POLITICS
Why I'm Feeling the Bern
by Ridgley Knapp
2016-03-11 08:00:00
Bernie is the best candidate for the job, hands down, and I don't just say that because I fit the demographic of white, young, and male. Sorry Crooked Hillary, Little Marco, Big Donald, Rafael, and 1 for 41 Kasich.

I am not supporting Senator Sanders just because I fit into the demographic of “young voter.” One only has to look at the Chronicle’s poll of Brunswick students to see that Florida Senator Marco Rubio would win the youth vote here in Greenwich. I am not supporting Sanders because he is or is not a member of “the political establishment,” a term that’s being thrown around almost haphazardly this presidential cycle. Yes, Sanders has served in the Congress since 1990, first as a Representative, later and currently as a Senator. However, he remained the longest-serving independent in Congressional history, up until he was forced to register as a Democrat to satisfy ballot laws in several states. I am supporting Sanders because I think everyone else is worse. Let the roast begin.

Donald Trump, while more moderate than many think him to be, still remains a Pat Buchanan figure in the race, basically saying whatever xenophobic, racist, frankly stupid nonsense he can think of on the campaign trail, at debates, and at rallies. The February 13th Republican Debate in South Carolina was only the most recent occurrence of Trump’s stream of consciousness style of campaigning, where he seemed to blame then-President George W. Bush for the 9/11 Terror Attacks. Not only was this attack insensitive to those touched by the tragedy, it also was very unwise: South Carolina loves the Bush family, and George W. Bush still holds a high favorability rating among Republican voters.

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, while an accomplished litigator, does not have enough legislative experience to be President of the United States. But Ridgley, you say, he has as much as Barack Obama did in 2008. I say you’re incorrect. Before being elected to the United States Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate. Prior to his election, Cruz was Texas’s Solicitor General for an equal number of years as Obama was in the Illinois Senate. Cruz is more fit to be a federal judge than to be leader of the free world. Not to mention Cruz’s belief a constitutional amendment should be accepted that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, his support of the death penalty, and the fact that everyone he has ever met seems to despise him.

Marco Rubio seems like a decent guy, I’ll give him that much. Eloquent speaker (most of the time), well-rehearsed, squeaky-clean record (except for that one thing in that bathhouse). But he is against raising the minimum wage, as most conservatives are, and has skipped some 35% of Senate votes since he announced his candidacy for President.

John Kasich, well John Kasich’s a tough guy for me to attack. I’ll be frank; I like Kasich. He seems to have, what is it, a brain. He probably wouldn’t be half bad. That being said, under Kasich’s leadership, Ohio has closed the clinics of half its abortion providers. While he does acknowledge Obergefell v. Hodges as law and does not support a constitutional amendment overturning it, he maintains that he believes in “traditional marriage.”

The greatest threat from any of these four, however, resides not in the executive branch, but in the judicial. The issue of appointing Supreme Court justices has been thrown into the fore with the unexpected and tragic passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, an incredibly respected jurist and Reagan appointee to the highest court in the land. Scalia was one of three justices expected to retire after the next President took office in 2017, the other two being Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy (another Reagan appointee) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Now, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to push off nomination of a Justice to fill Scalia’s seat until after the election, the next President will most likely appoint three Justices to the Supreme Court. If that President is a Republican, more than likely these justices will lean to a conservative, strict Constructionist reading of the Constitution.

Strict Constructionism is not bad in its own right, but often leads to bad results. Strict Constructionists, by definition, believe in a literal interpretation of a legal document. Therefore, they do not accept many of the arguments liberals tend to use to enact liberal policies - gay marriage, abortion - through a 21st century interpretation of the Constitution. This sounds all fine and good until one realizes that the states are not all happy, accepting places. Some states have curtailed minority, LGBT, and women’s rights through voter ID laws, bans on gay adoption, and the closing and defunding of abortion clinics. Jeb(!)/Jebrah/Little Jebbie Bush seems to have closest to the right idea on the courts- he is quoted as saying he would not have a litmus test for Supreme Court justices, answering no when asked if he would appoint justices who would overturn the seminal pro-choice decision of Roe v. Wade.

So why am I not #ReadyForHillary? Hint: it does not involve emails. I do not think Hillary Clinton would be a bad president, but some parts of her record present a story she probably wouldn’t be proud of. As a Senator, she voted to authorize the Iraq War. Up until 2013, she was against gay marriage, and her eventual change of opinion smelled vaguely of political expediency. Bernie Sanders, alternatively, voted against the war in Iraq. He supported gay marriage long before Clinton did.

But Bernie doesn’t grasp basic economics. I could write for days on why that statement is flawed, but this article is due like three days ago. Just remember this: while the Democrats may take back the Senate in 2016, the House is very likely to remain in Republican hands. The House will not pass Bernie’s most radical proposals. They will be compromised down to acceptable levels. In short, I am supporting Bernie Sanders because I want more liberal justices on the Supreme Court, and I think Hillary Clinton changes her mind based on political expediency. Sanders is an authentic candidate and can win as long as he chooses a good running-mate (looking at you, Elizabeth Warren).



Why I'm Feeling the Bern

I am not supporting Senator Sanders just because I fit into the demographic of “young voter.” One only has to look at the Chronicle’s poll of Brunswick students to see that Florida Senator Marco Rubio would win the youth vote here in Greenwich. I am not supporting Sanders because he is or is not a member of “the political establishment,” a term that’s being thrown around almost haphazardly this presidential cycle. Yes, Sanders has served in the Congress since 1990, first as a Representative, later and currently as a Senator. However, he remained the longest-serving independent in Congressional history, up until he was forced to register as a Democrat to satisfy ballot laws in several states. I am supporting Sanders because I think everyone else is worse. Let the roast begin.

Donald Trump, while more moderate than many think him to be, still remains a Pat Buchanan figure in the race, basically saying whatever xenophobic, racist, frankly stupid nonsense he can think of on the campaign trail, at debates, and at rallies. The February 13th Republican Debate in South Carolina was only the most recent occurrence of Trump’s stream of consciousness style of campaigning, where he seemed to blame then-President George W. Bush for the 9/11 Terror Attacks. Not only was this attack insensitive to those touched by the tragedy, it also was very unwise: South Carolina loves the Bush family, and George W. Bush still holds a high favorability rating among Republican voters.

Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz, while an accomplished litigator, does not have enough legislative experience to be President of the United States. But Ridgley, you say, he has as much as Barack Obama did in 2008. I say you’re incorrect. Before being elected to the United States Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served three terms in the Illinois Senate. Prior to his election, Cruz was Texas’s Solicitor General for an equal number of years as Obama was in the Illinois Senate. Cruz is more fit to be a federal judge than to be leader of the free world. Not to mention Cruz’s belief a constitutional amendment should be accepted that would define marriage as between one man and one woman, his support of the death penalty, and the fact that everyone he has ever met seems to despise him.

Marco Rubio seems like a decent guy, I’ll give him that much. Eloquent speaker (most of the time), well-rehearsed, squeaky-clean record (except for that one thing in that bathhouse). But he is against raising the minimum wage, as most conservatives are, and has skipped some 35% of Senate votes since he announced his candidacy for President.

John Kasich, well John Kasich’s a tough guy for me to attack. I’ll be frank; I like Kasich. He seems to have, what is it, a brain. He probably wouldn’t be half bad. That being said, under Kasich’s leadership, Ohio has closed the clinics of half its abortion providers. While he does acknowledge Obergefell v. Hodges as law and does not support a constitutional amendment overturning it, he maintains that he believes in “traditional marriage.”

The greatest threat from any of these four, however, resides not in the executive branch, but in the judicial. The issue of appointing Supreme Court justices has been thrown into the fore with the unexpected and tragic passing of Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, an incredibly respected jurist and Reagan appointee to the highest court in the land. Scalia was one of three justices expected to retire after the next President took office in 2017, the other two being Associate Justices Anthony Kennedy (another Reagan appointee) and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Now, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s pledge to push off nomination of a Justice to fill Scalia’s seat until after the election, the next President will most likely appoint three Justices to the Supreme Court. If that President is a Republican, more than likely these justices will lean to a conservative, strict Constructionist reading of the Constitution.

Strict Constructionism is not bad in its own right, but often leads to bad results. Strict Constructionists, by definition, believe in a literal interpretation of a legal document. Therefore, they do not accept many of the arguments liberals tend to use to enact liberal policies - gay marriage, abortion - through a 21st century interpretation of the Constitution. This sounds all fine and good until one realizes that the states are not all happy, accepting places. Some states have curtailed minority, LGBT, and women’s rights through voter ID laws, bans on gay adoption, and the closing and defunding of abortion clinics. Jeb(!)/Jebrah/Little Jebbie Bush seems to have closest to the right idea on the courts- he is quoted as saying he would not have a litmus test for Supreme Court justices, answering no when asked if he would appoint justices who would overturn the seminal pro-choice decision of Roe v. Wade.

So why am I not #ReadyForHillary? Hint: it does not involve emails. I do not think Hillary Clinton would be a bad president, but some parts of her record present a story she probably wouldn’t be proud of. As a Senator, she voted to authorize the Iraq War. Up until 2013, she was against gay marriage, and her eventual change of opinion smelled vaguely of political expediency. Bernie Sanders, alternatively, voted against the war in Iraq. He supported gay marriage long before Clinton did.

But Bernie doesn’t grasp basic economics. I could write for days on why that statement is flawed, but this article is due like three days ago. Just remember this: while the Democrats may take back the Senate in 2016, the House is very likely to remain in Republican hands. The House will not pass Bernie’s most radical proposals. They will be compromised down to acceptable levels. In short, I am supporting Bernie Sanders because I want more liberal justices on the Supreme Court, and I think Hillary Clinton changes her mind based on political expediency. Sanders is an authentic candidate and can win as long as he chooses a good running-mate (looking at you, Elizabeth Warren).