Today is my birthday – the big three-one! But instead of presents. food, or drinks, all I want is for whatever money my friends and family might spend on me to go straight to the presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). And it’s not just because I know that Bernie Sanders is the best choice to be America’s next president. It’s because Bernie’s fundraising prowess is likely to be the number one thing that ends politics as usual in the United States.
We’re not just funding Bernie Sanders on the path to the Oval Office – we are funding a political revolution. The revolution itself does not need money for its own ends, but it needs to prove that honest fundraising can compete with the billionaires and the entrenched establishment. Against all odds, Bernie Sanders is doing just that. On grassroots power alone, the old guy from Vermont is out-raising the juggernaut political machine that backs former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
What keeps Clinton in this race? It’s money, not popularity or skill. With Iowa and New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders proved that his ideas and proposals are viewed far more favorably. Yet, despite winning half the Democratic-leaning voters in Iowa and well more than half in New Hampshire, Bernie Sanders has only picked up a meager handful of endorsements from fellow politicians. Clinton is winning the endorsement game among members of Congress. Why?
These members of Congress want access to Clinton’s political machine and its vast fundraising capabilities. Why, despite president Bill Clinton’s “tough on crime” legislation, poverty-amplifying welfare reform, and industry-sapping NAFTA, do black Congressmen still overwhelmingly prefer Hillary Clinton? Money.
It speaks volumes that, while Hillary Clinton is receiving glowing praise from black Congressmen who need to fund current and future campaigns, black intellectuals are quite critical of the former First Lady. When there’s no money needed from the Clinton machine’s fundraisers, Hillary Clinton loses a lot of luster. How many of Clinton’s Congressional endorsers really believe she is a superior candidate to Bernie Sanders? How many have thrown in their lot with Clinton to receive access to her corporate and millionaire donors?
We need to show politicians of all stripes that it is possible to win without making deals with the establishment, without pledging obedience to political machines. Bernie Sanders is showing them the way and revealing that it is possible to succeed, and excel, as a bold independent. He is taking on the machine, and he is winning.
By proving that a politician can fund a campaign while not bowing to the Washington establishment, Bernie Sanders can fix our broken political system. How much of our Congressional gridlock is caused by politicians’ slavish adherence to the whims of powerful donors and special interests? If politicians could be made confident enough to break free from their financial chains, what all could be accomplished?
They might start telling the truth and voting for the interests of their constituents. They might stand up to Fortune 500 bullies and meddlesome lobbies. They might start putting people and progress before pandering and profits. But they will only be brave enough to do this if Bernie Sanders can prove that it is possible to buck the system and still win.
If Bernie Sanders cannot maintain par with Hillary Clinton, especially in terms of finance, countless politicians will refuse to consider breaking free from the chains of their wealthy donors and influential lobbyists. By out-raising her, however, he stands to bring politicians themselves into the revolution. Once people know the revolution works, they will embrace it in droves.
Never give up, and always Feel The Bern.