Bernie or Hillary? Our Writers Weigh in:

Today is Super Tuesday, and the day we learn if Bernie Sanders can take home key wins in liberal-leaning and whiter states like Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Vermont, Colorado, and Minnesota. If he takes those states, Bernie’s campaign is probably going to continue with a healthy head of steam. If not, well, we’ll see.

Here are some of our thoughts:

Daniel Jellins, Class of 2018:

We need a president with the breath and depth of knowledge that Hillary Clinton possesses. The Presidency is NOT a one-issue job! While Bernie has been pushing some needed ideas on income inequality, he has not demonstrated any sort of depth of knowledge on foreign policy, especially in regards to the Middle East. Secondly, for the more than two decades Bernie has been in Washington, what has he accomplished on his ideals of income inequality? For me, that is a red flag. Bernie talks a good game, but I want someone who will get things done. I believe that person to be HRC. I’m with HER because of those espousing progressive Democratic ideas, Hillary is the one with the knowledge and experience to get them done.

Robin Ye, Class of 2016:

I love politics, but I’m so damn tired of it as well. I’m tired of accepting incremental change and being told by the elite few what is or is not possible. I’m tired of the fact our political elections are a sham of a process, when the “invisible primary” picks a winner based on the amount of money she raises and how much the media cares to write about the concrete issues rather than fickle perceptions. I’m tired by the fact that in a society with soaring income inequality, stagnant income, mass incarceration, and a xenophobic Republican party, we’re worried about a “socialist” label. I’m tired of being disparagingly labeled a “millennial” and talked down to because I am young and idealistic. Only 11 members of Congress are under the age of 40. My views and worldview are not being represented.

Bernie Sanders excites me in ways I’ve never felt in my six or so years of political consciousness. For the first time in my political life, Bernie Sanders doesn’t feel like the lesser of two evils. I imagine others felt this way about Barack Obama circa 2008. Bernie Sanders has rejuvenated me because he has called out the suffocating confines of the Democratic and Republican political establishment. I believe in what the Senator is championing: that change is made from the bottom-up, not top-down. I believe now is the time in America when we can have serious discourse about universal healthcare, bolstered public education, and sustainable climate action. I want these ideas discussed – isn’t that what a primary is suppose to be about?

You don’t need to have college degree to know when you’re being screwed. And I can love Barack Obama but still feel that the Obama years left far too many behind, and that the status quo just isn’t enough for most people. I criticize my country, because I love my country – I want my country to be the best it can be. I want my country to be led by President Bernie Sanders.

Hadiya Hewitt, Class of 2018:

I think I want Sanders to win the presidency. But I also wouldn’t be shattered if he lost.

What would bother me is if Democrats get hammered in local politics again.

Republicans control the governor’s seat and the state legislature in 24 states, 70 of the 99 state legislative chambers, and both chambers of state government in 30 states. Though we’ve had President Obama for 8 years, Democrats are being walloped at the state and local level. Though state and local politics receive much less attention than national politics, they have a much greater influence over how we live, including who gets taxed and by how much, what we choose to protect (see Larry Hogan), and what we choose to destroy (also see Larry Hogan). I hope that Bernie’s presidential run would energize Democrats who (rightly) feel disenfranchised by the status quo, and hopefully Bernie’s emphasis on grassroots politics will get the Democratic party where it needs to be to take advantage of the next few midterm elections.

That’s what I want the most. I want voters (especially young ones like us, who don’t vote), the poor, and people of color to get out there and vote! We don’t do it enough, so when elderly white people do what they do best and vote for their own interests, the state legislatures reflect the needs of a shrinking but vocal minority. Also gerrymandering, but that’s a problem for another day.

Regardless, I think a Bernie presidency would be great for the party. But if we as a party(?) want to carry out the Political Revolution he holds so dear, Democrats need to return to the grassroots game which makes politics a reflection of the wants of the many, and not of the few.

Simon Cohen, Class of 2018:

I don’t know who I am running for this election. I look at Bernie and I see someone who desperately wants the entire system to change from the bottom all the way to the top. I like his ideas, but the pessimistic side of me doubts his ability to bring those ideas to fruition. His rhetoric is motivational and often times he says the things that the establishment would never say, but if he becomes president what will he really be able to accomplish with such polarizing viewpoints. There seems to be little room for negotiation when your domestic economic policies involve destroying the banks.
Hillary seems to me like the candidate that can get things done in the White House and as much as we want to stay away from the Right side of the spectrum, I think Hillary has the capacity to negotiate and work with people whose viewpoints differ from hers. She also has a much more well-rounded breadth of knowledge, with much more experience in foreign policy, something that is becoming increasingly important. However, a vote for Hillary also seems like a vote for the status quo and for the establishment of American democracy.

Rachel Neuberger, Class of 2018:

I grew up in a liberal household and in a liberal state, but limitations on women were always around me: firefighters (six-year-old Rachel’s dream profession) were men, doctors and lawyers were men, presidents were always men. When I became politically aware and motivated late in high school, this was still the case. While I finally have role models to look up to – namely, my home state Senator and Hillary Clinton’s successor when she became Secretary of State, Kirsten Gillibrand – I have yet to see a woman elected to be President of the United States; while I certainly hope it’s possible, I can’t judge what our country’s electorate will do. What I know, growing up as a woman who wants to see the kinds of changes in this country that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are talking about, is that I have never felt like I (or others like me) could possibly reach the echelons of power one needs to make that sort of change. I also don’t know what amount of power the President of the United States has; on foreign policy, of course, I would like to see someone who has run the State Department rather than Burlington.

I digress; I leave you with this: I love Hillary Clinton’s policies, I love her knowledge of policy, and I love her history of getting things done. I love her commitment to social justice. When I stood on stage behind her at a rally a few weeks ago, I loved her rhetoric and her passion and her ferocity, which she wears with pride despite people left and right calling her yelling grating. I love Hillary Clinton the smart politician, Hillary Clinton the health care reformer, Hillary Clinton the fighter of shadow banking, Hillary Clinton the bearer of smart power, and – yes – Hillary Clinton, the symbol.

That being said, my favorite thing about UC Dems is its role as a place where everyone can share their opinions, speak safely, and feel heard and respected. One of my goals as your new president is to maintain that and facilitate a place of fierce and fun debate for the primary season and beyond. I’m excited to be argued against and to hear from all sides!

Will Smith, Class of 2018:

Hillary Clinton has the experience, strategies, and policy initiatives that I believe will best benefit the country. I think her opponent for the democratic nomination, Bernie Sanders, is a good candidate and has run an amazing campaign in the last few months. It has shown the American public that candidates don’t have to rely on Super PACs to become competitive in elections. I don’t, however, think he would be the best president for our country. He’s my second choice candidate, but definitely better than any Republican candidate by miles. The only other candidate who I would even consider voting for would be John Kasich, but he is deceptively conservative. But back to my concerns about Bernie Sanders and his campaign. I worry about its narrow and incomplete scope. He barely ever talks about foreign policy, which is a major concern to me. I also think because of Bernie’s strong ideological beliefs it’ll be hard for him to work with people from across the aisle. Bernie has great views, but in my mind it’s better to have a candidate who has great views and will things done while in office than just someone with a lot of good ideas sitting around not getting anything done.  This is one of the reasons I support Hillary Clinton.

No, I don’t think Hillary is a perfect candidate; but I do think she is by far the best candidate the Democrats have this election cycle and is our best chance of taking control of the White House. Assume Trump gets the nomination, which it looks like he will. Now imagine Trump and Bernie in a debate; Bernie would get steamrolled. Hillary Clinton has debate and campaign experience that she can use to defeat Trump in the election. And let’s be honest: a Trump presidency is probably any Democrat’s worst nightmare; at least it should be everyone’s fear.

I think Hillary Clinton realizes that governing is the most important thing in politics and that it is successfully accomplished by compromise, which sometimes means accomplishing ideological goals in increments. I’m not so sure Bernie understands this.

I talked about Bernie’s lack of focus on foreign policy earlier. Let’s compare his lack of experience with Hillary Clinton’s. She is a former US Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State. There are few other candidates in recent memory that have been as qualified and as experienced as her. I hope Hillary gets the nomination and wins the general because I think she is this country’s best hope in the next few years and is our best chance to avoid a Trump presidency.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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