Bernie Sanders: Why He Could Be Another JFK

Sanders

Even the Hillary Clinton campaign juggernaut cannot distract from the excitement of the Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy and the overwhelming feeling why he could be another JFK with his politics and sensibilities. Vermont’s junior senator since 2007, Sanders is fearless in the pursuit of progressive, even self-admitted socialist policies. It is when one takes a closer look at some of Sanders’ key-issue passions that interesting parallels between the senator and the iconic John F. Kennedy emerge.

Income Disparity Oppresses the American Worker

When Sanders declared his candidacy on the Capital lawn, April 30, he referred to “obscene” levels of income disparity that exist in the country. Not satisfied with just nominal hikes in the minimum wage, he calls for a living wage. He contrasts our wage system with that of Norway, where they have a stronger middle class, a higher minimum wage and even show a greater commitment to environmental causes. Similarly, JFK was a strong advocate of not just raising the minimum wage but insuring that there was comparability in income from southern workers to their counterparts in the north. In the 1960’s, many northern jobs were flowing southward because of lower wages being paid by southern corporations to black workers. This troubled Kennedy on a pay disparity level as well as his enduring problem with racism and oppression in the south. Many of the public positions on the part of both Sanders and Kennedy show astounding similarities in this workers rights arena, beside the fact that they shared northeastern sensibilities.

Protecting Civil Rights For All AmericansSanders

When the landmark Civil Rights movement was gaining ground because of JFK’s vision and leadership in the 1960’s, Sanders was a 20-something college student who participated in many of the marches. He reports that it was about basic justice for any American – the right to vote, to live and even to eat where you want to. He has continued this commitment as a congressional leader, not only for racial equality but also for gender equality and immigration policy. In the period just before the 1960 presidential election, Kennedy wrote the book, A Nation of Immigrants, touting the richness of the melting pot that U.S. immigration represents. The Vermont senator, likewise, has voted repeatedly in favor of a sensible, sustainable immigration policy.

Campaign Finance and Big Money in Politics

Sanders sees the flaws in campaign finance and the idea of quid pro quo as a “real disgrace” allowing the wealthy to buy elections. He rails on the power of corporate lobbyists to influence within the halls of Congress, corrupting responsible and representative government. In an amazingly similar stance, Kennedy warned about the danger of campaigns becoming obligated to big financial contributors. Kennedy was frustrated that a meager $5.8 million was spent on political advertising in the 1956 presidential campaign. Contrast that to the over $2 billion spent on the 2012 presidential campaign and one can understand Sanders’ legitimate concerns.

While there is the behemoth obstacle of the Clinton election machine that stands in the path of a Sanders Democratic primary win, there is deserved excitement in Democratic circles for his campaign. With Bernie Sanders, it is the striking similarity in indomitable vision that leads one to believe he could be another JFK, and adds tangible enthusiasm to the political landscape of 2016.

By Chris Marion

Sources:

Newsweek
NPR
Salon

Photo by Peter Stevens – Creativecommons Flickr License

4 Responses to "Bernie Sanders: Why He Could Be Another JFK"

  1. aleta35   February 10, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Bernie Sanders doesn’t need the comparison to JFK. Bernie stands on his own merit.

    Reply
  2. Meurant   February 10, 2016 at 11:36 am

    THIS IS AN INSULT TO THE KENNEDY FAMILY!

    Reply
  3. Dennis Smith   May 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Why does my comment need moderation?

    Reply
  4. Dennis Smith   May 5, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I served under JFK. I don’t recall him being senile with spittle running down both sides of his mouth like Sanders.

    Reply

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