A millennial’s advice on what Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton can learn from each other
One thing is becoming clear about the 2016 Presidential election: Americans are actually giving a damn about politics. That could be bad news for Democrats.
It’s widely known that voter turnout tips elections toward the Democratic Party, which had a massive showing in the New Hampshire—so, great…right? Not really, because the GOP blew those numbers out of the water with 30,000 more ballots cast.
We’re looking at the first time in American history when popular opinion facilitated the rise of a Republican field so absurd that, given victory, its prospective presidencies could well result in America having more in common with a scene from Idiocracy than an actual country.
This being said, I think both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have some work to do if they plan on averting the looming bizzaro apocalypse that the GOP is ready to deliver on January 20th. Here’s some ideas how the candidates can learn from one another to win this election.
Stop trying to be relatable.
Face it. To 99% of Americans, it’s highly unlikely that Hillary Clinton will ever be perceived as “relatable” in any sort of compelling way. Even her best attempts (see: SNL Bar Talk) feel canned and forced, like we should be laughing with her, but we’re really just sort of…uncomfortable.
So, what can Hillary learn from Bernie? She needs to drop the bullshit act. Because what a lot of Americans care about most is being able to trust a candidate and understand their thought process—the “why” behind the “what”.
As a millennial, I’m supposed to care about honesty and authenticity, and you know what, I do. That makes it hard for me to support Hillary Clinton, when she pathologically dodges tough questions, like why she never supported gay marriage until 2013, or how she can promise campaign finance reform, while happily raking in Super PAC funds.
Even if I won’t like the truth in every case, I want to know. People gravitate towards Sanders because he tells it to you straight. To win the nomination, then the Presidency after that, Hillary needs to focus on the truth, not just what she thinks Americans want to hear.
Facts are not policies.
I confess, I feel the Bern. But it’s not just some hazy banner of “revolution” that made me—and a lot of 18–30 somethings—actually feel passionate (and not completely jaded) about participating in the political process.
I’m on board with most all of Bernie’s stances, when it comes to the issues, and I think he has the straightforward, zero-bullshit rhetoric necessary to get ideas in motion on a massive scale. But aside from several novel plans, like turning post offices into banks, the Sanders campaign is unnervingly devoid of any tangible policy details.
To be fair, many political campaigns stray towards the idealistic, but Hillary Clinton’s more conservative agenda gives her Presidency an inherent sense of pragmatism amid the unfriendly far-right climate in Washington. If it’s hard to imagine Hillary making progress, it’s even more difficult to picture how a Sanders Presidency would be anything but a stalemate.
That being said, Sanders needs to come to the next debate armed with specific details on how he’s going to get it done, not just facts and figures. Otherwise, the heat is going to keep going up—and Bernie will risk watching an impressive campaign turn into a fever dream.
Put ’em down below.