Experience feels the ‘Bern’

This June, Californians have the opportunity to advocate for momentous change.

On Tuesday, June 7, we will choose between a candidate who embodies nearly every negative aspect of the Democratic Party and a candidate who embraces the best ideals of the party of Roosevelt and the Great Society. It is for this reason the Experience endorses Sen. Bernie Sanders as the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

Sanders has regularly shown himself to be forward-thinking throughout his 25-year stint in the House and Senate, from his support of gay marriage to protecting a woman’s right to choose and defending the social programs gleefully cut under the Clinton administration. Sanders has also been an outspoken opponent of the toxic effects of big money in politics — a stark contrast to Secretary Hillary Clinton, who raised more money from Wall Street last month than any of the three Republicans still running at that point.

Besides economic and social policies, many polls show Sanders to be the candidate with the better chance of beating Donald Trump in November. Americans often state their disdain for career politicians, and to put forth a candidate who not only has the Democratic establishment engaging in trench warfare to win her the nomination, but actively promotes the very trade deals which have gutted blue collar jobs in the Midwest seems a dangerous proposition going into battleground states like Ohio and Michigan.

This speaks, too, to Clinton’s quality as a national candidate. In 2008, she lost the nomination to a first-term senator with a name ripe for Islamophobic fear-mongering — something not lost on her campaign, which released photos of then-Sen. Barack Obama wearing a turban on a trip to Kenya. This election, she’s seen a massive lead over an independent democratic socialist rapidly diminish as she’s turned to attacks on longtime liberal goals like universal healthcare and government-funded college, two mainstays of Sander’s platform. Twice she’s had the Democratic nomination presented to her, and twice she’s done her best to blunder it away. This is not the candidate Democrats want to pit against a Republican nominee who has made short work of his billionaire-backed rivals.

That said, with a historically uncooperative Republican-controlled Congress, it’s unlikely either candidate will be able to enact any of their policies, no matter how much they run toward the political center. This means the next President’s role as commander-in-chief will prove to be even more crucial than usual. Sanders, in his voting against the Iraq War and his recommendation of restraint in Syria, again shows the gulf between himself and Clinton, whose enthusiasm for American intervention abroad should serve as a massive red flag for anyone who thinks America’s policies in the Middle East have had less than desirable outcomes.

“When the choice is between action and inaction, and you’ve got risks in either direction, which you often do, she’d rather be caught trying,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, Sec. Clinton’s director of policy at the State Department. This urge to commit America’s war machine to conflict in Iraq and Libya has led not only to failed states, but hundreds of thousands of dead civilians, thousands of dead Americans and territory for ISIS to operate in. Better safe than sorry, indeed.