April 13, 2016

MALPASS | A Vote for Something Different

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As much as I hate politics and, more specifically, politicians, it would be a waste if I did not use my column to back my favorite horse in the race, especially with the New York primaries bearing towards us. There is an important choice coming up for Democrats and Republicans alike. Both will have to make the decision to back a candidate who is firmly a part of the establishment, or one decidedly contrary to it (if you’ll forgive my super hip ’60s counterculture lingo). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) and Hillary Clinton on the side of the political establishment, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Donald Trump opposed to it.

Before I continue, I don’t wish to imply that the candidates in either group are interchangeable, far from it. A Cruz presidency would look very different than a Clinton one (to say nothing of the differences between a Sanders and Trump presidency). And I’ll be frank; I do not believe either frontrunner for Republicans are qualified for the job. The top choices on the GOP ticket are a demagogue and a fundamentalist, and I can’t really imagine a world of difference between the presidencies of the two.

Some might find it odd that I put the Senator from Vermont on the side of the anti-establishment candidates. After all, Sanders has held public officer for 26 years of his life. And it’s true; he is a still a politician. However, Sanders has consistently stuck to his populist, peaceful values and that is what sets him apart from all the rest. He is everything the Democratic Party said it would be, but has failed to truly follow through on. So, while it’s a national embarrassment that we’ve never had a female president, I firmly support Bernie. A vote for Clinton would be a vote for the status quo. Time and time again she has reversed her views simply because they were no longer popular. I understand that one’s opinion can change with time, but isn’t it convenient that her position changes just as the topic becomes politically expedient? Bernie has maintained his support of key liberal values by opposing the death penalty, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act and offshore drilling. Clinton, though she may now sing a different tune, supported every one of these measures. Her support of gay marriage is only three years old.   Sure, I want my elected official responding to the changing and evolving views of the nation, but I do not want a candidate who panders to ensure political victory.

Douglas Adams is famous for his quote, “Iit is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.” I’m under no illusions that Bernie is the messiah sent to deliver the Democratic Party, I simply find he lacks that oily coat that every other politician seems to wear. Maybe he has that hunger to rule just like the other candidates, but if he does it cannot be as strong. Why else would he take a break from politics to teach at Harvard University and Hamilton College, or remain unaffiliated for the majority of his career? The fastest way to power in politics is through the two-party system. Clinton on the other hand, with her repeated attempt at the presidency and climbing of the political ladder, seems to possess that drive. I don’t wish to make the Frank/Claire Underwood analogy, but she has a hunger for power that makes me uneasy.

Many of Bernie’s detractors have called him an idealist, but isn’t that exactly what we need right now? Sure, no president can achieve all he or she sets out for (he will have work with Congress after all), but I’d rather a president who wants to reach a perfect world than someone content to only make it part way. Clinton is a great politician, and she would be a perfectly okay Democratic president, but she is not the best option for the party.

If you feel dissatisfied with the Democratic party I urge you to cast your ballot for Sen. Bernie Sanders this coming Tuesday. The challenges facing our country and our world are too pressing to elect the option of lesser change. We are dangerously close to hitting the point of no return for global temperatures and carbon emissions, the one percent are getting richer while the rest are getting nowhere, and the War on Drugs continues target and cripple the lower class while doing nothing to address the actual problem of drug abuse. Bernie will fight tooth and nail to solve these issues, Clinton I’m not so sure. Vote against the status quo this election season. Vote for true integrity and change.

Feel the Bern.

Soren Malpass is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. He can be reached at skm94@cornell.edu. Sorenity Now appears alternate Thursdays this ­semester.

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