By David Turnoy
Back in the early 1990s, when I learned that there was a socialist Congressman from Vermont named Bernie Sanders, I was thrilled. Finally, I thought, a person with my political views is in somewhat of a position of power. I began contributing small amounts of money to keep him in the Congress and keep his ideas in circulation.
When Bernie declared himself a candidate for president last year, though I was skeptical due to his age, I was ecstatic. He quickly proved that he has the physical constitution of a much younger man, so his age was not an issue. I helped put on some local events for Bernie, and in my position as vice chair of the county Democrats, I ran the Orcas Democratic Party caucus and the county convention, where in both cases Bernie triumphed handily, as he did throughout our state. Bernie inspired millions of new participants to jump into the campaign, fighting for such causes as raising the minimum wage, free college, reducing student debt, single payer health care, fighting climate change, and so many other very important issues. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the system was used against him, and Bernie did not win the nomination. However, in the process of the campaign, the eventual winner adopted most of Bernie’s positions.
I am writing today, as a Bernie supporter, to ask you to vote for the Democratic nominee for president. Yes, her name is Hillary Clinton, and yes, she has a lot of baggage. However, the platform adopted by the Democratic Party, which Hillary will be expected to bring to fruition, is just about everything Bernie was calling for in his campaign, and it is the most progressive platform in history. And in fact, Bernie is asking you to vote this way as well. Here is what he said in an interview on Sept. 20: “I’m a United States senator, and I have a responsibility to the people of my state—also to the people of this country. The first thing that I’ve got to think about is: What does a Donald Trump presidency mean for the people of my state and for the people of this country? And for the people of the world? I think it would be an absolute disaster. It would be beyond a disaster. Therefore, as a United States senator, I’ve got to do everything that I can to make sure that Trump does not become president.
“Now, do I have strong differences of opinion with Hillary Clinton? I think the whole world knows that. The goal here is not to say, ‘Hillary Clinton is the best thing in the history of the world—she’s great, she’s wonderful, she’s terrific.’ What we should be saying is that if you look at virtually all of the issues of importance to the people of this country—issues like making public colleges and universities tuition-free — Hillary Clinton is now on record for doing that for people making $125,000 a year or less. You know what? That is pretty revolutionary. That will transform the lives of millions of families in this country. That’s what Clinton stands for.
“Clinton is on record supporting a doubling of community health centers in this country, which will mean that tens of millions of people—poor people—will have access to health care that do not have it today. Is that significant? It is very significant. Clinton is on record supporting pay equity for women, so that women do not continue to make 79 cents on the dollar compared to men. I happen to believe that one of the great crises facing the planet is climate change. Donald Trump happens not to think that climate change is real. Clinton takes it seriously.
“The point is not to say that we love Hillary Clinton or that we agree with her on all of the issues. The goal is to go above that and ask: Which candidate will do a better job for middle-class and working-class families? I think the answer is obvious.
“The second point to be made is that politics does not end the day of the election. The day after the election, when Hillary Clinton wins, you can be assured that I and other progressives will be saying to President-elect Clinton, ‘Take a good look at the Democratic platform that you supported—because together, President-elect Clinton, we are going to implement that platform. We’re going to involve millions of people in the process who are going to break up the large Wall Street banks, who are going to make public colleges and universities