Jackson Collier, Columnist
Of all the candidates running in the 2016 presidential election, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont (I-Vt.) has the most energy and charisma.
However, he has begun to have a reputation for his unkempt appearance rather than for his focus on important issues.
“[Bernie Sanders] always looks like his flight was delayed. The guy’s a mess,” comedian Andy Samberg said at the 67th Prime Time Emmy Awards. His appearance may not be the neatest, but the platform he is running on is resonating with voters.
Lately, Sanders has surged and become the Democratic frontrunner in New Hampshire and Iowa. His message is striking a chord with young and frustrated voters regardless of political affiliation. His no-nonsense, focus-on-the-issues persona is just what voters are looking for right now.
Throughout his political career, Sanders has never run a negative campaign ad. He focuses on the issues that matter and doesn’t shy away from any questions other than refusing to answer questions to do with other candidates’ personal lives or beliefs. This is very refreshing in an age where negative campaign ads run rampant during election season.
Sanders is quickly becoming a voice for the voiceless and a stern advocate for equality. The focal points of his platform are those that many Americans believe should have been implemented long ago and that other leading countries across the world have already implemented.
One of the main focuses of Sanders’ campaign is to solve the problem of income and wealth inequality by raising the minimum wage. He has said that the federal minimum wage today of $7.25 is a “starvation wage” and that someone who works 40 hours a week should not be living in poverty. Sanders led the effort to increase the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour and has proposed a $15 per hour minimum wage nationwide.
Sanders has also said that there isn’t enough talk in Washington about the collapsing middle class in the United States. The United States was great for so long because of the strength of the middle class, but that class is now disappearing. This leads him to believe that America is heading towards an oligarchy for an economy.
Instead of trying the trickle-down, top-down economic approach, Sanders wants to build from the bottom up, laying down a foundation for the economy to build upon.
Sanders is even able to appeal across the aisle on matters such as veterans’ affairs. He strongly supports taking care of veterans when they come home and has said in speeches that if we can’t afford to take care of our veterans, then we shouldn’t go to war.
This appeals to many pro-military conservatives as well as democrats because many people in the United States share the same mindset that veterans must be taken care of.
Another one of Sanders’ key running points is that he is proposing legislature to make public colleges and universities tuition free.
Student debt is the second largest category of debt in the country at $1.2 trillion. That is more than both credit card and auto loan debt. Sanders believes education should be a right, not a privilege, and because of how much student debt is being allotted, the United States needs a reform in how it is funding higher education.
Sanders has stuck to his guns with his beliefs and refuses to back down. He’s standing up for the lower and middle classes and trying to brighten America’s future by investing in the education of today’s youth.
In a day where honest politicians are hard to come by, America has found one in Bernie Sanders.