On April 30, Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont, officially announced that he would be running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. He is the first official challenger to Hillary Clinton and is the kind of candidate this election desperately needs.
Sanders is the longest serving independent in congressional history and is the only person in Congress to identify as a socialist. Sander’s voting record is immaculately liberal and the issues he focuses on – namely corporate influence in campaigns and in Washington, as well as income inequality – will force other Democratic candidates further left.
The biggest, and most important difference between the two candidates is in their donor lists. Clinton’s top donors, according to the website Opensecrets.org, include Time Warner, Citigroup Inc., and Goldman Sachs – all major corporations with political agendas that run antithesis to her supposed liberal ideals.
Sanders’ top contributors, on the other hand, include major unions and workers advocacy groups, like the Communications Workers of America, UNITE HERE, and the Service Employees International Union.
Due to the fact that Sanders and Clinton both have similar Senate voting records, I believe that Clinton’s rhetoric will begin to move left in order to appeal to the Democrat’s liberal base. However, Sanders’ consistently liberal voting record and very vocal advocacy for the working class make him stand out. In a presidential race that seems to inevitably be Bush v. Clinton, Sanders is a breath of refreshingly liberal air.