Democrats aren’t used to it. The last time the country experienced a presidential election, President Obama coasted through primary season as the incumbent. The Republicans, on the other hand, spent that time beating each other into submission, with Mitt Romney emerging as the lone survivor in 2012.
The 2016 election cycle will be a bit different, as Obama will ride off into the sunset and the office of Commander in Chief will be a toss up. While both Democrats and Republicans will be fighting their respective party members for the nomination, the general consensus is that Hillary Clinton will breeze through the primary, with little or no legit threats pushing back at her. Despite this, news broke on April 28 that Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, will announce on Thursday that he will be making a run for the White House, and will be doing so as a Democrat.
Sanders lines up with most of the Democratic party line, but oftens attacks party members and does so from the political left. With President Obama’s recent support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.), Sanders points out that too many politicians, Democrats and Republicans, are influenced by big money on Wall Street. “All of the major corporations want to continue with this trade policy. Wall Street wants to continue this trade policy. The drug companies want to continue this trade policy,” Sanders said during a radio interview on April 23. “Organizations representing American workers and the environment do not want to continue the trade policy. They want new trade policies,” the Vermont Senator told listeners, commenting that, “Hillary Clinton and every candidate out there should in fact address whether or not they support this T.P.P..”
“If you want to understand why the middle class in America is disappearing and why we have more wealth and income inequality in America than we have had since the late 1920s, you have to address the issue of trade.”
One of the biggest knocks on Hillary Clinton is the large sums of money she has received over the years from outside interests, including Wall Street and from foreign governments, most notably from Saudi Arabia who have a laundry list of human rights violations against them. Clinton has spoke out against the negative effects of money in politics, but has gladly taken big money over the years.
Those who attack Clinton from the left don’t just do so when it comes to money and trade policy. Clinton has advocated, at times, for military intervention in the Middle East, and voted for the Iraq War; but has since openly regretted that decision. Sanders, to his credit, has been against not only the Iraq War from the start, but against most other wars moving forward. Sanders has pushed to decrease the the United States’ bloated military budget, advocating to use that money instead for rebuilding the country’s failing infrastructure, and investing in education and job training programs.
Clinton is viewed, in many areas, as Republican light. Now, this isn’t to say that Clinton is a staunch conservative, she’s not. She’s a supporter of Social Security and Medicare, social welfare programs, and is defender of women’s rights and other liberal and progressive causes. Sanders challenge is not that Clinton is a conservative, but that she is of the old guard, one that isn’t liberal enough and who is too mixed in with “politics as usual.” Clinton’s big money will likely drown out Sanders voice, as well as others, but the longest-serving Independent member of Congress would provide a welcome change to Washington. Sanders is expected to make his official announcement on Thursday.