By Andy Christian Castillo
It happened on an uneventful summer day in 2015, when I was absentmindedly scrolling through Facebook. Out of curiosity, I clicked on a video that someone had shared.
There was Bernie, white ruffled hair, oversized suit, holding a mic and gesturing wildly. He was in a town hall meeting in South Carolina — the basement of a church, surrounded by about 20 people, talking about how unfair the prison system was. I was immediately struck by the way he answered questions. He seemed to care about the people who asked them.
One woman stood up and, in tears, asked him how he would fix racism in the judicial system.
He looked her in the eye, and said that he was sorry that the system was biased, and that he acknowledged her pain. He talked about how black men are more likely than white men to go to prison, and said that once a person has been labeled, it’s impossible to break the cycle. Then he broadened his scope and said that children born into this system often find themselves where their parents once were.
I was hooked.
But I wasn’t drawn to him personally, I was drawn to his message.
For the first time in my adult life, I felt like I could trust a politician. What he was saying resonated with me. It was almost like he was saying what I was thinking.
Perhaps that’s because Bernie Sanders is a visionary leader.
He brings people together and projects a future that includes everyone. Even when he stands before a captive audience of his own supporters, instead of bringing the focus onto himself, he constantly reflects the focus onto the problems at hand — in contrast to Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton, whose entire campaign revolves around her, and what SHE will do if SHE’s elected President.
Her speeches are riddled with egotistical vernacular: “If I’m elected President I will” … “I will” … “I will” … a striking contrast to Sanders, who is unifying a revolution with “we will” … “we will” … “we will”.
While at first, Clinton’s self-centered focus is enticing, ultimately, it will be her downfall. That’s why she lost the election in 2008; Barack Obama’s message was change. Like Bernie, he projected a vision for the future (albeit not as strong of a message).
People support Hillary because they like Hillary. They like the fact that she’s a woman; they like the fact that she’s strong; they like the fact that she hails from the Clinton corner. She will get votes because people like her.
But she also will lose votes because people don’t like her.
This is in stark contrast to Sanders, who will gain or lose votes because people agree or disagree with his message. He’s pulling support from across the aisle and enticing younger voters with a vision for the future; it’s only a matter of time before he resonates with other demographics, such as minorities and farmers.
Clinton will lose this election because she is too polarizing. People either love her, or hate her; and she’s incapable of bringing new supporters into the fold at this point, because she’s been around for too long. She can’t gain any more support than she’s already had in the past — the only direction that she can go, is down.
Bernie on the other hand, has taken the Democratic Presidential race by storm. He has come out of nowhere to fill arenas and raise the biggest crowd-sourced campaign ever, from the ground up. He has created a political revolution and united people around a cause.
It’s possible to defeat a person, but it’s impossible to overcome an ideology.
And that’s why Bernie Sanders will win the 2016 Presidential Election.
Andy Christian Castillo is the Founder of Ver・ism(s). He is a military veteran and student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, pursuing a degree in English. In his free time, he plays music, writes poetry, gallivants around the world, climbs mountains and runs through the pouring rain.