“Are you ready for a political revolution?” On June 26th, 2019, Bernie Sanders commenced his Santa Monica rally with this question that caused tremendous applause from the audience. The Santa Monica High School’s Greek Amphitheater was filled with hundreds of supporters, who earnestly listened to Sanders’ speech. This rally is one of the many events that this presidential candidate hosted to publicize his 2020 election campaign against his fellow contenders, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Bernie Sanders’ political campaign revolves around America’s fight for racial, LGBTQ+, and income equality, all of which are cornerstones for his 2020 presidential campaign. His affordable health care and prescription drug plans are for Medicare to negotiate with “big drug companies” for lower prices through the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act. However, Sanders’ most controversial proposal is “Medicare-for-All,” a policy that would provide universal government health care to citizens, regardless of age.
Andy Hou, a junior from University of California Santa Barbara and attendee of the rally, voices that this health care plan may be “met with great resistance by both political parties.” This proposal initiated much debate earlier in 2019 due to the prospective costs and the large likelihood that private insurance premiums would go out of business.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation, almost 70% of Americans favor Medicare-for-All after hearing of its positive effects, such as eliminating health insurance premiums and reduce out-of-pocket costs. However, only 40% of Americans remain in support of this policy after finding that it would most likely lead to higher taxes: the only feasible funding for providing such widespread health care.
Controversial issues, such as these, are the exact topics Bernie Sanders tackles at his presidential campaign rallies. He spoke about the importance of health care for all people as citizens are “dying because they cannot afford the medicine they desperately need.” Sanders promises that “whether the [pharmaceutical industry] likes it or not, [he’s] going to end their greed.” His campaign emphasizes the need to focus attention on the 99% of American citizens that aren’t living a utopian life.
Bernie Sanders is also targeting the young adult population by gaining the support of singers, actors, and pop culture stars. Tina Turner voiced her support for Medicare-for-All through her speech, where she stated it is “immoral and inhumane to allow some folks to have healthcare and others not to.” Chris Shiflett, the lead guitarist for the rock band Foo Fighters, gave an opening performance and donated $1,000 to the Sanders’ campaign. Danny DeVito and Norah Jones both donated as well.
With the help of these influential figures, Sanders is utilizing a grassroots fundraising tactic, which is comprised mostly of peer-to-peer solicitation. This method of fundraising is popular for many presidential candidates that don’t have significant media exposure or a financial safety net.
As for the 2020 election, Sanders urges all Americans to exercise their right to vote, question the validity of the media’s representation of events, and “think outside of the box” to the solutions necessary for America.
Stella Hong, Grade 11
Whitney High School