On February 1, 2016 voters in Iowa will vote in the 2016 Democratic Caucuses. Iowa is one of ten states that still use the Caucuses to elect delegates and decide the state's preference for Democratic Presidential nominee. Since 1996, the Democratic candidate that won the Iowa Caucuses has gone on to win the presidential nomination. The importance of winning Iowa this year cannot be overstated. Most recent polls have shown a marginal lead for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders with the margin of error making the polls a veritable tie. Sanders, long portrayed by mainstream media as being on the sidelines of the presidential race has indubitably become a front-runner both by the measure of his presence on the internet as well as his showings in hypothetical general election mashups in which he is the front-runner in Iowa among all voters. With such a small margin of difference in the polls, a victory in Iowa is likely to provide the momentum needed to sway voters in other states and win a presidential nomination.
In the lead up to February 1, campaigning will intensify as will the rhetoric from the candidates. Voters in Iowa will be the focus of campaign workers both within the state as well as from all over the country pitching their candidate through telephone calls and postings in online forums. Political experts on television and in news journals will be analyzing polls and making predictions. The stakes, therefore, are high for the presidential hopefuls.
More importantly, the stakes are high for America.
Incompetence and vested interest have been polluting the political system to the point that many have lost faith in Government. Movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party on either side of the spectrum have gained popularity through their rejection of the current political dispensation. While one sees the nation having become an oligarchy subject to the whims of the rich and powerful, the other blames a bloated and intrusive Federal Government. Ultimately, what most Americans desire in the here and now, regardless of their vision of what it should look like, is change; tangible and distinct from the status quo.
Change is indeed both called for and necessary to fix America's problems and restore public faith in Government. The question is who out of all the candidates is most likely to create change? Let's start with who is unlikely to do so.
It is not going to be the candidate who voted for the Iraq War and oversaw as Foreign Secretary the transfer of arms to Syrian Rebels that ended up in the hands of ISIS. Who has ties with the Financial Sector going back 41 years. Who along with her husband has received $69 million in contributions from Wall Street. Who has since running for Senate in 2000, taken $1 million from pharmaceutical and biotechnology giants and more than $2.7 million from health insurance companies. Who first as a powerful first lady and then as Foreign Secretary presided over an unprecedented intrusion of lobbyists in American politics, the housing bubble that led to the recession of 2007-2008 and an undeserving bailout of the banks that through their short-sighted and corrupt practices caused so much harm to the economy.
No, Hillary Clinton is not the candidate of change but the candidate of the establishment. Electing her is the equivalent of "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Now try the candidate who passionately opposed and voted against the 2003 Iraq Invasion. Whose largest campaign finance contributors are workers unions and the bulk of whose campaign money comes from small personal contributions. Who has from his induction into the political field championed the poor and the Middle Class and campaigned against lobbying. Who has promised, without mincing words, to take on Corporate America, make the super-rich pay their fair share of income and estate tax and bring back the Public Option to Healthcare.
Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who is not polluted by the corruption of the establishment. He is the only candidate that qualifies as the candidate of change. There are many who fear that the office of president is fast becoming a figurehead for an oligarchic dispensation that has taken power away from the people. Voting for Bernie Sanders will give us a chance of reversing this trend and putting political power back where it belongs -- with the people.
This is Iowa's moment of truth. May the state become the harbinger of what is to come in all subsequent caucuses and primaries and in the presidential elections in November 2016 -- and elect Bernie Sanders as it's Democratic Presidential Nominee.