While the 2016 US Presidential election is still over a year away, twenty candidates (fifteen Republicans and five Democrats) have announced their intention to seek their respective party’s nomination. As a US citizen with the right to vote, I am keeping a close eye on all the developments of this race…I’m also doing this because I’m a massive nerd.

Bernie Sanders is an independent senator from Vermont who caucuses with the Deomcrats. Raised in a working class in Brooklyn, Bernie stands on a platform of financial responsibility and the importance. According to his campaign’s official website, this translates into proposed policies such as free tution in public colleges and universities; reduced interest rates on student loans; raising the minimum wage and investing in infrastructure redevelopment. This is combined with making election day a federal holiday to make voting more accessible; doing more to help prisoners and criminals with substance abuse problems; tackling pay inequity for women and supporting the deal made with Iran by the Obama administration.

I wouldn’t call myself a liberal. In fact, many people may find some of my political beliefs to be rather conservative. However, I shall be voting for Bernie Sanders in March, when Washington State holds its open caucus, and if he is chosen to be the Democrat’s candidate, then I shall be voting for him again in November.

Why? Because to me, Bernie Sanders makes sense. In a world where a degree can make the difference between getting and not getting a job, we should be encouraging people to go to college, not putting them off with annual fees, on average, of $16,325 for community college and $23,410 for a a public university and that’s before you factor in the 4.66% interest rate set on the loan you’re likely to take out to cover the cost.

“But!” I hear you cry at your computer screen, “Where’s he going to get the money to this a possibility?” Well I’m glad you asked, disembodied voice of a potenial reader. By investing in infrastructure redevelopment and youth work programs, Senator Sanders would help create a cycle of prosperity: more jobs-better infrastructure-more jobs-more disposable income-bigger spending-more jobs. In addition, he would fight for higher corporation tax and a progressive estate tax to target those who inherit more than $30 million.

I love America, I really do and another reason I plan to vote for Bernie is because of his stance on justice and immigration. As I mentioned in my brief synopsis of his policies, he wants to give those with substance abuse problems mental health and medical help, rather than simply incarcerating them, creating an America where we take responsibility for those citizens who aren’t as fortunate as us, rather than locking them away so we don’t have to think about them. He also wants to ‘demilitarize’ the police force and invest more in community policing as well. In terms of immigrations, while certain Republicans want a mass deportation of 11 illegal immigrants, Bernie’s presidency would bring those 11 million ‘out of the shadows’ to help fight the abuse and manipulation they face due to their status. To me, Bernie Sanders’ campaign wants to create a fairer, safer America for all who reside within the nation’s borders.

So there you go, a (relatively) brief pitch as to why I’m backing Bernie Sanders. Now allow me to cross the aisle and explain why this election’s current crop of Republican candidates genuinely terrify me.

At the time of writing, 15 Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination. Currently leading the pack is one Donald Trump. There is much that scares about Trump- from his pro-business stance so that his companies will get to pay less tax to his apparent disgard for the well-being of anyone who doesn’t share his skin colour. An Epic Rap of History from the Youtube channel of the same name back in 2012 had Obama and Romney spitting phrases for control of the White House. The battle is interupted by Abe Lincoln, who tells Romney that “it’s a country, not a company, that you can play like Monopoly” and I feel that sums up Trump’s campaign- this man has no real political experience but he does have business experience and that’s how he’d run America- boost profits; remove the elements that are wasteful or make the structure as a whole look bad and enact aggressive takeovers of other entities.

Moving away from Trump, we come to the number of candidates whose current actions and proposed policies are hurting and will continue to hurt America. Bobby Jindal, for example, is the Governor of Louisana and currently sitting at 0.3% in the polls. He was one of the most vocal advocates for the defunding of Planned Parenthood, a motion that was formally past last Friday. This move makes it harder for one of America’s largest providers of reproductive health care and sex education to combat the damage done by abstinence orientated sex education. Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is currently second in the polls, likened Obamacare to slavery- because remember kids, health care and medical plans that don’t put you in crippling debt are a bad thing.

My final fear stems from a number of the Republican candidates talking about intergrating their faith into policy making. Now, I respect all faiths and all religions but I am uncomfortable about a president who decides how the country works and what laws are adopted based on their personal interpretation of their faith. Faith is a very personal thing and, by extension, a very subjective thing and so, I believe that it should be kept as your personal beliefs and not applied to an entire nation.

So there we are, a summary of why I’m backing Bernie Sanders and what I fear about those opposing him across the aisle.

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