Nico Aldape: Why Bernie?

Source: The Slot

Nico Aldape is a second-year Public Policy major and Human Rights minor and UC Dems’ Political Director. He’s supported Bernie from the beginning, and has some questions about Hillary’s presidential run. Here’s his opinion on the race:

A common criticism made by Clinton supporters against Bernie supporters is that the Vermont senator’s views and policies are unrealistic and unattainable, and that he would not be able to compromise. To that, I have the following questions and counterarguments to make.

Yes, Bernie Sanders is far more ideologically left-of-center than Hillary Clinton. Yes, Bernie Sanders is less experienced in terms of being in the national political conversation. However, weren’t the same criticisms thrown at a “young, naïve, unprepared” now-President Obama before he took office? Isn’t our political system meant to give relative newcomers to the national stage a chance? Or, as DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz told CNN reporter Jake Tapper, will we let this election be further influenced by superdelegates which “exist really to make sure that party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists?”As a proud member of UCDems and also an organizer, I’m going to take an actual political revolution and chance to change the system over the alternative, thank you very much.

One of the many defining quotes of the race, Hillary’s claim that she’s not a natural politician like her husband shocked me – she is quite good. Despite my not voting for her and my qualms about her handling of policies related to social justice (which I will expound on later), I acknowledged she’s done some good things. However, I also see her as a “good politician” in the sense that she knows how to flop, and how to make bad votes sound good. For example, in an interview with MSNBC host Rachel Maddow last year, Hillary claimed that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and the Defense of Marriage Act were “defensive actions” to stop, hypothetically, a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. I have a lot of trouble with this given that the response to potential discrimination should be calling that discrimination out for what it is, not having a diluted-but-still-just-as-oppressive form of the same thing for political convenience. I see no justification for how she can justify those terrible laws while at the same time claim social progressivism. This flop/defense just doesn’t work out, sorry.

In social issues, economic issues, and alleviating the polarity of our politics, we need a bridge-builder. We need someone who can understand the common struggles all Americans are facing and the fundamentally important concept of intersectionality. Bernie Sanders has a background as an organizer and independent politician. The far-right obstructionism stagnating the federal government, the transphobic “bathroom bills” and abortion restrictions of the far right must not be countered with an establishment choice, but someone who, contrary to Donald Trump’s attempts to carry the mantle, “tells it like it is.”

I trust Bernie to lead and “tell it like it is” far more than I trust Hillary to do either, and am proud to support him in this election. Hillary is capable of leadership, but her leadership is not my style in this primary.

For more in the Bernie vs. Hillary op-ed series, here’s Robin Ye on why he also supports Bernie, and for different perspectives, check out Mikala Cohen’s and Daniel Jellins’ opinions on why they support Hillary!

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