Why you should vote for Bernie even if you don’t agree with him on every issue

As I’ve written previously, I’m a former Republican who is now an enthusiastic supporter of Bernie Sanders. Yes, I’ve shifted on certain issues, but in many ways, I still lean conservative. I talk to a lot of people who, while they appreciate Bernie’s authenticity, there are just too many issues in which they disagree with him. I think that’s okay and it’s still possible to be someone who “feels the Bern”.

Let’s be realistic here. If Bernie Sanders becomes president, it’ll be really difficult to get most of his platform implemented. He’d have to work with a Congress in which he’d have very little support. Over the years, he’s shown the ability to push through legislation in creative ways and making alliances with people across the political spectrum — but as president, that’ll clearly be more difficult.

Political revolution takes time. But it needs to start somewhere. Bernie’s made it clear that this movement is not about him. Even in the most optimistic scenario, it’d take a generation or two to see enough hearts and minds change to get to a full implementation of his platform. But it needs to start somewhere. We can’t get rid of the influence of money on politics immediately but we can start chipping away at it. We can’t completely extricate ourselves from all of our military engagements around the world but we can start pulling out slowly and refuse to engage in meaningless wars going forward. We won’t be able to make immediately improvements to the opportunities for the less privileged in our society, but we can declare that the top 1% of the wealthy in America should not have an increasingly larger share of our country’s wealth.

We need a change in the status quo. The other candidates give lip service to solving our nation’s problems but the reality is that they’re beholden to an inherently corrupt and broken system. I don’t buy the argument that we need to try to work within the system. The deck is stacked against the poor, ethnic minorities, LGBT, and other non-majority groups in our society. The American Dream has become almost impossible to achieve. The system is broken. The status quo is unacceptable. We need a political revolution.

One might argue that Hillary Clinton’s more pragmatic approach would be more effective in implementing real change. The way I think about that approach is it’s basically like asking those outside the privileged class to accept the crumbs that have fallen under the table; yeah, basically treating us like dogs. On paper, it looks like Clinton and Sanders have very similar policy positions, but the difference between the two is 1) the intent and 2) the approach. Clinton believes she can implement these policies within the existing system; Sanders believes the system is inherently corrupt and broken. Clinton adopts policies that will help her get elected; Sanders has been extremely consist in his positions throughout his political career. We need systemic reform, not just a bunch of legislation passed to pad someone’s political legacy.

You don’t have to agree with everything Bernie says. Don’t get hung up about that. Don’t get hung up about thinking that your taxes will go through the roof — the current Congress wouldn’t allow it. If you think some of his ideas are crazy, even if they find their way to becoming law, they’ll certainly be tempered through the political process. I certainly don’t agree with Bernie on many issues, but I still enthusiastically support his candidacy for President of the United States because he is our only hope for starting to make real and lasting change in our great nation.

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