Bernie Sanders

Who Would the World Vote For As President of the United States?

While only, approximately, 235 million people have the opportunity to vote for President of the United States of America, that does not make interest in the outcome of that contest a solely American interest.

The President of the United States is uniquely powerful in affairs outside the borders of the United States, and will thus often impact the lives of a great number of non Americans.

Thus, it may be of at least passing interest to perspective voters who their peers across the world endorse as the next President.

A caveat before I begin, this list will not examine all 192+ sovereign countries on the Earth, but a handful relevant to American interests. It should also be noted that, just as in the United States, no country is politically homogenous. There are some attempts to reflect this, but the law of averages tells us that there was probably someone in India who was disappointed when Lincoln Chaffee dropped out.

China:

The Diplomat ran an excellent piece, based largely on the work of Matt Hartzell which examined the voting preferences of users of Chinese survey site, Zhihu.

Out of 450 respondents, most identified with Republican candidates, and a whopping 38% with Donald Trump. In a subsequent poll launched by Mr. Hartzell on Zhihu, the candidates feelings on various issues were briefly expounded upon, resulting in both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders trouncing the Republican field.

These findings seem to contradict various Chinese bloggers, according to Foreign Policy, who claim that Clinton is unfairly critical of China. These harsh feelings would also likely extend to both Sanders and Ted Cruz who have both supported anti-Chinese legislation during their tenure in the Senate.

Trump has also been stridently anti-China, despite saying that he has lots of Chinese tenants in some of his buildings.

China probably doesn’t have much of a favorite in this field of leading Presidential candidates.

Russia: 

The cooperative mood between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump has been well documented, and likely assisted by Trump’s anti-NATO stance.

The endorsement of President Putin likely influences Mr. Trump’s popularity among Russians, based on Putin’s own approval ratings. State news entity Sputnik News has published a number of articles praising Trump.

France:

France’s government has presented a consistent anti-Trump front.

Shortly after Mr. Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim Immigrants, Prime Minister Manuel Valls tweeted, “Trump, like others, stokes hatred and conflations: our ONLY enemy is radical Islamism”.

The ” others” being referred to is France’s own nativist party, the National Front. The ever delightful French Ambassador to the United States, Géraud Araud, also frequently bashes Trump and the similar National Front movement in his own country. It should then come as no surprise that National Front founder, and political kindred spirit on: trade, immigration, and NATO, Jean-Marie Le Pen offered his support for a Trump Presidency.

However, if the results of France’s recent regional elections are any indicationLe Pen’s support is worth little.

France24, one of France’s premiere international news sites, is pretty scant on individual coverage for the other Republican candidates, though John Kasich received some praise for his positions following his second place showing in New Hampshire.

On the Democratic side, Clinton seems to be more popular than Sanders. Nicholas Sarkozy, head of Les Republicains and presumptive candidate for President of the center right party, offered his support for her candidacy.

Meanwhile, Sanders appears to be an after thought on France24’s search algorithms. This may be more reflective of the Senator’s more recent rise to prominence than his agreeability to the average Frenchman however.

Israel & Palestine:

Starting with Palestine, it is safe to assume that Cruz and Rubio competing during debates over who has more disdain for the Palestinian national movement does not endear them to Palestinians.

Kasich and Trump likely would not fair better, due to the former justifying illegal settlements in the West Bank and the latter’s support for moving the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, in addition to anti-Muslim comments over the past year.

The consensus among Fatah, the Arab Center for research and Policy Decisions, and Al-Najah National University, among others, appears to be that Clinton, while no friend to the Palestinian national movement, is preferable to her Republican competition, according to Al-Monitor.

Sanders in the past has expressed solidarity with Palestinians as well as opposition to military aid to Israel, though his position seems to have shifted to a position that equivocates violence between Israel and Palestine.

Never the less, it seems that Sanders is the more palatable candidate for Palestinians at large.

Among Israelis, national polling done by The Times of Israel found that 38% of Israelis would favor a President Clinton, followed by 23% endorsing a Trump Administration. Sanders, Cruz, and Rubio brought up the rear with 7, 5, and 4 respectively, and leaving 23% of respondents unsure.

This seems to reflect that the opinions of Prime Minister Netanyahu are not influential on Israeli opinions on American Presidential candidates, as the Prime Minister has shamed Mr. Trump for his anti-Muslim comments, whilst presumably being very friendly with Senator Cruz who was among the first to congratulate Netanyahu on his recent electoral victory.

This small sample size of four countries, and one aspirant country, is not representative of the world at large, but is representative of a few of the places most relevant to American interests.

It would be wise then as American voters to consider the political opinions of our friends and rivals abroad, including those not mentioned here, so as to best mold the world in a positive way over the next four years.

Is there a country that we missed that you would be interested in learning more about? Tell us in the comments below!

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: Nicolas Raymond/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Here’s Why Young Hispanics Are The Key To Bernie Sanders’ Campaign In Florida

By  Matthew Alvarez

MIAMI, FL- You wouldn’t know at first glance walking throughout Miami Dade College’s Kendall campus that the next potential leaders of the free world were about to arrive.

Other than a seemingly higher presence of police officers and little bit more traffic, the clues were subtle.

Students casually walked to and from their classes, people studied around tables and benches, nothing truly unusual.

It wasn’t until you headed out to the front of the campus – literally all the way into the sidewalk off of 104th St that you were able get a taste of the energy surrounding tonight’s significance.

Florida has been a notorious swing state over the last couple of presidential elections. This has to do with the fact that South Florida (Liberal) has a completely different political culture than North Florida (Conservative) and Central (Moderate).

For Democrats, one of the most important differences in South Florida is the large population of young voters that have an ethic connection to one of the dozens of different Latin and Hispanic ethnicities, something that both Democratic candidates want to capitalize off of.

DD_MDC_7

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

So far, it looks like Hillary is winning that fight.

In a Washington Post poll released on March 9th, Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders 68% to 21% among Hispanic Democrats in the Sunshine State. Among all Democratic voters in the state, she leads 64% to 24%.

With all this being said, it’s no coincidence that one of the hottest issues from the Miami debate was immigration policy.

Over half the population of the city of Miami are immigrants or are the literal children of immigrants.

The stakes are high as  Sanders and Clinton play tug of war with Florida’s diverse electorate ahead of the March 15th primary election.

For such a large scale event at a college campus, the turnout wasn’t as huge as you would expect, but the lack of participants was made up for in passion.

The size of the rally fluctuated from a few hundred people to a few dozen by the time the debate started at 9:00 PM; at its peak the crowd spanned about two blocks.

DD_MDC_6

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

There wasn’t a single person not chanting, or yelling in many cases, for their respective candidates.

A small group of Clinton supporters had left the area earlier in the evening, leaving it as an nearly exclusive unofficial Sanders rally.

As heavy rush hour traffic slowly drove on by, protesters urged drivers to honk in support, creating a symphony of loud cheers and car horns that could be heard from the other side of the campus.

Spirits were high across the entire crowd.

Jamie Friend, being a mid-aged activist, felt optimistic about the rejuvenating spirit that  Sanders has brought to the electorate.

Friend transformed recycled Styrofoam into light up boxes that spelled out “Bernie”, activated by the flashlight of your phone, and let anyone who wanted to borrow them.

DD_MDC_11

Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

She plans on driving up to Tampa to continue lending out her light up boxes at the next  Sanders rally.

Patrick Mesa came out with his own sign and high hopes, having complete confidence in Sander’s chances after his Michigan win.

“Truthfully speaking, I will not vote,” Mesa said, highlighting a fear of the Sanders campaign.

With the exception of about three Trump protesters (which I couldn’t tell if they were serious or just trying to pull a laugh out of the rally), there was an overwhelming grassroots support for Sanders outside of the debate venue.

People also took the opportunity of the mass exposure to express their own concerns and views, with marijuana legalization and anti-big-money sentiment being the major topics from the gathered activists.

Florida will become a deciding factor for the longevity of  Sanders’ candidacy, and for the strength of Clinton’s campaign.

No matter who you support, you should get involved in the campaign. Create a sign, attend a rally, hold a fundraiser, annoy anyone that follows you on social media with political propaganda (actually try not to do that last one), maybe you’ll find a new appreciation for the political state of our country and its future.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!

Cover Photo Credit: Matthew Alvarez/ RISE NEWS

Time To Pop The Bernie Sanders Bubble

Nothing summarizes the Bernie Sanders platform better than this since deleted tweet that contains exactly zero adjectives. Even the word adjective is a noun.

BERNIE

His heart is in the right place, but the details are a mess.

Sanders has captured America’s attention with a similar elevator pitch to Donald Trump: The political and economic elites write their own rules, and have been screwing over the rest of us for years.

The reason this message has been so successful for both candidates is that it is largely true.

Nothing encapsulates the separate set of rules the rich and powerful have written for themselves better than the fact that no major executives went to jail in 2008 for nearly liquidating the entire global economy in a decades long campaign of fraud and abuse.

However, just because someone can identify a problem doesn’t mean they have the solutions to fix it, and in the past week, many liberal economists who probably agree with Sanders’ fundamental premise have said his math might as well be made of unicorns. I encourage all Bernie Sanders supporters to read this sober evaluation of his economic forecasts.

Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman’s position on his economic plan is particularly brutal because he has been making Bernie Sanders’ central argument every week in Fortune, Slate, The Harvard Business Review, Foreign Policy, The Economist, Harper’s, Washington Monthly, and the New York Times for the last two decades.

Here’s a bit from his recent New York Times piece on the matter:

“This controversy is an indication of a campaign, and perhaps a candidate, not ready for prime time. These claims for the Sanders program aren’t just implausible, they’re embarrassing to anyone remotely familiar with economic history (which says that raising long-run growth is very hard) and changing demography.”

Sanders should be commended for pointing out the obvious problem at the heart of our economy, but he has been much more dishonest than his backers would tell you.

The Republican Party has blocked nearly every proposal President Obama has put forward, deriding him as a Socialist, even though he’s been arguably the most conservative Democrat in the Oval Office in nearly a century.

JPEGpresidential_square_wave

There is no way in hell that Sanders is going to get an actual Socialist agenda passed through the obstructionist era Republican Congress, and yet he almost never addresses this vital factor in the equation, instead vaguely referencing the need for America to have a political revolution.

Kenneth Thorpe, a public-health expert at Emory University recently criticized Sanders’ healthcare plan to help the poor as in fact, doing the exact opposite, and instead of refuting his math, the Bernie team said his healthcare plan is tied to a $15/hour minimum wage in order to make it work.

This is another prime example of his dishonesty on his ability to accomplish his agenda. He wants to fight two gigantic political battles at the same time, yet refuses to address the political realities of that situation.

Barack Obama was elected in 2008 with as big of a mandate from the people as you could imagine (for modern times at least) and he was only able to get one ambitiously big bill (the Affordable Care Act) through a Senate controlled by his own party.

Sanders loves to talk about the will of the people, yet he fails to acknowledge that the will of the people has installed many members of Congress who don’t agree with him.

For years, Republicans have been rightfully criticized for their one size fits all economic policy of “throw more capitalism on it.” Sanders is basically making the same argument, but with “revolution.”

Bernie Sanders in Iowa a few weeks before the Iowa Caucus. Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bernie Sanders in Iowa a few weeks before the Iowa Caucus. Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bernie is depicted as a paragon of virtue and honesty, and he has been incredibly consistent with many of his views, but to paint him as some sort of continual political outsider is absurd.

Anyone who has been in Congress for 25 years is a politician through and through, and Sanders has pulled the same ploy that many have seen Republicans pull on The Daily Show for years.

One week before he voted for the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (which applied the death penalty to drug trafficking and introduced a Federal “three strikes” law with a mandatory life sentence – it didn’t pass) and the Ominibus Crime Bill of 1994, (this one did pass, and contained many of the same measures but with the addition of reducing the age for minors to be tried as adults) Bernie Sanders said:

“We can either educate or electrocute. We can create meaningful jobs, rebuilding our society, or we can build more jails.”

A career Washington politician saying one thing and then doing the opposite, isn’t that what Bernie is running against?

Bernie Sanders is an avowed Democratic Socialist, which he will say is an important distinction from the Socialism of Lenin and Marx. However, as it pertains to the economy, the only real difference between the two is specificity.

Socialism leaves room for market and non-market collectivism, but Democratic Socialism is just the combination of a Democratic political system and a Socialist economy. Both involve central planning, which is a dirty phrase in politics (because it’s a terrible idea); so candidates like Sanders sell it as if they are using government to humanize economics.

Putting aside the fact that neither government nor economics is “human” in nature, at some point, this all comes back to the same problem: the state is not just the referee of the market, but the coach and the general manager as well. That is the essence of Socialism, and the Soviet Union provided us with a perfect example of why it is incredibly difficult to work with at a large-scale.

Sanders is also dishonest about what Socialism actually means:

“You go to your public library, or you call your fire department or police department, what do you think you are calling? These are socialist institutions.”

The presence of regulation and public goods doesn’t equal Socialism. Nearly all forms of governance believe in providing basic public services for the populace. Police and fire departments exist in Syria, yet no one would say Bashar al-Assad has been anything but a Fascist dictator.

Just because a handful of powerful people are going 100 mph in a 75 doesn’t mean you drop the speed limit down to 30, you just enact methods to stop those people from going that fast, or even better, enforce the laws already on the books to stop the activity in the first place.

Almost all of our major economic markets have become horribly corrupt due in large part to their lax regulation. The cruel irony of our political corruption is that America is simultaneously overtaxed and undertaxed.

We have one of the highest effective business tax rates in the world, but that’s only true for those who cannot afford armies of lawyers and accountants to locate the seemingly infinite amount of loopholes that politicians have blasted into the US tax code.

Whenever a Berniebro lectures me about how we should simply emulate the Nordic countries, I can’t help but laugh.

Here’s why it is such a ridiculous argument:

The combined GDP of Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Denmark, and Norway is $1.7 trillion.

US GDP: $16.77 trillion.

This is like comparing the physics of driving a sports car to an oil tanker. What works at less than 3% the scale of us up near Santa’s workshop doesn’t necessarily compare to the greatest economic engine the world has ever produced. We need our own model.

The irony when Bernie Sanders says things like ”If you read what [Eugene] Debs said about the goals of socialism, it’s no different from what I’ve been saying — that all socialism is about is democracy” is that he’s also advocating for a pretty awesome form of governance that we already have in place: Liberal Democracy.

Many of the exact same programs Bernie Sanders endorses can be attained in a Liberal Democracy. Want proof? Look around. Socialist policies like Medicare and Social Security were accomplished along with the presence of a free(ish) market for healthcare.

Both ideologies agree on a strong central authority acting on behalf of the public, the key difference is that Socialism entails government ownership of at least parts of the economy; whereas Liberal Democracy is about using the Federal Government to ensure that the free market does not act against the interests of the people. In one model, the government picks winners and losers, in the other, the market does.

Socialism isn’t all bad.

For example, abolishing the right of private property on certain lands (also known as Eminent Domain) can be hugely beneficial, as the interstate highway system proves.

However, what separates America from all the other economic powers are the rewards that exceptional individuals can extract from the free market by providing something superbly beneficial to the masses: like the phone many of you are reading this on.

Socialism is opposed to providing proportional compensation to visionaries like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk.

Ultimately, Socialism is an offensive ideology to so many because it is antithetical to our most fundamental understanding of the world.

Everyone is not equal, that’s not how evolution works. Certain traits and characteristics win out to keep the species alive today and help build a better future while others simply fade into obscurity.

The free market reflects this reality, and that is why it is the greatest weapon against poverty in the history of this planet.

All of this is not to say that the inspiration for Sanders’ campaign is bunk, people should be pissed off at 2016 America.

Our Democracy has been hijacked by somewhere around 300,000 oligarchs to create oligopolies as far as the eye can see (or as the great George Carlin called it “the illusion of choice”).

Every country that embraces free market principles is better off for it; competition makes everyone better. Look at what China has done in this century as the ultimate proof. Markets should be regulated, some more than others, but the economy should not be centrally planned, which is at the heart of any Socialist ideology.

When Bernie Sanders says that he espouses a Socialist philosophy that doesn’t involve central planning, he’s really just describing the Liberal Democracy we used to have. We don’t need to completely upend the political system simply because we fell asleep at the wheel for a half century, we just need to modernize it and get back to doing the things that made our governance the crown jewel of mankind.

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bill Clinton Goes After Bernie Sanders In Palm Beach Rally

MIAMI — Bill Clinton took subtle jabs at U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, in a speech in Palm Beach County Monday — an event that she skipped to focus on an early state instead. Without naming Sanders, Clinton contrasted the Vermont senator’s proposals and experience with that of his… Read More

This Video From 1988 Shows How Consistent Bernie Sanders Really Is

One of the strongest selling points for Sen. Bernie Sanders in his campaign for President has been his incredible ideological consistency. (Of course not everyone is buying it.)

The Sanders campaign is working to play up on the consistency card as both the Nevada caucus and South Carolina primaries approach.

On Feb. 13, the campaign released footage of then Burlington, VT Mayor Bernie Sanders endorsing Rev. Jesse Jackson in his historic 1988 Presidential campaign.

The video shows Sanders giving a familiar pitch arguing for closing the gap between rich and poor and shifting government focus on those closer to the bottom of the economic ladder.

In fact, if you close your eyes, you wouldn’t be blamed to think it was a speech delivered in this election cycle instead of one from before most of us were born.

NPR has also picked up on how remarkably on message Sanders has stayed for over 30 years.

Just take the following quotes that the public radio giant dug up to really drive the point home.

Sanders in 2015:

“There is something profoundly wrong when the top one-tenth of 1 percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, and when 99 percent of all new income goes to the top 1 percent.”

Sanders in 1976:

“The fundamental issue facing us in the state is that ½ of 1 percent of these people — the richest ½ of 1 percent — earn as much as the bottom 27 percent and the top 3 percent earn as much as the bottom 40 percent.”

Whether you like the guy or not, you have to admit that he has never given up the fight.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders endorses Jesse Jackson for President in 1988. 

 

 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders Campaign Youtube/ Screengrab

Does Bernie Really Think He Can Win This?

By Lou Gumede

When President Barack Obama won re-election in 2012, there was already speculation if then Secretary-of-State Hillary Clinton would choose to run for the Presidency in 2016.

Three years later, Hillary Clinton would declare her intention to become the first woman President of the United States and instantly became the frontrunner to replace Obama as the head of the Democratic Party.

Hillary would later be joined by another two major candidates, namely Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders; with Sanders being Hillary’s main opposition.

Clinton began the polling season with a large lead over all her counterparts and is currently enjoying a favourable lead over Sanders and O’Malley.

However, Sanders has gained some ground on Hillary in a New York Times/CBS News poll that was released this week.

The poll shows that Hillary received 48% of Democratic votes nationwide, whilst Bernie received 41%.

This information coupled with two other state polls released on Tuesday, a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that 49% of Democratic voters in Iowa would back Sanders, whilst 44% would choose Clinton.

This is a far cry from the results a month ago, where Clinton led Sanders by 11 points.

Another poll by Monmouth University showed an even larger gap, where Sanders leads Clinton 53% to 39% in New Hampshire. Clinton led Sanders in New Hampshire in November.

Nationally, Clinton’s lead has been slipping gradually; according to a CNN poll in December Clinton led Sanders 50% to 34% compared to a poll conducted in late November where Clinton was up 58% to Sanders’ 30%.

This should be worrying to Clinton, as the last three rounds of national polls have seen Sanders pull closer to her.

However, according to the national poll released on Tuesday, 7 in 10 Democratic voters, including most of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, still believe that Clinton will win the Democratic primary according to the New York Times.

However, University of Rhode Island Political Science Professor Brian Krueger cautions not to read into the poll results too much.

“We are not talking about big swings, he [Sanders] was low 30s in November and is now high 30s,” Krueger told RISE NEWS. “Part of the explanation in that O’Malley’s support has gone from 4 or 5 to about 1 or 2 percent, with Bernie picking up most of that support.”

Nevertheless the numbers have forced Clinton to start confronting Sanders more and try to dispel or disapprove of his electability and his apparent stance on gun violence.

Clinton has repeatedly tried to bring attention to Sanders’ vote to legislation that broadly shields gun manufacturers and dealers from liability lawsuits in 2005; this is to show that Sanders is not in line with the standing of Clinton, President Obama and the Democratic Party.

According to Krueger, Sanders was not probably expecting to win the race but rather wanted to run in order to make Clinton address issues that matter to those on the left of the party.

“In other words, he did not expect to win, but he could expect to have an enthusiastic following and force the discussion of issues otherwise buried,” Krueger said.

Interestingly though, Krueger believes that as GOP candidate Donald Trump becomes more successful, so will Sanders.

“I also think that as Trump succeeds so will Sanders, in that Bernie supporters will feel that he would actually have a chance of beating Trump in a general election.”

Krueger believes that Sanders could “pull a primary victory or two” but never actually take an overall lead.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Bernie’s People: Inside A Sanders Rally In The Heart Of Dixie

The most powerful statement Bernie Sanders made all night came during the 10 minutes that he didn’t speak at all.

A little over three-quarters of the way through his usual stump stop rundown at a rally in Birmingham, AL, Sanders suddenly halted mid-sentence and swung to his left, peering into the crowd at a cluster of mild commotion about 20 feet away, where a woman had collapsed from heat exhaustion.

“Stop. Wait. Somebody needs a doctah over here. Is there a doctah or nurse in the room? We need a doctah.”

His right hand thrust into the air to subdue the 7,000-person assembly into near silence, Sanders leaned out from the stage and scoured the crowd for hands raised in offers of assistance. He thanked one lady as she popped up from her seat and clambered down from the bleachers, then another as she hurried down the steps from the balcony.

Sanders stood peering from the stage’s edge for several more minutes until staffers relayed confirmation that paramedics were en route. Only then did he quit his vigil and return to the podium.

“Paramedics are on the way. We think she’s going to be just fine,” Sanders said.

Then, he did something unheard of in the realm of contemporary political campaigning, an exercise typically designed for the self absorbed- Bernie Sanders actually stopped talking.

His words would wait until the health and safety of one person among 7,000 had been ensured. He stepped back from the podium, and he walked over to talk with the 80-odd people arrayed along the back of the stage as a backdrop for the television cameras.

He ended up staying back there talking to people, well out of range of any microphone, for the next 10 minutes as the ailing woman was tended to.

Bernie eventually got back behind the podium, updated the crowd that the woman had recovered and had been able to walk out of the room on her own volition, and steamrolled his way through his remaining talking points.

But in those ten minutes of patient, respectful silence, Sanders contributed further evidence to the mounting body of proof that he just might actually care about his supporters every bit as much as they do about him.

But in those ten minutes of patient, respectful silence, Sanders contributed further evidence to the mounting body of proof that he just might actually care about his supporters every bit as much as they do about him.

And, boy, do they care about him. The crowd held a smattering of graying longhairs and old black ladies in their Sunday Best, but assembled here were 7,000 math majors, whitewater rafting guides, and junior attorneys who had been in middle- or high-school at the onset of the Great Recession espousing, with a fervor historically reserved for the likes of Mick Jagger, their ubiquitous love for a thin-haired, slump-shouldered, 74-year-old man in a suit.

There were handmade signs galore. One posed the rhetorical question “Bern Down for What?”

Another one superimposed Sanders’ campaign logo over a vivid, hand-painted pastoral scene, complete with a gleaming rainbow, rolling hills, and a bubbling brook.

One woman wore a black T-shirt bearing Sanders’ face and the words “Feel the Bern – Enter Sandman” in the jagged, iconic Metallica typeface.

IMG_0831

These people hadn’t packed into an auditorium to be talked at by Senator Sanders of Vermont. They were here to meet Bernie.

The last time I was in Birmingham, it was to attend a Donald Trump rally with my girlfriend Maureen and my friend Cristian.

Before we were allowed into the auditorium, we each had to get past a security screening – metal detector, bag search, and pat down – administered by flak-vested police officers and overseen by suit-clad hired toughs.

Once we eventually worked our way inside, a goon-patrolled fence line maintained a 15-foot One Man’s Land between Trump’s podium and his nearest supporter. The only signs dotting the landscape of outstretched hands were the white standard issues reading “The Silent Majority Stands With Trump.”

A significant portion of Trump’s speech was devoted to making sure we understood that he – unlike anyone else in the field of candidates or in that room – had spent a lifetime attending prestigious schools and purchasing expensive things.

Read More: Trump People: A Rise Reporter Spends The Day At An Alabama Donald Rally With His Liberal Girlfriend And Mexican Friend

With the Trump security detail serving as our only gauge on how these kinds of things worked, Maureen and I made sure to slough any unnecessary metals and auxiliary items from our pockets before leaving the car in order to expedite the inevitable search process ahead.

But instead, a bunch of pimply, earmuff-wearing volunteers herded us all inside the Sanders rally en masse without any question, and the rally-goers around us clearly had not even considered the notion that the things they wanted to bring with them might be screened at the gate.

One woman with a little gray in her hair and an enormous grin on her face scurried busily through the crowd, asking everyone she met to pose behind a cardboard box with a heart-shaped cutout and hand-lettered “I ♥ BERNIE” while she took their picture.

IMG_0842

Another dude slapped a Bernie 2016 sticker on his longboard and thrust it into the air, and somebody else taped a porcelain doll to a pole.

A few feet ahead of me, a white girl kissed a black guy, and everywhere you turned, people were hugging and smiling.

No one at the Sanders rally hurled a hateful racist slur at another person, nor did they pull a person to the ground and repeatedly attempt to stomp on his throat.

Nor, for that matter, did they scream with approval at the prospect of establishing a list that would register and track the names of U.S. citizens who choose to practice one religion instead of another.

At the conclusion of my account of that Trump rally, I described Trump’s supporters as “hungry, disgusted, and upset.”

Bernie’s people, too, seem to be linked by a common discontent with many factors that define the present state of American affairs, and at the surface both constituent groups seem to express their restlessness in similar ways: edit out the name being chanted, and you’d be hard pressed to differentiate the roars of applause at each pause or the frothy parroting of catchy mantras at one candidate’s rally from those at the other’s.

But there is a subtle and fundamental distinction between the two factions, and I couldn’t see it in full until we were driving home: Bernie’s people have the naïve audacity to believe that they can help do it.

Some of them are only four to eight years removed from high school civics class and its accompanying fairy tale of a world in which checks and balances reign supreme and voting is something you can’t wait to do for the first or second time, not something you’ve actively chosen not to do since Nader in ’96.

They think that the system ain’t broke, it just needs a little fixin’

They think that the system ain’t broke, it just needs a little fixin’, and their conception of a heroic Washington outsider is one who will show them how, one whom they feel like they know and one who pokes fun at his own wispy hair and lack of style, not an untouchable Visigoth who promises scorched earth and brags about wielding the bigger stick.

By their measure, the whole point of packing into an auditorium together on a Monday night is to take a step forward (even if it is just a symbolic one) into a more hip tomorrow, not whip themselves into a collective, anger-fueled mope-fest for the decayed and irretrievable Glory of America Past.

But peace, love, and hopey-changey stuff have not consistently demonstrated a formidable knack for self-sustaining longevity.

For some, it didn’t even make it out to the parking garage after the program – the queue stalled for more than 40 minutes as people raced to get out onto the street ahead of each other instead of alternating for spots in line.

And getting up on a Tuesday morning to go vote can prove a lot less exhilarating than getting swept up in an effervescent throng at the end of a three-day weekend – realities that Sanders did not lose sight of in his speech.

“This isn’t about Bernie, Bernie, Bernie, although I appreciate it. This is about You, You, You,” Sanders said. “I need you on Election Day, but I really need you on the day after.”

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Photo Credits: Jordan Cissell/ RISE NEWS

Embrace The Bern: Why Idealists Should Vote For Bernie Sanders

The cold air caressed our skin outside of Boutwell Auditorium in Birmingham, AL but we didn’t care. My anticipation of what was to come and the promise of the night made me forget I couldn’t feel my fingers.

Suddenly the doors opened and the crowd began to pour in slowly and then rapidly.

We held our Bernie Sanders 2016 signs with pride and acknowledged every passerby with a knowing smile. It was as if we all shared a well-kept secret.

We entered the auditorium with a communal 360 turn to fully comprehend how large the space was. In that moment a wave of anxiousness fell over me.

It would be terribly inaccurate to say that Alabama was a welcoming political atmosphere for those on the left.

With that being said, my optimism wavered in that moment to see if we would actually fill the rallying space or be left with disappointment that we were alone in a highly conservative state.

We ceased to be silent leading up to Sen. Sanders’s speech at the podium. Every yell and expressive head nod fed the flames of the masses. Before we knew it the empty space that greeted us was no more. Every seat was filled and on the floor we stood shoulder to shoulder.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Regardless of my senses being overwhelmed by my first political rally, something strange was occurring inside of me. The energy of the room began to pulsate through my body.

Each speaker that came to introduce the presidential candidate spoke with eloquence and reiterated the phrase “political revolution.”

Those words appeared to flicker hope in all of us that things could be different if we stood as one.

Our restless hearts were pushed to the brink until finally the man we had been waiting for appeared from behind the curtains.

His thick Brooklyn accent was just like what we had heard the night prior on our televisions at the Democratic Debate. Smiles emerged on our faces each time we recognized his infamous one finger power point and subtle mannerisms.

The things he spoke on were issues that immediately struck chords in the audience. One rally attendee would shout in praise which would be reciprocated by all the rally attendees shouting with higher intensity.

Through his speech I kept contemplating the idea of what our nation could be. How we could grow and flourish if only the people really knew how much power they held.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

Ashley Perry (R) at the Bernie Sanders rally in Birmingham, AL on Jan. 19, 2016. Photo Credit: Ashley Perry.

At times I became emotional at the hot topics and the solutions he proposed. The idea of free health care and breaking up major institutions like prescription drug companies impacted me heavily.

If this man became president it would be possible that my mother and brother would no longer have to struggle to pay for the drugs that keep their pain from auto immune diseases to a minimum.

The concept of focusing on education and making it accessible to all brought tears to my eyes knowing my father never graduated from high school because of a lack of support and financial means. Sanders could make a difference so that youth in poverty don’t have to endure the struggles my father faced.

By the end of the rally, I felt a sense of enlightenment after the candidate delved into a number of thought-provoking ideas. I began wishing that all my peers could experience the power of political change.

Throughout history, proactive youths have changed governments and set new standards just by coming together as one. The things we could accomplish if we decided to care fluttered in my heart and mind.

Despite the labels of conservative or liberal, our generation holds so much influence on the world around us.

Only time will tell how the upcoming elections will pan out but the true statement of political revolution will lie in how we as young people come together to make a difference.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. Anyone can write for you us as long as you are fiercely interested in making the world a better place. 

Cover Photo Credit: Bernie Sanders for President Campaign/ Facebook

Person Of The Year? Bernie Sanders Wins Time Magazine Readers’ Poll For Prestigious Honor

Democratic Presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders came out victorious in a poll to see who TIME Magazine readers thought should be named as its “Person of the Year.”

Sanders finished with 10.2% of the vote, well ahead of human rights activist Malala Yousafzai, who garnered 5.2%, and Pope Francis’ 3.7%.

However, when TIME announced the official shortlist for the coveted award, neither Sanders, nor any of the top 10 vote-getters in the readers’ poll, were named.

The 8-person list is made up of Republican Presidential contender Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin, German chancellor Angela Merkel, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner, and Black Lives Matter activists.

TIME’s editors will select the Person of the Year, which they define as the person who had the greatest impact on the news this year, Wednesday on NBC’s Today.

Cover Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey/Flickr (CC 2.0)

Scroll to top