women, and the LGBT community. At his massive rallies and on his twitter account, he continually calls out the backwards priorities of Republicans: emphasis on tax breaks for billionaires and military dominance  (Republican debate commentary via @BernieSanders: “War, war, war. When do we get to their other major priority: tax breaks for billionaires?”)

Because he condemns other candidates’ reliance on influential donor money, Sanders stands by his values and is the only candidate who refuses to accept campaign donations from Super Pacs (except Donald Trump. He may not have mentioned this before, but he is rich). In the political sphere– especially in a presidential race– this type of sincerity shocks people as a refreshing rarity. Although morals alone may not be enough to surpass Hillary Clinton, his integrity will hopefully set a higher standard in Washington.

Unlike his multitude of competitors, Sanders refuses to succumb to the pettiness that surrounds the campaign season, and insists on discussing the issues. During an interview with Anne Marie Cox, she asked Sanders if he “thought it was fair that Hillary’s hair gets a lot more scrutiny than [his] hair does,” to which he responded, “I am running for president of the United States on serious issues, Okay? Do you have serious questions?” Sanders demands that they discuss the issues that matter to the people– police brutality, LGBT discrimination, gender inequality– and his attitude toward the frivolous questions from the media and his refusal to run negative ad campaigns mark him as a serious candidate who insists others behave the same way.

Most importantly, Bernie’s campaign has united many young people across the country. He has drawn them into the political process and has focused on giving the people a voicea voice louder than that of lobbyists and billionaires. At his Boston rally, over 20,000 people packed into the Convention Center and an additional 4,000 waited outside to hear the presidential hopeful lay out his vision for America. Regardless if a victory is possible, Bernie is slowly bringing the power back to the people and highlighting the dismal condition of the US political system.

Being a self-proclaimed “Democratic- socialist,” however, warrants some criticism from his political opponents and the media, especially from Republicans, who never miss a chance to drag one of the their Democratic opponents. Mike Huckabee slyly remarked during his debate opening statement: “None of us [Republican candidates] are self-professed socialists.” Even though some Americans see Sanders’ embrace of his socialist title concerning, others like Republican candidate Bobby Jindal, who said, “Give Bernie Sanders credit at least he’s honest enough to call himself a socialist,” admire his aura of authenticity even if they do not align with them politically.

With the scandals surrounding Hillary’s campaign and the ultra conservative agenda of the Republican party, Bernie Sanders portrays a trustworthy persona that has been foreign in the political sphere. As he builds support and gains ground on Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ unconventional, unpolished– yet uninsulting– approach to his campaign and this election may begin what he calls “a political revolution.”