Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders Emerges as Popular Hillary Alternative
Last week, Salon published an interview with Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders titled “Why I might run in 2016.” While Sanders has yet to officially announce any bid or even be involved in an opinion poll, the buzz about the lone Democratic Socialist Senator in the country has since surpassed Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, and every other 2016 candidate, particularly on Twitter.
In the Salon interview, Sanders expressed his frustration with the status quo in Washington and broke down some of his positions that drastically separate him from the rest of the Democratic pack.
Among the key issues is the Affordable Healthcare Act which Sanders believes doesn’t go far enough. “We have so many people who will continue to be uninsured under the Affordable Care Act,” said Sanders, “we need to move toward a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system.”
Sanders says the biggest crisis the United States faces “is the growing disparity in income and wealth that exists in America.” He notes that the top 1 percent holds 38 percent of all the wealth in America while the bottom 60 percent holds just 2.3 percent. “In terms of income,” Sanders says, “the last statistics we have seen from 2009 to 2012 tell us that 95 percent of all new income in this country went to the top 1 percent.”
Sanders went on to say that he would work hardest to fix unemployment. He points out that unemployment numbers are improperly counted. “Real unemployment is not 7.2 percent,” Sanders said, “it’s close to 14 percent, including those people who have given up looking for work, and who are working part-time. Youth unemployment, youth unemployment is close to 20 percent. African-American youth unemployment is close to 40 percent. These are crises.”
Although Sanders has only been in the Senate since 2007, he is one of the most experienced politicians in Washington. Sanders was Vermont’s lone congressman from 1991 to 2007 and served as the Mayor of Burlington, Vermont for eight years before that. His core issues have long been implementing a single-payer healthcare system, curbing global climate change, full rights for the LGBT community, and directing government funds to the poor and middle class rather than large corporations.
(Image courtesy of AFGE)