Bye Bye, Bernie

Bernie Sanders has dropped out of the presidential race, leaving millions wondering what the future holds.

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courtesy of mic.com

Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign will likely have a positive and lasting effect on America’s understanding of social inequality.

Julia Poppa, Staff Writer

On April 8th, supporters of Bernie Sanders all across the country withstood a wave of shock and sadness, as the news broke that their candidate of choice had chosen to drop out of the 2020 presidential race. 

I was hoping for a Sanders’ victory this coming November, but as 2020 has thus far proven to be a year of disappointment, I can’t exactly say that I’m all that surprised. His decision to exit the race has now forced me, as well as many other American citizens, to wonder what the future of this country holds — and considering the current state of the world, it is frankly beginning to look quite bleak. 

In the time of a deadly viral outbreak, fear does not discriminate based on political beliefs. Left or right, radical or reactionary we are all affected by the pandemic. But despite our unified fear, our government has refused to devise a unified solution. We have sought answers about the pandemic and how it is being handled, how the government is helping people who have lost their jobs during this crisis and how it is helping those who have had to continue to work outside of their homes and on the front lines fighting this virus, but we have received few definitive answers. 

As we watch our current situation unfold, many eyes have fixated on Washington, and President Trump in particular, waiting for some semblance of genuine concern to slip from his mouth. 

On March 20th, one reporter from NBC, Peter Alexander, asked President Trump what he had to say to the millions of American citizens who are scared. Trump responded: “I say that you are a terrible reporter, that’s what I say. I think it’s a very nasty question.”

Regardless of political belief, a response like this is insulting, to say the least. Republicans and Democrats alike are working to fight off a pandemic that has damaged the livelihood of all American people. Dismissing a question as simple as Alexander’s also dismisses the work that first responders have done and the hope they have tried to instill in the American populace, hope that leaders, including Trump, should be trying to spread. 

Instead, we have been left to state governments as our main source of action, turning eyes now to the actions of presidential candidate Joe Biden to see what actions he would take in the event of his election.

It is safe to say that the presumptive Democratic nominee has acknowledged the severity of this crisis more than President Trump has. Biden has promoted several approaches to healing America from this pandemic, including the Defense Production Act, the appointment of a supply commander, a Bank Defense Protection Act, and the importance of collecting more inclusive data regarding infection and death rates of minorities in the US. 

Yet I can’t help but notice that many of Biden’s suggested policies were at the front of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for the past two election cycles.

In the words of Anna Bahr, a spokeswoman for the Sanders campaign, “In many ways, this pandemic has made the case for a lot of the policies that the senator has spent 35 years fighting for. Reality has endorsed Bernie Sanders.”

Since Sander’s shift from the physical campaign trail, almost all of his campaign efforts have been turned to the coronavirus pandemic. In the interviews he has since conducted from home, he has continuously argued that the US would be better prepared — and more resilient — had the nation been more open to implementing the policies he advocated long before the coronavirus was a concern.

But what Sanders’ supporters will miss most about the former candidate is his personal integrity.

Both Trump and Biden have faced and/or are facing sexual assault allegations. Trump has racked up 24 allegations against him, whereas Biden currently has one. Of course, an allegation is merely that.  At this time, guilt has not been proven.

Truly, we have come incredibly far as a country in regard to women’s rights and equality, but neither candidate shows a particular inclination for protecting the health and safety of women across this country the way Sanders has. He had a more definitive and relevant approach to helping protect the women of this nation, including in his campaign a specific point to end sexual harassment and discrimination in every area the government has access to control, including the workplace, military, and several other institutions. 

Beyond these sexual assault allegations also lie concerns of age-related mental decline. Biden holds four years over Trump — both men are in their 70’s, a time when mental decline may begin. Many accusations have left people with the impression that Biden has become senile in his old age, but as an article from The Washington Post highlights, these persistent attacks on Biden from the Republican Party may be in an attempt to distract from clear signs that our current president may also be facing mental deterioration. 

Although Sanders was the oldest of the three, at 78, his decisiveness never left supporters wondering whether or not he was mentally fit to take on the Oval Office. And while it may have been his tendency to lean a bit far to the left that led Biden to seize victory, Sanders was a beacon of hope for millions of progressive voters, all hoping for a breath of fresh air. His presence on the campaign trail will be missed, and his dedication to helping bring light to passed over and forgotten issues in this country will never be forgotten. His campaign gave people hope, knowing that there was someone in power with their best interests at heart 

So thank you, Bernie, for supporting us in return.