With time flying by, it is time for the presidential candidates for the upcoming election in 2016 to start preparing themselves, as well as the citizens of the United States of America, for Election Day. It is now the time for republicans and democrats to best inform us citizens about their views and plans if they were to win the election. If you are serious about running for office, you have already been to many events where you have spoken to the people on issues that you believe are unacceptable, and have discussed solutions you will try to accomplish as president. Many of the speeches presented by candidates today include topics such as the federal minimum wage, immigration, college and university tuition, and health care. Every candidate has their own opinion on each of the topics mentioned, and when they expand upon these topics, it makes it easier for us to understand who would be a good fit. Everyone has their own opinion on each candidate, for example, some may prefer Donald Trump’s views over, let’s say, Hillary Clinton’s. While it is okay for us to individually have our own views and opinions, it really does come down to Election Day next year when we come together and vote. When the votes tally up, the most popular candidate wins and we have our next president.
Bernie Sanders is a democratic candidate for the upcoming election and has recently gained a lot of popularity. Sanders was born in Brooklyn, New York in September of 1941. He has been mayor of Burlington, Vermont, as well as have served eight terms on the U.S. House of Representatives. He has served on the U.S. Senate since December 2007, and additionally, he has served as chairman of the Senate Committee of Veteran Affairs from 2013 to 2015. Within the first twenty-four hours after announcing his run as a democrat for the upcoming presidential election, he had raised over 1.5 million dollars. Just recently, his campaign has been gaining more traction, and he has even been ahead of Clinton is recent polls.
On August 9th, 2015, Sanders gave a speech at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. With over 28,000 supporters showing up to listen to Sanders insight and to cheer him on, Sanders set the record for largest political event of the 2016 presidential competition. Sanders opens up his speech by exclaiming “Woah, this is an unbelievable turnout” (Mercia), then states “Portland, you’ve done it better than anyone else.”(Oregon Live). After thanking his campaign team for their “kind introductions”, Sanders starts his speech of with a favorite theme of his: income and wealth inequality.
Sanders campaign has been all about putting the billionaire class in their place and reclaiming the United States of America an affordable place for everyone to live, not just the top one percent. Sanders gives us the hard truth: “… the gap between the very rich and everyone else is worse today than at any time since 1928.” (Sanders) Using his strong, powerful voice, he continues with the theme, exclaiming that “There is something profoundly wrong when the top one tenth of one percent owns almost as much wealth as the bottom ninety percent.”(Sanders) It hits us hard when he explains that “…the average American is working longer hours for lower wages…” “…when over fifty percent of new income generated today goes to the top one percent.” (Sanders) It is nice to see a candidate give his concern over this huge issue that is breaking up America today, when the other candidates do not consider this to be a problem; some even suggesting that the federal minimum wage of $7.25 is “too high”.
Although Sanders does seem to ramble on about the same topic for quite some time, his points that he brings up are still very relevant and need to be heard. He mentions that “the greed of the billionaire class in corporate America is… destroying this country.”(Sanders) He makes it clear that “enough is enough, it’s going to end.”(Sanders) When bringing up the federal minimum wage, he hits us with the facts: “… it is not unusual to see people, not just working one job, working two jobs, working three jobs, trying to cobble together some income and health care. That is not what the American economy should be.”(Sanders) When you search around to find the other candidates point of view on the issue of minimum wage being a “starvation wage”(Sanders), you will find that none of the other major candidates (Clinton, Trump, and Carson) feel the need to raise the minimum wage, especially not to the amount Sanders is fighting for, which is $15.00 an hour. None of the other candidates share the same view as him on big businesses and money in politics, which is another huge issue that Sanders is good at discussing.
At about seventeen minutes into his speech, Sanders brings up a very popular issue with all the candidates involved in this upcoming election: abortion and Planned Parenthood. While Clinton, a democratic candidate who is currently the biggest threat to Sanders campaign, is in fact pro-choice, the other major candidates are not. When talking about the views of the other candidates in the running, Sanders says “…what they mean is that women should not have control if their own bodies, and I disagree.”(Sanders) While talking about the same topic last month at a different location, Bernie has said “The current attempt to discredit Planned Parenthood is part of a long-term smear campaign by people who want to deny women in this country the right to control their own bodies” (Miller). While continuing talking about the views of other candidates, he brings up another very popular topic in American society today: gay marriage. He states that other candidates have views of “…our gay brothers and sister should not be able to marry or enjoy all of the benefits of citizenship” (Sanders) and then after having that statement said, he comments “I disagree” (Sanders).
Family values is another topic that Sanders discusses, expanding upon medical and family leave, as well as his goal to have every American granted two weeks paid vacation. “In my view, when we talk about family values, we must end the international embarrassment of the United States of America being the only major country on Earth that does not guarantee workers paid medical and family leave… and that is why I will fight for twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave.”(Sanders) Sanders brings up the importance of the bond between a newborn child and his/her mother, and how it is hard for that important stage in life to happen when mothers are denied paid family leave. They are left with no income for the time of the leave, leading to lack of funds for the newborns needs as well as lack of that important bond when mothers are forced to go back to work after a week because they simply cannot afford to miss work.
For the past few years, it has been very clear that there is a lack of jobs; more importantly, a lack of jobs for those who are in serious need of a steady income. “And when we talk about jobs, it’s not only the need to create jobs, it’s the need not to lose jobs.” (Sanders) Sander’s plan is that we “…need a major federal jobs program; A program that rebuilds our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, and waste water plants.” (Sanders) While staying on topic, he warns corporate America that it is “time… to invest in the United States of America and not countries all over the world.” (Sanders). He transitions from the topic of lack of jobs to big banks and corporations very smoothly, and even throws in a topic unrelated to the current discussion, but with his way of words, he fits his unrelated opinion in in such a way that it does not defer from the current discussion stated. “…I find it interesting… that we see kids getting criminal records for having marijuana, but the CEOs of these large institutions get away with nothing.” (Sanders) He goes on to say that we must “…break these financial institutions up…” (Sanders) as well as “If a bank is too big to fail, it’s too big to exist; break it up.” (Sanders).
Anyone who is up to date with the presidential election and debates between candidates knows that Bernie Sanders is very big on the price of higher education, as well as the “millions of Americans today who are suffering under the burden of outrageous student debt.”(Sanders) Sanders tells us of a legislation he has introduced, and explains “… First, it says that every public college and university in America will be tuition free…” (Sanders) and that secondly, the legislation will deal with those Americans who are in debt because of student loans. How he has planned it out is “…First, we are going to allow people with student debts to refinance at lower interest rates…” (Sanders) and that “…Second of all, we are going to get the government out of profiteering student loans.” (Sanders). Sanders really makes you think when he discusses the price of higher education in the modern day, especially when he goes on to explain that “… in America today [we have] hundreds of thousands of bright, young; people who study hard, people who are qualified to go to college, but the cannot go to college for one reason: their family lacks the money… It is not only unfair to those young people who want the opportunity to become doctors, engineers, and teachers, but it is also dumb if we’re concerned about the future of our economy.” (Sanders).
“Let me close by begging you the think big, not small. I want you to think of what this great country can be… we can be a nation which joins other nations around the world in guaranteeing health care to all people as a right… a nation in which working parents go to work… their babies and their kids are in quality, affordable child care… every American, regardless of his or her income, can get a college education… where everyone, no matter their race, their religion, their disability, or their sexual orientation, realizes the full promise of equality that is our birth right as Americans…when we stand together and not let little things divide us up, when we stand together, when we say enough is enough, this country belongs to all of us; when we do that, there is nothing we cannot accomplish.” (Sanders).
I have personally been a Bernie Sanders supporter since I have heard about him, his views, and what he would like to accomplish as president. Listening to him speak was eye opening; he has such a strong voice and passion about what he does, and he is such an inspirational person in my eyes. This speech had a huge impact on me, as I feel it would on any young person, because this is our future. It has been far too long now that we have needed to see change in this country, and I can only imagine what the future would look like with Mr. Sanders as president. I have heard a lot about how young people only like Bernie because it is the “hipster thing to do” (not even joking), but really, if you take a closer look, it is not that. Most of Bernie’s views are relatable to the group of young people today: those who are in college, maybe even in high school, looking to get the best out of living here, and it is hard to do that when we are living on a “starvation wage”(Sanders) and know that we will be in debt if we do decide to attend college, because in order to get a decent paying job, you need to pay tens of thousands of dollars just to get the education you need. Then, when you do get your decent paying job, it still does not pay enough for you to pay off those loans that you have gathered. Kids today in elementary school are already aware and thinking “it does not matter how well I do in school, if I don’t have the money for college, why even bother trying?” But with Sanders pushing for free public college and university tuition, “…when we tell every kid in America that if you study hard, you take school seriously, you will be able to go to college, that will revolutionize education in America.” (Sanders)
What I thought made Bernie’s speech so great was his tone and passion; it really showed to me how serious he was about the topics he discussed and that he plans to follow through on his actions. His speech was very elaborate, but not to the point where I would fall asleep listening to it. He constantly held the audience’s attention and gave us just enough information to get his point across and for the viewers to get a good understanding on what he was trying to say. The way he informed the crowd using descriptions and explanations was very professional, which gave off a good sign that he is not fooling around when he talks. I have to say, Bernie’s speech was one of the best I have listened to, and I cannot wait to see what is in store for his future and the future of America.