The first contest of the 2016 presidential race for Democrats, the Iowa caucus, is this Monday, February 1. A Quinnipiac University poll released today shows Bernie Sanders leading Hillary Clinton, the candidate once called “inevitable,” by four points in Iowa. As one final pitch for the best candidate, here are 16 reasons why all Iowans should vote for Sanders.
1. SANDERS IS SCANDAL-FREE
Polls from the end of 2015 show a colossal 60% of Americans do not think Hillary Clinton is honest and trustworthy; 36% think she is. With Bernie Sanders, it’s the opposite. 55% think Sanders is honest and trustworthy, 24% think he is not. This is due to, as Weekend Collective noted, the constant scandals and lies Clinton was and is involved in. Sanders’ long career in politics has been refreshingly devoid of scandal.
2. HE HAS MORE EXPERIENCE
Seriously. Clinton has only spent 8 years in an elected position, as senator for New York. She spent 4 years as Secretary of State and 8 years as first lady, both unelected positions. Contrast these 20 years of elected and unelected positions to Sanders’ 32 years of elected office. He spent 8 years as a mayor, 16 years in the House, and 8 years (and counting) in the Senate.
3. HE’S THE MOST POPULAR SENATOR IN THE NATION
Last year he had an 83% approval rating in Vermont, higher than any other U.S. senator in their respective states.
4. SANDERS REFUSES CORPORATE CASH
Clinton’s top donors are big banks and corporations like Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs, and Time Warner. Sander’s top contributors are unions like the National Education Association, United Auto Workers, and the Laborers Union. Sanders declared he doesn’t want money from corporations or the wealthy, and refuses to use a Super-PAC.
5. HE SHATTERS RECORDS
Sanders reached 2.5 million campaign donations faster than any presidential candidate in U.S. history, including Barack Obama. He has also drawn far larger crowds than Clinton (her campaign claims Clinton prefers small crowds), such as 26,000 people in Boston, 28,000 in Portland, 27,500 in Las Vegas. Nearly 400,000 have flocked to see him since his campaign began.
6. UNLESS YOU MAKE $250,000 A YEAR, YOUR TAXES WON’T RISE MUCH
If you make between $28,800 and $250,000, your taxes will go up about 2%. Those making more will see their taxes raised 5-7%. This, as well as tweaks to capital gains and dividend taxes, will increase government revenues by nearly 50%, helping fund Sanders’ bold new social programs.
7. SANDERS CALLS FOR FREE HEALTHCARE AND COLLEGE FOR ALL, AND A JOBS PROGRAM FOR THE UNEMPLOYED
Through his tax plan described above and by ending corporate tax breaks and closing tax loopholes that allow the wealthy and corporations to hide much of their money in tax havens outside the U.S., Sanders proposes creating a jobs program in which the unemployed would work to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure and making public colleges and medical care free for all citizens.
His website lays out how each proposal will be paid for (and how some proposals will generate revenue greater than their cost). With healthcare, for example, what a typical family pays currently for private insurance is far greater than said family’s increase in taxes to cover universal healthcare. There will no longer be a need for the insurance giants Clinton supports.
8. HE SUPPORTED GAY RIGHTS LONG BEFORE CLINTON
While Clinton supported anti-gay legislation in the 1990s and didn’t voice support for gay marriage until 2013, Sanders called for the legalization of gay marriage in 2009, opposed the discriminatory legislation that Clinton supported, and has shown in his words and actions to stand for human rights since 1972, when he called for an end to laws banning homosexual behavior in Vermont.
9. HIS “SOCIALISM” IS NOTHING TO BE SCARED OF
Sanders calls himself a democratic socialist, but his policies are that of a social democrat. Basically, his “socialism” is just an expansion of popular Democratic programs–expanding Medicare to cover all citizens, expanding Social Security, changing Pell grants and student loans into free college, more closely regulating Wall Street and giant corporations, etc. See Weekend Collective’s “Bernie Sanders Barely Scratches the Surface of What Socialism Is.”
Also, think about it: calling yourself a socialist is not likely to make a presidential bid easier. It speaks to Sanders’ willingness to stand for what he believes, to be honest and open.
10. MOST AMERICANS AGREE WITH HIM
Sure, don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. But, as the Washington Post reported, a majority of Americans agree with his stances on key issues. This country may be more “socialist” than you thought.
11. SANDERS MARCHED WITH DR. KING
It’s true. Not only did Bernie Sanders join in the famous 1963 March on Washington, he was involved with the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) at the University of Chicago, protesting police brutality and organizing sit-ins for racial equality. He was arrested in 1962 for protesting segregation.
12. HE WANTS A $15 HOURLY MINIMUM WAGE; CLINTON THINKS THAT’S TOO GENEROUS
Sanders has been calling for higher wages for working people for a long time, and believes the minimum wage must be raised to $15 an hour. Clinton, caught between a liberal base that demands an end to the widespread poverty in the U.S. and her corporate backers, settled on a $12 hourly minimum wage. This despite the ample evidence that higher minimum wages actually leads to job growth and raises prices only an insignificant degree.
13. SANDERS WAS, UNTIL RECENTLY, IGNORED BY THE MAJOR MEDIA, BUT OVERTOOK CLINTON ANYWAY
For example, after the first Democratic debate in October, media outlets like CNN declared Clinton the winner (CNN is owned by Time Warner, which donates to Clinton’s campaigns), but many polls and focus groups showed viewers thought Sanders the victor, from Fox News to Slate, to Fusion, Time, The Drudge Report, Daily Kos, and CNN itself! Despite being dismissed, Sanders is now leading by a hair in Iowa, crushing Clinton in New Hampshire, and gaining ground in other states and nationally.
14. SANDERS JOINS ORDINARY PEOPLE IN PROTESTS
Sanders, an activist since his days in college, still finds time to join causes he believes in. He joined the NAACP Journey for Justice march in D.C. in September, Verizon workers on a picket line in New York in October, fast food workers striking for a higher wage in D.C. in November.
15. HE FLIES COACH
Sanders is not a poor man. It is estimated Sanders is worth $330,000, Clinton $15 million (not counting Bill Clinton’s even greater wealth). Still, Sanders is a humble, down-to-earth man. People often take pics of him as he flies coach around the country.
16. HIS UNOFFICIAL CAMPAIGN SLOGAN IS LIKELY THE GREATEST IN AMERICAN HISTORY
“Feel the Bern,” created by Sanders fanatics, represents the mass excitement over his political revolution. Sanders supporters are so passionate, and as Sanders is a person of deep integrity and vision, who wouldn’t want to join?