This election season started off with a promise to stay above the dirty politics of the Republican Party. The Democratic field had promise. You had many options to choose from but it came down to Secretary Hillary Clinton or Senator Bernie Sanders. On one side you have a life-long Democrat who has been in the public eye since graduating from Wellesley College. On the other side, you had a self-described Democratic Socialist who has been an Independent for his entire political career. Now we are reaching the finale of this primary season and Bernie Sanders needs your help more than ever. Do you know of his record? Do you know what he wants from you? Well let me give you a little information on the man who wants a revolution to achieve a utopian world that he has been fighting for since his days in college.
Bernie Sanders wants to give you free college and free healthcare. He has a plan to pay for it, but do you know the truth behind the plan? To put it bluntly, it is based on the idea that the United States will have an average economic growth of 5% over the length of his term. Now this sounds amazing, but is not based in reality. Jeb Bush guaranteed that he would produce a 4% economic growth rate and he was laughed off the stage for his outlandish promise. No President has been able to maintain a 5% growth rate through their entire term in office. Sure, you can point to the couple instances during Reagan’s term. You could even point to the five instances in Clinton’s term, but we are not in the 80’s or 90’s and those rates are fantasy and hope. We can not run a country on hope, just ask our current President. He was able to achieve great things through unbelievable opposition in Congress, but he couldn’t produce a 5% growth rate. So basing a tax policy on made up numbers gives us fantasy, not change we can believe in. Even if Sanders were able to produce this 5% growth, many estimates would put us at least $1 trillion short of his goal to offer you those free items. Furthermore, the idea of free college would require that every state contribute at least 33% of the funds required to offer you that education. How many Republican-led states do you think are lining up to give you that free education when the goals of those Republican leaders was to limit funds for the state colleges during the current term. This is just one of the many lines that Bernie Sanders has given on the stump. Let’s look at some of his other claims.
Bernie Sanders likes to point to his congressional record as proof that he can get his agenda passed, but if you look closer at his actual record, which can be found at www.congress.gov, you will begin to notice a trend. Yes, he has been fighting for the same issues for decades, but year after year, he introduces the same legislation and gets the same result, FAILURE! He seems to think that if he keeps introducing the same legislation over and over again, it will appear he is working hard for you, but what it truly shows is he is not working hard enough to follow through. He has had three bills pass through Congress. Now I know you will say that is being unfair because he has co-sponsored hundreds more. You may even try to point to a Rolling Stone article that claimed he was the ‘Amendment King!’ Yes, Sanders has attached his name to many other bills that were not written by him or introduced by him. He has also pushed through many amendments to mainly spending bills that had little opposition because of the frequent nature of spending bill amendments, but you must look at the substance of the record. His actual congressional record shows that he has done little to actually pass a progressive agenda that he now promises to give you as President. With a success rate of about 1%, is that the change you want to believe in?
Bernie Sanders likes to attack his opponent for votes that she never actually took. Take for example the 1994 Crime Bill that was passed by Bill Clinton. Yes, Hillary spoke in support of the crime bill. She gave speeches on why it was important to reign in the levels of violent crime that we began seeing spike in the late 1980s. Yes, she used the term ‘Super Predator’ to describe violent gang members who seemed to have no problem preying on young teens to bring them into a life of violent crime. No where in that speech did she equate a race into the conversation as Sanders likes to insinuate. He knows exactly what she was talking about because he actually voted for the bill because he was the only candidate that was a member of Congress at the time. He also gave a speech on the House floor and described those same violent criminals as ‘Sociopaths’ but he won’t admit that on the campaign trail because that would make him a hypocrite. Instead, he puts all the blame on Hillary Clinton for being a vocal supporter of a crime bill that even the Congressional Black Caucus backed at the time. He also pins the blame on Hillary for the amendment that the GOP inserted into the crime bill that implemented harsh sentences. Hillary didn’t approve those additional requirements, but Bernie Sanders voted for the bill with those sentences in the bill. He also claims that he only supported the crime bill because it had a ban on assault weapons. However, the fact is that he also voted for the previous version of the bill that did not include the assault weapons ban.
Bernie Sanders likes to attack his opponent for her acceptance of SuperPAC money. He claims that this makes her corrupt and indicates a Quid Quo Pro on her part for accepting the donations. However, he neglects to mention that he happily accepted $10,000 from a Hillary SuperPAC in 2006 for his Senate re-election bid. He also forgets to acknowledge that he accepts money from other PACS, typically unions, lobbying groups and other special interest groups. While these groups are not a SuperPAC, they still bundle money and give to Sanders. So if he is accepting these donations, does this also make him corrupt? The fact of the matter is that in order to compete in today’s political environment in a post Citizens United world, candidates much take as many donations as possible. In the 2012 Presidential election, Barack Obama raised $1 billion in order to retain the White House. Do you honestly think that Bernie will be able to raise that much money on the backs of $27 donors when he refuses to raise money for down ballot Democrats now? He has put his support behind three current progressives who are running campaigns against Democrats for their prospective seats. This is not the way to become the leader of the Democratic Party. While it is commendable that he wants to be the independent success story, the truth is, without the rest of the party, he will have no success leading it. His campaign has been built on a false record and has created animosity between a party that needs to be united if we are going to change the country in a progressive way. Every American has the right and duty to vote. Every American should vote based on truth. Do you research, do not allow words make the decision for you. If it sounds too good to be true, you may need to do more research. Our democracy is too important to let fantasy decide our future.