Despite dominating most online polls on the Democratic presidential debate, leading Clinton in New Hampshire polls and closing in on her in Iowa, Bernie Sanders continues to be sidelined by mainstream media.
He has consistently received less coverage than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both of whom he matches when it comes to presidential polls. And when I say less coverage, I mean Trump has received 23 times more network minutes of coverage on major news networks than Sanders has. This is a testament to both the influence of political lobbies and the mainstream's media's selective attention to showmanship and sensationalism.
It is unlikely this will change. Sanders is the least favorite candidate of big money (as he suggested himself on December 19) and cannot match the campaign budget of Hillary Clinton.
Secondly, he is not given to playing to the lowest common denominators of fear and bigotry that are the chief forte of Trump and Cruz-and which mainstream media laps up hungrily.
Where does that leave us Bernie supporters? Well that still leaves us with the most powerful weapon of this Presidential campaign: the Internet. Online newspapers, blogs and social media are where the real action now takes place. This is the space where we must be relentless in pointing out why Bernie Sanders is the best candidate for the American Presidency. For a start, here's a countdown of the only reasons you will ever need to vote Sanders:
5. Bernie Sanders is the only true voice of the liberal left in the running for POTUS.
Sanders is the only candidate that is not afraid of using the "s word" and in fact believes that aspects of socialism are necessary for America to become a land of equal economic opportunity again.
In his own words: "Democratic socialism means that we must create an economy that works for all, not just the very wealthy. Democratic socialism means that we must reform a political system in America today which is not only grossly unfair but, in many respects, corrupt."
Sanders is the only candidate who has consistently and unequivocally been a proponent of LGBT rights and has backed up his words with his actions. In 1983, during his first term as Mayor of Burlington he supported the city's Pride Parade. He voted against "Don't Ask Don't Tell" in 1993 and against the "Defense of Marriage Act" in 1996.
4. Sanders is the candidate placing the greatest and most appropriate amount of emphasis on climate change.
He has rightfully stated that this is the greatest threat facing our planet. He has been firm on his intent to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, imposing a carbon tax on polluters and working towards a 100% clean energy America. He also happens to be the only candidate untainted enough by corporate ties to be trusted to fight the opposition of the coal and oil industry to these initiatives.
3. Bernie Sanders has the most sane and intelligent foreign policy plan of any candidate.
Sanders is a breath of fresh air from the over-sized machismo and war-mongering of the Republican Candidates and the vague, undecided foreign policy that has defined Hillary Clinton's stint as Obama's Foreign Secretary. He advocates a better relationship with China and an end to NAFTA, CAFTA and other disastrous trade initiatives that have created mistrust with China and Russia as well as resentment in the developing world were these agreements are seen as a fixing of the global economic playing field in favor of the West.
Sanders is firm on wanting to improve relations with Iran and continuing to abide by the terms of the Iran nuclear deal. On ISIS, this is what he has to say: "While we must be relentless in combating terrorists who would do us harm, we cannot and should not be policeman of the world, nor bear the burden of fighting terrorism alone. The United States should be part of an international coalition, led and sustained by nations in the region that have the means to protect themselves. That is the only way to defeat ISIS and to begin the process of creating the conditions for a lasting peace in the region."
This alone contains more wisdom than what we have heard so far from the entire Republican line of presidential hopefuls. It is indeed the regional players whose war this truly is and it must be they who are at the front lines. Illegal and unnecessary wars have damaged America's economy and global standing, created havoc in the middle east and done not an iota of good for anyone.
2. Sanders is the only candidate who has an unequivocal health care plan.
He is very clear in his stance against anti-Muslim bigotry. Despite the illogical and vicious opposition by Republicans to the single-payer option that hijacked the Affordable Care Act, Sanders remains committed to a Medicare-for-all health care system. Despite everything that the Republicans have stated, this model has been proven in the rest of the industrialized world to result in significantly better outcomes at significantly lower costs.
That aside, health care is where we must draw the line between profitability and providing care. Caring for the sick is a service that should not be hostage to the ability of health insurance, pharmaceutical and biotech companies to maximize their profits. A single-payer system will result in greater scrutiny of medication, hospital and health technology costs and put doctors back in charge of patients rather than insurance companies.
1. Sanders' economic plan is the only plan that makes the Middle class and poverty its focus.
Here in a nutshell, is Bernie Sanders' economic agenda:
Clearly and consistently, Bernie Sanders has proposed a number of items in his economic agenda. Improving America's crumbling infrastructure is foremost on the list. He believes that repairing and rebuilding our roads, railways, ports and water and sewage systems will not only improve their functioning but will provide tremendous job creation opportunities.
Sanders has consistently advocated raising the minimum wage. It is unconscionable that someone working 40 hours a week should still live in poverty. This is something that giant corporations can certainly accommodate while maintaining their obscene profits. Small businesses will be better served by tax breaks and a single-payer healthcare system than by paying their workers the pittance that presently passes for minimum wage.
Sanders has been consistently pro-union and believes in giving Unions greater bargaining power when it comes to wages and benefits. For all the derision poured on unions by Republicans, they have played, and continue to play, a central role in getting fair pay and benefits for workers. Over the last two presidencies the pendulum has swung again in the direction of corporate hegemony and lay-offs and pay cuts have become too frequent, pervasive and easy to execute. A Sanders presidency will be our best chance to restore this delicate balance.
Sanders wants to reform the tax code and base it on the ability to pay. He wants to eliminate tax loopholes that allow corporations to ship American jobs overseas. He understands that it is not ludicrous notions like building walls at our borders that will protect American jobs but stopping our modern robber-barons from taking them overseas so that they can overwork and underpay foreign workers to fill their pockets.
Folks, this is the best chance we have had in a long time to take the decision-making that affects our lives and the lives of our children away from lobbyists and the 1 percent that have for far too long dictated the actions of our government.
If you vote for Bernie Sanders, you will be voting for America.