April 18, 2016

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | A progressive, or a “progressive”?

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To the Editor:

In the 1990s, President Bill Clinton did not roll back the Reagan Revolution — he completed it. He ushered in an era of mass incarceration, signed into law grotesque “welfare reform” legislation that wrought havoc on the American poor and stood behind insidious attacks on the rights and livelihoods of LGBTQ Americans. The U.S. has never recovered from this sharp rightward political shift, nor has the Democratic Party. But in the primaries this year, voters have a chance to salvage the Democratic Party’s status as the electoral champion of working people.

If you disavow the toxic role of money in politics, there is only one candidate who stands with you by refusing donations from massive super PACs. If you reject the international violence of the U.S. military-industrial complex, there is only one candidate who has stood up to the war-machine by opposing regime change abroad. If you are aggrieved by the collapse of American manufacturing, there is only one candidate who has stood with working people in opposition to disastrous free-trade agreements. That candidate is Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).

Make no mistake, this Democratic primary race is not between a progressive and a “progressive who gets things done.” It is between a “New Democrat,” who champions centrism at the expense of working people and the environment, and a social democrat, who rejects the neoliberal consensus, the crony capitalism and the flawed campaign finance system underlying the modern two-party system.

While Hillary Clinton served on Wal-Mart’s board of directors, Bernie Sanders was busy — and is still busy —fighting the unjust poverty wages paid by the retail giant. While the average donation to Sanders’ campaign is a mere $27, you can attend a Clinton fundraiser for a few thousand dollars. And while Sanders has championed efforts to bring single-payer healthcare to the U.S., Clinton has attacked Sanders’ efforts to bring universal healthcare to Americans, even though, in her own words, Democrats shouldn’t attack other Democrats over universal healthcare.

On Election Day today, ask yourself: do we want a “progressive,” or do we want a progressive?

Kyle Friend ‘17

Christopher Hanna ‘18

Jevan Hutson ‘16