The race for the Democratic Presidential Primary nomination is officially closer than anyone had expected even a few short months ago. With two neck-and-neck caucus results and a landslide victory for each candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is showing his ability and intention to run a lengthy, competitive campaign right through to this summer's convention. Sec. Clinton's campaign scored big in South Carolina and can attribute much of its success against her progressive counterpart to their insistent portrayal of Bernie Sanders as a "single-issue" candidate.
Presumably, Clinton is referring to his boisterous calls for campaign finance reform which, according to Sanders, is the seminal issue of the 2016 election. He has said repeatedly that, since the "disastrous" Citizens United Supreme Court decision in 2010, he believes our country is moving quickly towards oligarchy and the destabilization of our democracy for future generations. Big money in politics is the "single-issue" that most directly contributes to the ails of the declining middle-class and the cynicism the american public carries with regards to the political establishment. It's easy to see why this "single-issue" scares the current power structure most.
Of course, Bernie Sanders is not a single-issue candidate and his policy proposals cover the gamut of issues, foreign and domestic. It's absurd to make the claim, as the Clinton campaign is shamelessly making, that Bernie's grand vision of reshaping our national priorities away from endless wars and corporate welfare toward universal healthcare, tuition-free public higher education, rebuilding national infrastructure, expanding social security, and moving away from fossil fuels are somehow myopic in scope. One possible explanation for the Clinton machine's repeated use and distribution of this "single-issue" canard is they are trying to focus the public's attention away from the real differences between them on nearly every substantial issue concerning American voters.
Where a candidate stands on the issues should be of utmost importance when deciding who to give your vote to, and, because of that, I am happy to expound on some of those crucial differences here:
Campaign Finance Reform
• Does not take money from powerful interest groups (Wall Street, Big Pharma, Private Prisons, etc.)
• Has not given any paid speeches to wall street
• Does not have a SuperPAC
• Campaign is funded by over 4 Million individual contributions (average contribution = $27)
• Takes money from powerful interest groups (Wall Street, Big Pharma, Private Prisons, etc.)
• Gave three speeches to Goldman Sachs in 2015 for $675,000, content of those speeches: unknown
• Has many SuperPACs, some which coordinate directly with the campaign by exploiting current campaign finance loopholes
• Campaign is funded by a majority of "large donors" (donations in excess of $250)
Foreign Policy - War
• Voted against the war in Iraq
• Is against a policy of regime change
• Wants to destroy ISIS by supporting Muslim nations in the region without sending American ground troops
• Voted for the war in Iraq, and has supported every U.S. foreign conflict since the 1990s
• Has supported regime change policies in Iraq, Libya and Syria and takes policy advice from Henry Kissenger
• Wants to institute a no-fly-zone in Syria and supports putting troops on the ground
Foreign Policy - Trade
• Believes that trade deals in recent decades have cost our country millions of good paying jobs by incentivizing companies to move their operations to countries with lower-wage labor forces
• Voted against NAFTA, CAFTA and PNTR w/ China and is leading the effort against the TPP
• Supports trade deals NAFTA, CAFTA and PNTR w/ China and said the TPP was "the gold-standard in trade deals"
• Activist leader against segregation during the civil rights movement
• Marched on Washington with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
• Voted against DOMA
• Supported LGBTQ equal rights since he first ran for office in 1972
• Was a "Goldwater Girl" in 1964
• Supported DOMA
• Did not support gay marriage until she "evolved" in 2013
• Proposes public colleges and universities should be tuition-free
• Would pay for his proposal almost entirely with a 0.5% tax on Wall Street speculation
• Believes higher education should be a right, not a privilege
• Proposes "College Compact" requiring students to work 10hrs/week and parents to pitch in what they can toward the cost of tuition and depends on Republican governors not cutting education funding
• Does not think the education system needs reform
• Believes higher education is a privilege, not a right
• Proposes a single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare system to replace the current insurance-based system
• Believes in universal healthcare as a right, not a privilege
• Wants to keep the ACA as is and make small "improvements" to it, what those improvements are: unknown
• Believes universal healthcare is not a realistic goal
• Believes climate change is real, is caused by human activity and that we have a moral responsibility to leave our planet healthy and habitable for future generations
• Opposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline from its inception
• Will not allow extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and will ban offshore drilling
• Proposes ending all gov't subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, invest in renewable energy production
• Was in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline until October 2015, now opposes
• Wants to reform fossil fuel leasing agreements for public lands
• Proposes ending "wasteful subsidies" to oil and gas companies, which subsidies are considered "wasteful": unknown
• In favor of "some" offshore drilling
Criminal Justice Reform
• Believes our criminal justice system is "broken" and needs reform to end institutional racism
• Proposes removing Marijuana from the Federal Controlled Substances schedule, allowing states to regulate marijuana how they see fit
• Opposes the Private Prison Industry
• Opposes the death penalty
• Proposes "community policing" where police departments are made up of members of the communities they serve
• Believes our criminal justice system is just "out of balance"
• Proposes moving Marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 on the Federal Controlled Substances list to enable gov't funded research, would remain federally illegal
• Campaign accepted money from the Private Prison Industry up until late October 2015, her SuperPACs still accepts their money
• In favor of the death penalty
• Defends the 1994 crime bill and made a statement in 1996 that black youth were "super-predators" who needed to be brought "to heel"
These and many other critical differences can be found largely on the candidates respective websites. I encourage all American citizens to consider your own priorities for our country's future, to learn which candidate best represents your views on the issues and, most importantly, to cast your vote accordingly. As you can see, the difference between the democratic candidates this primary season is YUGE! Please choose wisely.