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Bernie Sanders holds Rally in Richmond

Blake Berry '23

Politics Editor

The process of choosing a Democratic nominee for President has been a long and difficult journey for those involved. Starting as early as 2017, if not even 2016, multiple different individuals have run the gauntlet of the race to being nominated as Democratic candidate from the Democratic National Convention (DNC).

As the years passed, and the contest became more intense, candidates began to drop from left to right. And now, deep in the midst of the primary and caucusing process, only two major frontrunners remain: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Bernie Sanders is currently a Vermont Senator, and has been for three terms so far. In addition, Sanders also has experience of sixteen years as Vermont’s only congressman, as well as multiple other political positions, and is now running for President of the United States.

This isn’t Sanders’ first foray into the muddy waters of the Presidential campaigning process either, as he also participated in 2016’s race against Hillary Clinton. Similar to 2016, Sanders is coming face to face against a highly supported Democrat in the form of Joe Biden.

Currently, Biden is leading in the delegate count, which is extremely important in claiming the nomination from the DNC for the Democratic candidate. To achieve this goal, one must earn a majority of the total 3,979 pledged delegates, therefore, a candidate needs 1,991 delegates to receive the nomination.

Although Virginia’s primary has already taken place on the infamous Super Tuesday, it’s still important to understand what the current candidates are all about when going further into the process.

Sanders runs on a platform that heavily relies on benefits for the middle class, as Sanders wishes to stop the abuse of lower socioeconomic classes by the rich.

Some of his major policies include The Green New Deal, Medicare for All and College for All.

The Green New Deal is an environmentally focused plan that will fundamentally change the rules and regulations on current environment and climate-based issues. The plan includes removing the reliance on fossil fuels for America, and shifting the focus to renewable forms of energy that will both help the planet and provide many jobs to millions of Americans, rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, and committing to reduce emissions not just in America, but across the world.

Medicare for All is a plan that will provide healthcare coverage for all Americans in an affordable and useful system that reduces costs on prescriptions, doctor visits, emergencies, and many more utilities that simplify the expensive and complicated healthcare system America currently has.

Finally, one of Sanders’ other large policies, College for All, plans to reduce the debt that many students seeking higher education may encounter. Although this generally applies only to Public Colleges, this could ultimately be the deciding factor that allows many more Americans to find higher education more affordable, granting them the possibility of an education that they could need to further themselves and their careers.

Another one of Sanders’ major facets is that he considers himself a Socialist, which has been a factor that many Americans tend to find unflattering. However, the reality of this title is that he isn’t necessarily a Socialist, so much as a Democratic Socialist. This ideology simply means that Sanders and other Democratic Socialists believe there should be far more of a social focus in the workplace and beyond, or a heavier focus on social justice.

Some neglect to see the difference between Socialist, a term heavily used to describe the Soviets of the USSR during the Cold War or Venezuelans in current times, and Democratic Socialists, following more in the vein of countries such as Denmark. A heavy difference between current and past Socialists and Democratic Socialists is that the latter isn’t planning on removing Capitalism from American society, a worry that many against Sanders have stressed.

To prepare for Super Tuesday, Sanders visited Richmond on Feb. 27 for a rally, which was originally planned to take place at The National, a theater in downtown Richmond, but had to move to the Arthur Ashe Center due to massive interest in the event. After this event, Sanders went towards Northern Virginia for yet another rally which took place on Feb. 29.

Although Biden took victory in Virginia, Sanders’ chance for the nomination isn’t lost yet. The task of getting a majority of delegates is difficult, and far from over. Primaries and caucuses will take place all the way until the summer, culminating in the the party conventions where the winner will receive the nomination.

One issue that may be possible for the very first time is neither candidate receiving the majority of delegates by the party convention. With Sanders looking at another chance at the nomination, and Biden receiving heavy support from fellow party members and Democrats, it’s almost certain neither will drop before the end.

So, in the event of neither candidate receiving the majority, what will happen? The process becomes far more confusing than it already is. The 3,979 previously pledged delegates are combined with an extra 771 “superdelegates,” members of the Democratic Party and the original delegates become unpledged. This now means that every delegate who had to cast their vote for the candidate that their respective location chose can vote for whoever they want as their nominee.

The rest of the race is still ahead of us, with months to go until the actual Presidential Election in November. And by June, the Democrat who will ultimately face President Trump will be revealed to America as the race truly begins.

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