Why Bernie: An Open Letter to Iowa and New Hampshire Voters

Bernie family

Dear voters,

In less than a month, you will lead our nation in making an important decision.  The more conservative among you will help determine the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, and the more liberal among you will do the same for the Democratic Party.  Since the next president of the United States will be the most powerful person on the planet, the entire world is awaiting your decision.  The media, domestic and international, will seize upon your decision and publicize it widely, affecting voters who have yet to cast their own ballots.

For better or worse, you citizens have tremendous power and influence.  As a resident of Texas, I will not get to cast my own presidential primary vote until March 1, by which point the mainstream media will already be influencing millions of undecided voters.  Voters across America will be looking for clues and indicators coming from Iowa and New Hampshire.  Though few would readily admit it, many voters are swayed by the bandwagon.

Liberals, moderates, and independents will get to choose from among three experienced and respected Democratic candidates.  Martin O’Malley, despite trundling along at the bottom of the polls, has been a city mayor and a state governor.  Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner, has served her nation as First Lady, U.S. Senator from New York,  and as Secretary of State.  U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the second-place challenger, has won multiple elections as a city mayor, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator.  Most voters will be choosing between Clinton and Sanders when they enter the voting booth.

Dear voters, America needs for you to vote for Bernie Sanders.

I will not attempt to disparage Secretary Clinton.  Clinton is a woman of incredible ability, intelligence, and work ethic.  Like virtually all presidential candidates, she is trying to do what she thinks is best for her country.  I have no doubt that Clinton feels she, and she alone, can steer America to greatness.  Despite any previous political rhetoric I may have typed, occasionally in haste, I have tremendous respect for Hillary Clinton.  She is a great woman, a powerful politician, and she has truly shaped our nation’s politics.

However, Clinton is not the leader our nation needs.  Bernie Sanders is the leader our nation leads.  He has the vision, the fighting ability, and the diverse support that will allow our nation to return to growing prosperity, equity, and international respect.  Nobody else who is running for president has these qualities.

When you go to cast your vote in the Democratic presidential primary, I need you to know that…

Bernie Sanders is a leader.  Though Clinton has tremendous experience and ability, she is more of an administrator than a leader.  As First Lady and Secretary of State, she was not beholden directly to voters and frequently acted under the directives of someone else.  More troubling is the fact that Clinton did not lead public opinion, but rather followed it.  While Bernie Sanders supported progressive and populist ideas, movements, and proposals since his entry into local politics back in the 1970s, Hillary Clinton has only recently “evolved” to promote such views.  Previously, and controversially, Clinton supported the Defense of Marriage Act, “tough on crime” legislation, and the Iraq War.

Hillary Clinton followed public opinion for political gain.  She did not lead it.  Unfortunately, this tendency has even led her to abandon previously-held conditions that would benefit her today, such as her early-1990s support for universal health care.  By trying to attract more supporters, Clinton compromised her views.

Bernie Sanders supported LGBTQ rights before it was popular.  He voted against the Iraq War when it was unpopular to do so.  For decades, he fought passionately to reduce economic inequality…before it was a hot-button issue.  Bernie Sanders is a leader.

You also need to know that Bernie Sanders is a winner, even when the odds are against him.  This presidential election, when liberals, moderates, and independents fear the possibility of Donald Trump or Ted Cruz winning the Oval Office, the focus among the Democratic Party has been to pick a proven winner who can guarantee victory in the general election.  Bernie Sanders is a winner, and has won under the most adverse conditions.  From being considered a leftist “radical” in the 1970s, Bernie Sanders has come, as an independent candidate, to dominate elections all the way to the U.S. Senate.  Running without major party support, Bernie Sanders has become a popular city mayor, U.S. Representative, and U.S. Senator.

Through sheer strength of character, idealism, and connection with voters, Bernie Sanders has achieved the unthinkable.  If anyone can win against the GOP in the fall, it is Bernie Sanders.  He has connected with voters in a way no other candidate has.  He enjoys an unrivaled reputation for honesty and integrity.  Though he may not always come in the most polished, politically expedient package, he connects and wins.

If Bernie Sanders can go from leftist obscurity to being the most popular U.S. Senator in the country, he will easily dominate the general election in November.

Hillary Clinton, by contrast, does not have a track record of winning against the odds.  She has only won two elections in her entire political career, both for U.S. Senator from New York, and during her only non-incumbent Senatorial campaign enjoyed the tremendous support of both the Democratic Party and her husband’s White House.  Critics have derided both of these wins as being rather uncompetitive, with Clinton facing only weak challengers.  Despite Clinton’s political pedigree and strong grit against Republican attacks, she is untested in real political combat.  Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has defeated many better-funded Republican and Democratic foes, growing more popular with voters each and every time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Bernie Sanders is right on the issues.  Universal health care and tuition-free public higher education for qualified students is what America needs.  It works.  Our Western allies enjoy these public goods and face lower per capita costs in these areas than do we.  Despite all the conservative talk about privatization promoting competition, this has not been borne out in reality.  Instead, Americans suffer under outrageous health care and higher education costs.

Eventually, universal health care and tuition-free higher education for qualified students will be a reality in the United States.  How do I know this?  We have tuition-free public school, available for all children, and it works.  It may not be pretty, there may be complaints and eye-rolling, but public school works.  Over 90 percent of Americans send their children to public school.  Our nation is built on public school.  Ironically, conservative Republicans would riot in the streets if the government threatened to do away with public school and force the privatization of K-12 education.

We socialized K-12 education, and it paid tremendous dividends.  Now, president Barack Obama wants to socialize community college, allowing all students to earn an associate’s degree, or complete their first two years of college coursework, free of charge.  Eventually, all four years of higher education will be free for qualified students.  If you show the ability and work ethic, America will someday consider you an investment and not a deep-pocketed customer.

Bernie Sanders wants to get us there faster.  That is leadership.

We have socialized health care for the elderly, the impoverished, and military personnel.  Someday, inevitably, we will realize that universal health care saves money and extend it to all citizens.  Our Western allies have realized this and have improve their economies and their citizens’ quality of life.  If you are sick, you can see a doctor and get what you need to get back on the job.  And, amazingly, the government views this as an investment in productivity rather than a commercial transaction!  This, too, will someday become reality.

Again, Bernie Sanders will get us there faster.  Hillary Clinton, unfortunately, will make no effort in this direction.  Decades from now, she will be criticized as being opposed to progress.  People will question how she, and all the Republicans, thought it was acceptable to allow profit-seeking health insurance corporations and medical providers to make outrageous net income off the backs of the ill and injured.  You know that this is true.

Bernie Sanders wants us to catch up with the rest of the civilized world, including our closest allies.

Dear voters, you know my words contain the truth.  Please keep them in your mind as you approach election day.  When you cast your ballots, the rest of the nation is watching and seeking direction.  You have, therefore, a level of responsibility.  Please vote wisely!


Calvin Wolf


Calvin Wolf

By day, Calvin Wolf is a high school social studies teacher. By night, he is a freelance writer and novelist, penning political thrillers and commentary on politics, education, economics, foreign policy, and culture. In the past, he's worked as a professional cartoonist and as a backpacking guide. He once stood between a mother bear and her cub and emerged unscathed!

2 thoughts on “Why Bernie: An Open Letter to Iowa and New Hampshire Voters

  • Avatar
    January 17, 2016 at 8:15 pm

    As Americans we are required as a civic duty to register to vote in ALL elections from the mayors house to the White House. For several cycles we have been apathetic in our views towards our civic duty, and as a result republicans have been elected and have virtually wiped out everything vital to the poor and middle-class for our very existence!! This year we have a “once-in-a-lifetime’s” chance to do something to address those problems: The election of Bernie Sanders as our 45th President!! We also need to vote out as many republicans as necessary to create an unstoppable voting bloc in Congress!! GET OUT AND VOTE!!!

  • Avatar
    January 17, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Vote as if your very life depended on it, because this year, more than any time in our existence as a country, IT DOES!!! GET OUT AND VOTE, and get your friends, family, co-workers, etc. out and VOTE!!!!

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