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The Mass Media

Bernie takes on the Commons

Four days before Massachusetts residents were set to vote in the Presidential Primary, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders hosted a rally on the Boston Commons. According to Bernie Sanders’s team, approximately 13,000 people were present. Political pundits noted that this type of turnout has not been seen by any political candidate. Bernie Sanders brought out masses of support for his structural change, economic reform, racial justice, and anti-corruption rhetoric. While he certainly stands for a fundamental change in the policies of the United States, how substantive are his policy proposals? And is the change he suggests for our nation beneficial for the overall landscape of the political discourse of our citizens?

One thing was extremely transparent from the crowd; they were mainly young, white and enthusiastic individuals. While the Bernie team probably doesn’t have the exact numbers regarding the demographics of those present at the rally, I would approximate that more than 80 percent of those present were white. While weekends mean that most people are off work, it can be assumed that those working families cannot afford to make a special trip into Boston for a political rally, so I would further make the suggestion that most of those present are financially stable, not the working class Sanders aims his policies at. While there is nothing he could do to work around this, I thought it would be important to point out.

Sanders mentioned our Commonwealth’s rich history in revolutionary activity, as our state was the focal point of the American Revolution. To paraphrase his comments, he stated that, just as Massachusetts was the focal point of the American Revolution, so will Massachusetts be the focal point of his own political revolution. Sanders commented that his revolution is similar in terms of revolting against powerful entities in the United States. 

Sanders, in his comparison, is completely incorrect to create such a parallel. The most famous line used by American Revolutionaries was, “No Taxation Without Representation.” Sanders, in his attempt to make a parallel to the American Revolution, grossly misinterprets the intentions of the American revolutionaries. Either he was not paying attention in the third-grade American History class, or he is intentionally being misleading. This was the entire premise of the American Revolution: across the Atlantic Ocean, King George and his royal government were taxing the colonies, while the colonies themselves had no say in the parliamentary procedure. Bernie’s headline policies, such as “Medicare for All,” “College for All,” and the “Green New Deal,” further expand an already-bloated federal government. His plans for expanding the power of the U.S. Federal Government directly violate the Tenth Amendment of the United States, which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people” (1). Increasing the federal government in economic sectors that it has no place involving itself in, including company bailouts, is antithetical to the mission of the Founding Fathers, and Bernie Sanders is incorrect to make such a comparison.

With the Bernie supporters out in full fling, Bernie attempted to win Massachusetts. However, following the surprising Massachusetts Primary results on Super Tuesday, Bernie Sanders came in second place to Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren, who secured a third place finish in her own home state (2). Based on these results, Bernie Sanders’s visit to the Commons, unfortunately for him, didn’t set him up to win the Massachusetts Primary, though it is clear from the Super Tuesday results that the Democratic race for the Democratic nomination has reached its two finalists: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Joe Biden, an old, worn-out, establishment Democrat who strongly associates himself with the Obama Administration, faces a similarly veteran political figure in the form of Bernie Sanders, who while being in politics his whole life, calls himself anti-establishment for his radical social and economic views. While Democrats complained that they were sick of old white men running the country, it seems that they don’t mind if that old white man happens to be a career-long politician with socialist policies.

  1.  https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendment10.html

  2. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/03/us/elections/results-super-tuesday-primary-election.html

About the Contributor
Matthew Reiad, Opinions Editor