Why I am voting for Bernie Sanders

As we move into the 2016 election season, I'm planning to support Bernie Sanders for the Democratic party nomination, and hopefully voting for him in the general election. Bernie Sanders is an old guy who has served Vermont in both houses of Congress for many years. He seems like a true "for-the-people" selfless politician. As far as I can tell, he is not in the pocket of the big corporations: his net worth is lower than nearly every other senator, and he gets his own laundry, and says he won't launch a Super PAC and doesn't want billionaires to bankroll his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.  Why do I support him? Well, I'll start by explaining my position on a bunch of the hot-topic issues. The ones highlighted in blue are ones where Bernie Sanders aligns with my stance, and ones highlighted in red are where I disagree with him. Non-highlighted issues are ones that I'm not sure of Bernie's stance on.

I lean left on these policies

  • Government subsidization of alternative energy
  • Drug decriminalization / legalization
  • Moving towards public / universal healthcare
  • Reduce military spending and in most cases, reduce foreign military presence
  • Generally support higher taxes to pay for social programs
  • Environmental protection, government action in mitigating climate change
  • Eliminate / reduce capital punishment
  • "Voter ID laws" are mostly voter suppression. I'd support making election day a national holiday or vote on weekends. 
  • Net Neutrality
  • I think I'm a supporter of moving towards some sort of "basic income". I think it's just absolutely required as we move more towards an automated workforce.
  • Regulation of financial industry

I lean right on these policies

  • Affirmative action in hiring and college entrance requirements is inappropriate and may do more harm than good
  • Gun owner rights
  • Against government "bailouts" of failing private corporations (like banks) for the sake of economic stability (I'd say avoid these failures altogether with stronger regulations)

I lean libertarian or "other" on  these policies

  • I hate gerrymandering, Super PACS, and Citizens United
  • I am very much against government surveillance of citizens activity on the internet, support civil liberties
  • Expand nuclear power generation (unsure if this lines up more with the left or the right?)
  • I think marriages should be removed entirely from the public sphere, and be left to religious institutions if desired. This is a long shot, so in the meantime I will whole-heartedly support legalization of same-sex marriage (leans left)

No Opinion on / Unsure of my opinion on...

  • Immigration issues (should children of illegal immigrants get citizenship? Should illegal immigrants be denied healthcare?)
  • Abortion
  • Free Trade, globalization, US participation in UN,
  • Education: vouchers for private schools, charter schools
  • Labor / Unions
  • Should a business be able to deny service to a customer for any reason?
  • How to solve the problem of college education cost in the US

Online political surveys

I took 3 online surveys where I note my opinion on the issues, and the software displays results showing which candidate most closely matches my stances

Bernie Sanders is the top result, but notice that he still only "43%" aligns with me, and there were other candidates ("less socialist") that I aligned with more on economic issues.

My results from http://www.isidewith.com/ : (Didn't pair me with a candidate, just a party)

Why not Hillary Clinton?

  • I get the vibe from her that she is a complete demagogue and in the pockets of the big corporations
  • She didn't support gay marriage until it was convenient a couple years ago
  • Voted for the Iraq War
  • Questionable or non-existent opposition to Citizens United
  • Voted for the Patriot Act
  • She epitomizes the idea the democracy in the US is broken, and that you can't get elected without billions of dollars and being part of the "establishment" or the elite
  • Clinton Foundation shenanigans (accepting what is effectively bribe money)
  • She or doesn't support relaxation of drug laws (or didn't until it became popular)

Background reading: In the 2012 general presidential election, I explained why I chose to vote for Gary Johnson in this post. Some of my opinions on the issues have changed since then, but the logic of voting for a "long-shot" candidate in the general election still stands. 


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