Andy Beckwith: Feel the Bern | SteamboatToday.com

Andy Beckwith: Feel the Bern

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Despite early dismissal of Bernie Sanders as a fringe candidate, the race for the Democratic presidential nomination is in a dead heat.

Senator Sanders has not only proven to be a legitimate contender for the nomination, but more importantly, he has demonstrated that his platform resonates with voters around the country. National polling consistently shows rising support for Bernie as more people hear his message and learn about his unwavering moral fortitude.

This trend is reflected in projection polls pitting him against Republican candidates. Bernie wins every matchup in a general election according to recent February reports.

Senator Sanders has a truly grand vision for the future of America. His platform includes implementing a single-payer healthcare system, expanding Social Security, addressing income inequality, encouraging immigration reform, fighting for women’s rights, enforcing a non-interventionist foreign policy, ensuring tuition-free public universities, reforming campaign finance, transitioning to renewable energy and demanding that Wall Street pay its fair share of federal taxes.

These philosophies are not new or radical. Some are even akin to the ideals embraced by Franklin D. Roosevelt from a time when the middle class was flourishing. Bernie is not making promises to do this on his own; he is leading the charge to transform America with the help of all of us.

His campaign is based on the principle that real change does not trickle from the top down but rises from the bottom up. It is our duty as United States citizens to stand up and make change happen.

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Bernie believes that healthcare should be a right and not a privilege. Medical expenses are the number one cause of bankruptcy in the United States; and although Americans pay more for health care than any other country in the world, we still have millions and millions of uninsured citizens. Every man, woman and child in our country should have access to healthcare, regardless of personal income.

Bernie's plan for a single-payer healthcare system would substantially lower healthcare costs for the working families of America by eliminating the cost of insurance premiums and deductibles, lowering the cost of prescription drugs and reducing administrative fees. To pay for this, Senator Sanders has proposed a 2.2 percent tax increase on families earning between $28,000 and $200,000 ($250,000 for joint filings). Even with this marginal tax increase, estimated savings under Bernie's model are around $5,500 a year for each family.

The need for campaign finance reform is dire. It's an issue that should appeal to anyone seeking to preserve the essence of democracy; a government should represent all of its constituents, not just wealthy and powerful special interests.

A unique and refreshing fact about Bernie's campaign is that it's completely funded by the American people. His goals for America's future have garnered over four million individual contributions from over one million different Americans averaging just $27 a donation.

Senator Sanders does not have super PACs, and he does not take money from Wall Street. This affords him the ability to take on the establishment free from any potential influence.

As Senator Sanders humbly admits, he is merely the catalyst that sparks a fire in the American people. His passion has ignited a movement that is as empowered as he is genuine.

President Obama brought hope to a people who were struggling in a broken economy after the financial collapse caused by the greed of Wall Street. Bernie Sanders is building on that hope by leading a political revolution to restore democracy to the American people.

When we stand together there is nothing we cannot accomplish. Let's do it!

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