I’ll be upfront — I’m asking you, if you have yet to vote in your state’s Democratic primary, to do so and to vote for Senator Bernie Sanders. Here’s a quick case for why.
I believe that in the world’s most powerful and wealthiest nation, no person should die from a lack of health insurance. No person should die because of a lack of housing. No person should die because of hunger. I believe that we have a duty to desist from the business of warmongering and killing innocents abroad. I believe we have a duty to ensure the fundamental equality of all people before the law. I believe that those of us more well-off in society owe our solidarity to those who are not and I believe in a powerful vision of real, true unity amongst us.
Sanders’ policies offer the clearest expression of and path to these beliefs. He offers a progressive plan towards economic prosperity for all, healthcare, child care and equal justice. He offers clear, universal plans that strive for these benefits — not convoluted compromises and half-measures that will leave lives in the lurch. He offers a clear record of support for the worker, the marginalized and the downtrodden over multiple decades.
At this point, the other major candidate for the nomination is former Vice President Joe Biden. Under his administration, he has stated to wealthy donors, “nothing will fundamentally change.” His policy record offers cozy relationships with segregationists, support for cutting Social Security and Medicare and dozens of billionaire donors expecting favors in return.
What’s more, poll after poll shows that Sanders wins against President Donald Trump. Sanders’ broad vision of unity in the pursuit of common human desires — safety, health and prosperity — is both ideologically and pragmatically best suited to counteract a presidency of division and depredation.
Framing this whole conversation, though, is a feckless politics of civility and parasocial fandom that has crept over the educated American elite in this primary election. I’m writing to a particular privileged portion of the population, much like me, for whom the material conditions of life will be relatively unharmed by centrism and inaction. Voting for a candidate because you think they or their supporters are more “civil” or because you envision them as an imaginary acquaintance of yours is a choice one can make when the policies that candidate supports won’t affect you. It’s a choice that we, often educated, white, upper and upper-middle class Americans, can make when we’ll still have healthcare, housing and a job after we elect the candidate who seems nicer to us.
I couldn’t care less if that candidate reminds you of a more genteel spirit of unity or if that candidate just seems more upbeat and less angry than their opponent. Indeed, I quite like Biden — I even got to eat half his cheesesteak and take a photo with him once! Ultimately, though, I care about whether the candidate we elect is going to ensure that every person in our nation has healthcare and housing, combat the climate crisis and stop needlessly annihilating innocents abroad. If not, then who is their unity for?
In the end, I’m asking you to vote for Bernie, but I’m not asking you to vote for Senator Bernard Sanders himself. I’m asking you to vote for a politics of solidarity with one’s fellow person instead of a politics of solidarity with whatever candidate you like the most. Cast a vote for the dignity of every person, not just yourself.
Nicholas Goldrosen ’20 is a political science and mathematics major from Brooklyn, N.Y.