Even though I’m currently studying abroad in London, I’ve been keeping apprised of news regarding the 2016 presidential campaign. In the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a subtle war between my Tufts friends who support Senator Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination and those who support former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This conflict has taken place over Facebook and Twitter and is mainly conducted via meme-sharing and hashtags. Still, it seems there is a significant divide between those who support Sanders’ candidacy and those who support Clinton’s.
I’m a registered Democrat, and I’m a Clinton supporter but not necessarily because I like her policies more than Sanders’ ideas. I want to believe in the political revolution that Sanders is selling to his supporters, but unfortunately, the reality of the American political situation precludes me from supporting this election cycle’s “hope and change” candidate.
It’s very easy to get caught in the Tufts ideological bubble; we go to an extremely liberal university. However, the majority of the country does not share the beliefs of Tufts students. Most of the state legislatures have a Republican majority. Most of the state governors in the United States are Republicans. The Republican Party has a majority in Congress and will most likely remain in power in both the House and the Senate after the 2016 election. Even the Supreme Court has a conservative majority, with five members having been appointed by Republican presidents. If the Democratic nominee does not win the presidency in November 2016, Democrats will have severely diminished influence in the United States.
If Senator Sanders is the Democratic nominee, I’m not confident that the American public will vote for him. Maybe Sanders would encourage youth turnout, but his candidacy would still divert older, more moderate voters. Regardless of whether the Republican nominee is Donald Trump or an establishment candidate, the political revolution Sanders wants to occur may not happen.
I, personally, want a Democrat to be sworn into the White House in January 2017. My reasoning goes beyond simple ideological leanings; I do not want a Republican president because I am terrified of what that may mean for the country. More specifically, I am terrified of what that may mean for children who will be growing up like I did. I am the daughter of a single mother. I was raised in Hell’s Kitchen in New York City—if you’ve ever seen the Netflix show “Daredevil,” you’ll know that isn’t the nicest place to live. In my early childhood, my mother worked three jobs to put herself through university and get us out of that situation.
A significant reason my mom was able to accomplish this is because of government assistance. When I was younger, we were on food stamps. We were receiving Medicaid. My mom was on a government program called “Women, Infants and Children,” which was created to support poorer mothers. Federal government programs helped my mother and me significantly; they’re a large part of why we got out of the ghetto. They’re a large part of why I am able to go to Tufts on a full scholarship today. If a Republican president is in office, I don’t know what will happen to these government programs that helped my family when I was younger.
I’m not supporting Senator Sanders for many reasons, but the primary one is this: I don’t believe that he can win against the eventual Republican candidate. I believe that Clinton can, and moreover, I like her and believe that she can get results. I wish that my fellow students supporting Sanders would take a moment to think about the implications of a Republican presidency. I was lucky enough to have the federal government to support me when I was young. I don’t want to see a generation of children without the opportunities that I had because a Republican was elected president over a Democratic socialist.