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The Position of Bernie Sanders Post-Election

Alex+Bishop+works+for+the+Democratic+Party+and+was+and+is+an+avid+supporter+of+Bernie+Sanders+but+supported+Clinton+when+she+won+the+nomination.
Alex Bishop works for the Democratic Party and was and is an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders but supported Clinton when she won the nomination.

Alex Bishop works for the Democratic Party and was and is an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders but supported Clinton when she won the nomination.

Andrew Culver

Andrew Culver

Alex Bishop works for the Democratic Party and was and is an avid supporter of Bernie Sanders but supported Clinton when she won the nomination.

Andrew Culver, Contributing Writer

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“To me. Bernie is an old-school, left wing Social Democrat, who believes that the government needs to play a vigorous role in promoting more equality among the American people; safeguarding us from the power of big business, and expanding the social welfare safety net.”

-Mr. Whitehouse

One of the defining issues of the 2016 Presidential Election was Populism. Donald Trump, the winner, took advantage of a reactionist voting populace to win the White House. However, the runner-up in the Democratic Primary, Bernie Sanders, also had populist appeal, and made waves within the Democratic party by gaining massive support for his brand of Democratic Socialism. And even though the race for the Presidency is over, Sanders and his supporters continue to work hard to have their voices heard in Washington and around the country.

“I think it’s very commendable that he’s still politically active, even though he lost the primary,” said Vikram Margam (‘17). A member of the Young Democrats Club, Margram describes his political views in a cool, calm manner, explaining the logic behind his support of Sanders. “He’s still putting out the messages of economic injustice, and what we can do to make things better. He’s being especially positive even under Trump, explaining how he will work with Trump on things that they agree on, while most of the media is focusing on the issues where they disagree.”

Margram also isn’t looking ahead to 2020 just yet. He sees Sanders continuing to make significant progress as a senator over the coming years. “He’s probably going to be working extensively on infrastructure and healthcare.”

On Sanders cooperating with Trump, Margram said, “Both think that America needs an immediate investment (in their infrastructure). Since he’s on the Senate Budget Committee, he definitely has the ability to make those changes. Healthcare I cannot say, because he and Trump are ideological opposites on that issue.”

Alexandra Bishop (‘18) is easy to recognize as a Sanders supporter, campaign stickers covering her laptop. When asked about Sanders, she enthusiastically describes what she sees as a bright future for his movement. “I think it’s inspiring and hopeful for the next four years that he hasn’t just given up after the election, and he’s not just retired.” This comment highlights one of the core criticisms of the Sanders campaign: at age 75, most don’t believe he has the stamina to continue in politics. However, Bishop goes on to explain how “a lot of people criticized him for his age, but he’s been more active than most other candidates that ran in the election.” This inner drive of Sanders is likely what drew so many young people to his campaign.

While his age isn’t stopping him now, Bishop doesn’t see Sanders running again in 2020. “I think his age is going to be a limiting factor, eventually. I think Biden will take his place in the party.” But she also thinks, like Margram, that he will still be able to have an impact in the senate. “He will be able to pull more people towards opposing Trump, and voting against some of the new President’s proposals.”

Mr. Whitehouse, on the other hand, says that he hasn’t seen much of Bernie lately. “I thought he tried to strike the right tone after Trump’s election in which he said I’m willing to work with the new President, but here are the things that I care about. I’m happy to work on those things but I’m not gonna allow him to beat up on immigrants or other groups.”

Whitehouse also said that he suspects Sanders is working behind the scenes, and not trying to bring too much attention to himself. In terms of the short term impact of the Sanders campaign, Whitehouse said that “He energized a huge base of people on the left side of the Democratic party, and I think that it’s wise of him to hold his fire, and speak when his voice can have its maximum effect.”

As Bernie Sanders gets older, his ability to communicate with the masses, and keep a full time schedule as a politician may falter. But at least for now, he plans to keep fighting for the American middle class. The optimism and ambition of his supporters show that even if Bernie fades from the limelight, his message will continue to gain traction in the younger generation.

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