Bernie Sanders: the underdog in the political spotlight

Dylan Barnett, Staff Reporter

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has worked his way up from just another independent presidential candidate into a main contender on America’s political stage. The 73 year old Democratic-Socialist has spoken out against issues such as income inequality, climate change, and getting money out of the political system for his whole life. Now as a nominee on the Democratic ballot, he has become fully devoted to fixing these problems that he recognizes as the “most important questions of our time [which will] determine the future of our country.”

As debates rage on between Republican candidates about immigration and trade, Sanders continues to focus on other issues because he believes they are more significant problems in America today. He claims our political system is corrupted by the influence of billionaires and corporations, the American workforce is overworked and underpaid, and that college education is unaffordable and debt is tormenting graduates. Sanders thinks these are the reasons America is not succeeding as a world leader.

While his political platform has been widely unheard of in the past, Sanders is rapidly gaining popularity as millions of Americans begin to recognize the sincerity of his campaign and the severity of the issues in which he is addressing. According to a March 2015 Huffington Post poll, Bernie Sanders was only at a mere 4.9% in comparison to Hillary Clinton’s 60.1%. By August, Sanders escalated to a staggering 23.4 % while Clinton fell to 47.1%.

The reason for this drastic increase in Sanders’ fame is mostly because he is trending amongst the younger generation of Americans. Many younger citizens can connect with his progressive ideology that focuses on preserving the well-being of Americans for future generations. Connor Wood (12) says “I really admire the attention he gives to issues such as civil liberties and personal privacy, and he just seems to be the most dedicated to the well-being of this nation for generations to come rather than just focusing short-term solutions to temporary problems.”

Although Sanders is on his way up in the polls, there are still many who doubt that he will actually be able to accomplish many of his goals as president. Many Americans believe the radical changes he wants to make as president are not realistic and could not make it through congress. Daniel Tomback (12) states, “As much as I would like to see all college tuition to be free, I don’t think it’s possible for Sanders to make such a drastic change so quickly. He also doesn’t have the leadership skills that Trump has, and therefore would not be able to get anything done.”

Whether or not Sanders makes the cut as the 45th president as the United States, the fact that he is able to challenge the status quo of the American political system and gain so much support for doing so is truly astonishing. Very seldom does an independent candidate such as Sanders gets this far in the presidential campaign, and this is only the beginning of a very interesting campaign trail that has a lot of potential.