Former Vice President Joe Biden is presently in the lead after winning a commanding number of delegates on Super Tuesday and the March 10 primaries — the largest contests thus far. However, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is not too far behind and major primaries, such as Florida and Illinois, are yet to come. The progressive wing of the Democratic Party still has a fighting chance against the moderates.
Young voters and students should look beyond bold promises and support candidates who can do more than simply make them.
The deep divide in the Democratic primary between progressives and moderates spells for a divisive presidential election in November. The American people may still ultimately be left with an ideological battle between democratic socialism and capitalism.
Sanders advocates for Medicare for All and free college tuition. Students should be skeptical. Not only are the senator’s policies a bureaucratic nightmare, but it’s unlikely they would pass even if he was elected. He would have to work with Congress, where most Democrats and Republicans are wary of his proposals. In other words, Sanders doesn’t have the votes.
On the off chance Democrats gain the four Senate seats rated as toss-ups by 270 To Win — a nonpartisan political forecasting website — moderate lawmakers in the party remain deeply divided on these issues. They will not rally around Sander’s far-left policies especially regarding healthcare. Many moderate Democrats are shunning Medicare for All, according to reporting by Politico.
“I think people do want to have the opportunity to keep private insurance,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).
Unlike Sanders, both Biden and Trump will be able to work with the current political landscape. Biden was in the Senate from 1973 to 2009. He has worked with many Democrats and Republicans currently in the Senate and got the votes required to pass the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare. This experience would allow him to pass a moderate agenda built on compromise that’s good for the American people.
Trump — say what you will of him — has actually accomplished many things during his term in office as well. This includes implementing tax cuts, passing criminal justice reform, passing aid for communities affected by the opioid crisis, passing a major North American trade deal and most recently negotiating a peace deal in Afghanistan. He’s much more successful than his Republican predecessor George W. Bush, who started two wars and bailed out the banks in 2008.
Sanders, on the other hand, hasn’t actually done much in the Senate and doesn’t want to compromise. He has only sponsored three bills that became law in his 13 years in the Senate. Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — a moderate — had 14 in the same period of time.
Unlike Sanders, Biden and Trump have the ability to get things done on a bipartisan basis and get the job done, which is something young voters should focus on.
Young voters should also realize Sanders’ policies would, for the most part, not benefit them. Sanders very blatantly said in the second Democratic debate that his policies would require a hike in middle-class taxes. This wouldn’t be in the interest of most college graduates, since they would most likely be footing the bill as future taxpayers. Free college would also potentially devalue the benefits of a degree.
Ultimately, nothing major will change upon the election of Biden, or the reelection of Trump, which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. Free college and free healthcare wouldn’t only fail to get passed but would hinder the future of young people if it would.
Illinois residents should remember to get registered and vote early, or on March 17. Absentee ballots are available for non-Illinois residents on a state-by-state basis.