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I'm Voting for Bernie Sanders to Honor my Mother

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Debbie Hines

My mother lived in the small town of Mt. Gilead, North Carolina during the Jim Crow era. Statistics show that in order for Bernie Sanders to win or close the gap with Hillary Clinton in the upcoming southern primaries and beyond, he must appeal to African American women, particularly older ones--much like my mother.
Bernie Sanders' vision for our country reminds me of my mother's dreams. She dreamed of being able to afford a college education for her children, home ownership, economic equality, racial justice and quality health care.
Many African American voters view Mrs. Clinton as the experienced pragmatic candidate while Sanders, relatively unknown among many African Americans, is often seen as the "pie in the sky" dreamer without a realistic plan. Sanders must convince skeptical black voters he has a way to fund his proposals that will overall save money for working middle class Americans.

Mr. Sanders supports a universal health care single payer plan without deductibles, co-pays and premiums. Mrs. Clinton's proposed plan falls far short of universal single payer health coverage. Sanders proposes free college tuition at all public four-year colleges. And while Clinton wants more affordable college tuition, she only proposes free tuition at community colleges. Sanders advocates for a minimum federal living wage of $15 an hour. Mrs. Clinton supports a living wage of $12--a difference of $5,760 less a year for a low wage worker. In the criminal justice system, Clinton proposes reforming mandatory minimums whereas Sanders supports complete elimination of mandatory minimums.
One issue that concerns many Black voters is whether Sanders will be able to deliver on his socialist reforms, if elected. African American women who lived during the 1960's Civil Rights movement may recall the difficulties with outlawing segregation in the south. Some may remember or recall hearing about Alabama Governor George Wallace who in his 1963 inauguration speech said, "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever." And one year later, despite the political odds, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed segregation.
Sanders must remind African Americans that he was actively involved in the Civil Rights movement. Hillary Clinton supported Republican Barry Goldwater who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. African Americans living during the Civil Rights era were the ultimate dreamers who saw some dreams become reality. They did it by planning, working, forming coalitions and with a collective effort. That is the movement that Sanders is building.
And on the issue of Sanders' electability and experience to become Commander-in-Chief, didn't many Americans think the same of President Obama when he first announced his candidacy against Hillary Clinton in February, 2007? President Obama had two years of U. S. Senate experience in 2007. Bernie Sanders has held his Senate office for two terms after serving sixteen years in the House of Representatives. Recent national polls show Sanders may be more electable than Clinton. And on foreign policy, Sanders voted against the ill-fated Iraq war. Clinton voted for the war.
Sanders should poke holes in Clinton's pragmatic approach. It is her greatest weakness. Where would Americans and particularly African Americans be today without the idealism of Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Barack Obama?

Bernie Sanders faces an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton in the south. And he is far from a perfect candidate. Yet, he is the best candidate to strive to make the dreams of my mother become a reality. My mother did not live to be able to vote in 2016. I will vote for Bernie Sanders in honor of my mother.

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