America is “feeling the Bern” as Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, continues his highly publicized campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. While Sanders and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic front runner, vie for the top spot in battleground states like Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders continues to draw most of his support from a grassroots campaign of mainly young progressives.
Some political analysts say that Sanders has a fighting chance at winning the nomination, especially as Clinton flounders in recent polls, but others maintain that his self-branding as a “socialist” will prevent him from doing as well as the more moderate Clinton.
Sanders's rallies regularly draw 30,000 supporters, but some say that though they agree with his progressive ideals, they will not vote for him in the primary. Just this week, billionaire and reliable Democratic donor Warren Buffett told CNBC that he admires Sanders, but will still direct his primary vote to Clinton. Buffett went on to praise Sanders for his commitment to fighting income inequality and to overturn Citizen’s United, saying “He’s not going to get elected, but I admire him.”
The question now for Buffett and other Sanders admirers/Clinton supporters is: “Are you going to vote for the candidate that you think can win or for the candidate that best reflects your values?” If voters choose a candidate based on their likelihood to succeed, they will inevitably create a self-fulfilling prophecy. The “he’s not going to get elected” mentality could leave the country in a very bad place.
Voters supporting the candidate that they think will win rather than the one they want to win could lead to a political climate where America has a leader who most Americans disagree with. Voting for someone in a presidential election is basically signing a contract that says, “I support this person and I believe that they would be the best leader for our country for the next four years.” Voters who vote against their own beliefs doom themselves to a climate of dissatisfaction and distrust of the government that exists for the purpose protecting our freedoms, our dignity and our rights. In a government that is truly “for the people, by the people,” the people choose elected officials based on who they admire, not on who they think will get elected.
As college-age voters, most BC students will be voting in their first primary and general election in 2016. As campaign season is now in full swing, it is worth remembering that each person’s vote should reflect their beliefs about who will be the best president, not about who will win.