The times have finally caught up with his vision
By Roberta Millstein
With the California primaries upon us in less than two months, it’s time to turn our attention to the presidential primaries, which will be held on March 3, 2020. Since we have an earlier primary than in past years, California can make a big difference in who will stand for election in November. Check your voter registration status here and make sure that you are registered for the party whose primary you want to vote in. (Yes, you can register “No Party Preference” and that will let you vote in some parties’ primaries, but most agree that it is more trouble than it is worth. You can always change your party to something else later).
As important, of course, is the decision about who to vote for. Here is how I came to support Bernie Sanders. Perhaps you will find my reasoning persuasive.
What I learned was that Bernie supports free public higher education. This was something that California’s Master Plan for Education had promised, but that promise long ago fell by the wayside. I learned that he supports single-payer health care (so-called Medicare for All, though what he is actually proposing is better than our current Medicare because more is covered), which would mean that people wouldn’t go broke paying high premiums and deductibles if they had a serious illness, or that they wouldn’t be forced to stay in jobs and relationships they didn’t like just to retain their health insurance. I learned that he is a staunch friend to the environment, fighting to take bold action in the face of the global warming climate crisis. I learned that he supports a woman’s right to choose (more strongly than Hillary Clinton did, actually). I learned that he voted against the war in Iraq. Etc., etc.
But more importantly than any of that was how long Bernie has held these views, and how long he has fought for them, even when he was in the minority or the lone voice. In his long and successful political career he has never given up fighting for the average citizen against big corporations who have, more and more, taken over our political process. He has literally been fighting these fights for decades.
So, I supported Bernie’s campaign in 2016 and I support it again in 2020. Of course, I was tempted to support Elizabeth Warren as well, and I have sent some money to her campaign, admittedly not as much as I have sent to Bernie’s. We do need to have a woman in the White House soon. She is certainly my strong second choice and I will happily support her if she is the Democratic party nominee. However, she does not have the consistent record that Bernie has. To give just one recent example, she was initially a strong supporter for “Medicare for All,” but then quickly backed off her strong support for a more incremental approach.
I want someone who will fight for me and my fellow citizens. During Bill Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s administrations, I too often saw them compromise before the negotiating had really begun in earnest. (President Obama did this on health care, for example). There is a time for compromise, but one should go in with the strongest hand possible. I am confident that Bernie Sanders will do that. I am not as confident that Elizabeth Warren will, even as I recognize that she would bring many strengths to the position.
To make this even more personal: as much as I want a woman in the White House, I would also like to see a Jewish person in the White House. It is not by accident that we have yet to see a Jewish president. Anyone who thinks that anti-Semitism is dead need only scan recent headlines to see that it just went underground for a while. Electing Bernie Sanders as our first Jewish president would be historic.
Some have concerns about Bernie’s electability, but they should not. In fact, his base is the most loyal and energized of all the Democratic candidates. He has brought new citizens into the political process and will continue to do so. He will bring out the youth vote. His support among people of color has risen and will continue to rise. He is rising in the polls in Iowa and NH. He consistently polls better than Trump. He is highly electable.
For all of the above reasons and more, I strongly support Bernie Sanders for President. I encourage you to listen to what he has to say with an open mind and to consider his record. We live in difficult times right now and they call for a new approach.
The time for President Bernie Sanders has come.
 Note that the “American Independent Party” is an actual party, and so is not the same thing as being an independent. In California, if you don’t want to register with a party, you register as No Party Preference (NPP). But then you will have to ask for the appropriate ballot when you vote, and you can’t vote in all primaries (e.g., you cannot vote in the Green or Republican primaries if you are NPP). So again, I advise that you register for the party whose primary you want to vote in.
 Updated for 2020, in case you want to check it out.