#FeelTheBern

The 2016 presidential election is officially less than 10 months away and things are beginning to get interesting. On the right, the GOP field is beginning to thin out a bit, with Lindsey Graham, Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal, and Rick Perry all dropping out of the race in the past months. One candidate who does not seem like he’s going to run out of steam any time soon is Donald Trump, builder of walls and defender of America. Trump inexplicably remains at the top of the polls and has actually gained momentum despite his divisive rhetoric and controversial statements. Republican flavors-of-the-week Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have more or less sizzled out after benefiting from a post-debate bump in the polls. Former Establishment sweetheart Jeb Bush currently has dismal support in the polls, essentially placing all hopes of a Bush dynasty on hold. In his wake come two Cuban-American junior senators, Ted Cruz from Texas and Marco Rubio from Florida, who are currently battling it out for second place.

On the left, it is beginning to look a lot like 2008 again. Hillary Clinton, who was all but handed the Democratic party’s nomination by pundits and the party itself, is quickly losing support to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Until just recently, the Clinton campaign and the mainstream media dismissed Bernie Sanders as a grumpy old socialist who posed no threat to Clinton’s “inevitable”  victory. But Sander’s support has grown rapidly through his masterful performance at the Democratic debates and unwavering commitment to serving the American people. Sanders is now only seven points behind Clinton in national polls– down from 20 percent just one month ago and is actually ahead of her in two crucial states: Iowa and New Hampshire.

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This recent surge has put the Clinton campaign on the offensive. Her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, bashed Sander’s proposed single-payer healthcare system and college affordability plan in front of a New Hampshire audience this Thursday. According to Chelsea, “Sen. Sanders wants to dismantle Obamacare, dismantle the CHIP program, dismantle Medicare, and dismantle private insurance.”  She continued that she doesn’t “want to empower Republican governors to take away Medicaid, to take away health insurance for low-income and middle-income working Americans,” and thinks “that’s what Sen. Sanders’ plan would do.”

Sanders has yet to release a healthcare proposal as a presidential candidate, but his campaign has stated that he would base it on the American Health Security Act of 2013, a bill which he introduced into the Senate floor. The bill would strip insurance benefits from the Affordable Care Act, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, Medicare and Medicaid, and ban the sale of private health insurance that provides the same benefits provided by the government program. The system would leave it up to state governors to implement the specifics of the program, granted they follow federal criteria, and would punish uncooperative states by allowing the federal government to take control of their healthcare systems.

Chelsea’s statement was partially correct in that healthcare as we know it today would be completely revolutionized. Yes, Sanders plan would more or less entirely scrap the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), but it would replace it with a single-payer system that would extend the benefits of Medicare to people younger than 65. People would lose their current health insurance, but Sander’s plan would be immediately supplant it and extend insurance to every legal resident in the United States. While her statement was somewhat accurate, her main point that Sanders’ plan would “empower” Republican governors to take health insurance away from low-income citizens is false as they would have no control over their state’s practices if they refused to comply.

The attack on behalf of Chelsea confused many Democratic strategists and Sanders himself, with many taking it as a sign of desperation by the Clinton campaign. Sanders has been wearing at Clinton’s support since he first entered the race in and has recently gone from unlikely outsider to serious contender within the span of a few months. Seeing as how Sanders has run his campaign on honesty and consistency, it is hard for camp Clinton to do anything other than try to smear Sanders.

The Clinton offense began in after a Sanders staffer was caught looking at the Clinton campaign’s information due to a glitch in the Democratic voter database. Democratic National Committee head Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida suspended the Sanders campaign’s ability to access the fifty-state voter base, a crucial blow to their ground efforts. The Sanders campaign quickly fired the staffer that gained access to the information, a staffer that they actually hired on the suggestion of the DNC.  After filing a lawsuit against the Democratic party, Wasserman Schultz restored Sanders’ access to the database. This attack blew up in Clinton’s face, simply showed the DNC’s bias towards Clinton and served to Bernie Sanders’ favor, helping him raise over $1 million.

After days upon days of attacks on behalf of the Clinton campaign, Sanders remains unscathed. In fact, his campaign actually seemed to benefit from the onslaught. Between Tuesday and Thursday of this past week, about 66,000 people contributed over $1.9 million to the Sanders 2016 campaign after the campaign sent out a fundraising appeal to combat Clinton’s attacks. Once again, Clinton’s own plans to defame the Sanders campaign have backfired and have actually helped her opponent. Now I know that this is the game of politics but by resorting to these cheap tactics, she is making herself look disrespectful, unprofessional, and just plain silly. The Clinton campaign seems to be using these attacks as a means to bait Sanders into swooping to her level thus discrediting his campaign’s “no personal attacks” stance, but is simply showing voters how shady and dishonest Hillary Clinton can really be.

Tonight, the three Democratic candidates will duke it out again in the first Democratic debate of 2016. Sanders looks to continue riding the growing wave of momentum he’s benefited from since the second half of 2015 while Clinton will try desperately to defend her shrinking lead. Former governor of Maryland Martin O’Malley will also be there, providing an alternative to the Republican-lite Hillary Clinton and democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. This will be the candidates last chance to sway potential voters before the decisive Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary on February 1 and 9 respectively. Winning these contests will give that candidate well-needed boosts in the polls that could easily make-or-break the campaign and will also set the tempo for the rest of this election year. If Sanders manages to come out on top in those two contests (which he has a real chance of doing), it will further accelerate his momentum and place him in a position in which he is able to repeat the upset of 2008 and take the Democratic nomination away from Hillary Clinton.

As a news media organization, it is important for us to remain impartial, present the facts, and let the readers form their own opinion. But we feel that there is a particular candidate in the 2016 field that is so dedicated to serving the people, who has a proven track record, and who has the brightest vision of the future of America that it is imperative that we must support them and their campaign. That being said, In Loco Politico gladly endorses Senator Bernie Sanders for United States president. We believe that in trying times such as ours, where men like Donald Trump are attempting to fear monger American versus America, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate qualified and willing to unite our country and help it progress forward. If you are a citizen of voting age, we strongly encourage you to register to vote and read on all the candidates positions to see which one you see eye-to-eye with the most. If it so happens to be Bernie Sanders, we encourage you to go to this website which details how and where to vote for him depending on your state. If you’re not voting for Bernie Sanders for the thought of a prosperous America, then at least do it to force Bill O’Reilly to make good on his promise to flee to Ireland if Sanders wins.

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