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Those who'd been planning on voting for Bernie Sanders may now find themselves at a loss, which is why two opinion columnists try to help voters decide who to vote for.

Evan Holden | Contributing writer

Opinion | Sanders Supporters Need to Vote Biden

Aside from the fact that Bernie Sanders has endorsed Joe Biden, making it clear to his supporters that Biden is, in fact, the next best choice both ideologically and strategically, there are plenty of reasons why voters that wanted Sanders need to support Biden.  

Sanders and Biden have similar views on many issues. There’s even a long list of issues they have the exact same opinion on. For the most part, they agree and stay true to their liberal values. As for the minority of topics they disagree on, it’s usually not a fundamental disagreement on which direction we move toward but how exactly our policy allows us to do so.  

The amount of ideological similarities between these two is massive despite their many slight disagreements.

They both agree that abortion should be more available to women Biden just thinks there should be a few more limitations. They both agree that the healthcare system is flawed and could benefit from government-funded health care, Biden just thinks Americans should have the ability to choose if they want to be included in this system. They both agree that the U.S. should have the ability to further the legalization of marijuana, Biden just thinks it should be a state-decided issue. They both agree on further taxation of America’s most wealthy, Biden just wants to improve the current systems instead of creating entirely new ones. They both agree that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed with a strong response, Biden just wants to spend less money on it.  

This is by no means a comprehensive list comparing all their positions, but if it were, it would continue almost entirely in this manner. Do these minor differences in opinion really matter if they both support these positions ideologically? 

Probably not. 

Their actions while in office are limited and would likely end up being largely the same because of a president’s hindered ability to act exactly the way they want. The president of the U.S. can only exert so much influence, and due to the two-party system, a Sanders or Biden presidency would look very similar in terms of policy change. If a voter supported the ideas and values Bernie Sanders advocated for, they should vote for Biden in 2020 because the political outcome will be almost identical. 

If their ideological similarities aren't convincing enough, surely the strategic aspects of voting Biden will be. Options other than voting for Biden are useless to voters that support Sanders and liberal values, as voting for Trump or a third-party would effectively be two sides of the same coin.

While it’s important to consider all options, one must first understand that Sanders supporters don’t want another Trump presidency. Sanders stated while endorsing Biden that he believes Trump is “the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.” Sanders went on to list a variety of additional reasons for his desire to keep Trump out of the White House, such as his terrible response to the coronavirus, his racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and his tendency to be a pathological liar. 

That was all said in just a two-minute video that ended with Sanders telling Biden, “We need you in the White House.” Any Sanders supporter casting a vote for Trump is no longer supporting the values he stood for.  

The only possible argument one could make for voting independent would be that Sanders’ views align better with some third party candidates. While that might be true in some instances, when it comes down to it the U.S. has a two-party system. The way the electoral system is set up doesn’t allow for a third party having any real chance at getting a candidate elected. A third-party candidate has never won the U.S. presidency and most likely never will in this current system. 

Bernie Sanders supporters casting a vote for a third party in the election is both a vote wasted and support for a Democratic presidency lost. A vote for Trump is also these things. Biden is the only logical choice in this election for the Americans who dreamt of a Sanders presidency.   

Evan Holden is a freshman political science major. Contact Evan at holdened@dukes.jmu.edu.

Andrey Chun | The Breeze

Opinion | Bernie Sanders supporters should vote for Trump in November

With the end of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign, many of his most loyal and passionate supporters —referred to as “Bernie Bros'' by many — face a difficult dilemma of who to support for president in this November’s general election. 

Sanders and many of his supporters have endorsed his rival this primary cycle, former Vice President Joe Biden, to defeat Donald Trump in November. While to many this seems like a no brainer — supporting the Democrat candidate who has spent a considerable amount of time seeking support from Sanders’s supporters — I believe this is a mistake that will negatively impact the many issues that Sanders supporters care about. 

While Trump and Sanders have considerable ideological differences — namely universal health care — both candidates share key points on economics, racial justice, foreign policy and campaign finance issues that warrant more support than Biden’s policies. In short, Sanders supporters should consider Trump as the best alternative, given the current options. 

Both Trump and Sanders arrived on the national political scene in 2015 promising to radically change the political landscape that had become increasingly unpopular for many Americans. According to Pew Research Center’s 2016 polling data, the top three issues that Americans worried about during the 2016 election were the economy, terrorism and foreign policy. This sums up that many people who were worried about the economy leaving working class people behind was a key issue that year — something that both Trump and Sanders discussed considerably during their respective campaigns. 

Both Trump and Sanders said they believed that business interests in government had gotten in the way of reforms that changed the economic prospects of those Americans who were losing jobs due to outsourcing. To this end, Trump has openly denounced firms who decide to outsource their operations to foreign countries like Mexico and China and has also provided regulatory reforms to incentivize companies to remain in the U.S. for the long term. 

The robust economic growth that has been experienced under Trump’s administration has positively impacted Americans, and, particularly important for Sanders supporters, has especially impacted those in minority communities. In the first quarter of 2020, black Americans saw an unemployment rate standing at 6.6%, the lowest it’s been since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began taking record in 1972. 

While the current COVID-19 pandemic will damper economic gains, there’s still no denying that the work Trump has done for economic growth has helped minorities more than any other contemporary president. Voting for Trump over Biden, who lacks a robust economic plan and supports higher levels of immigration that will threaten minorities and low-income workers the most, will be a vote of economic justice for marginalized communities despite what many want to believe. 

Many have come to believe that Trump doesn’t care about historically marginalized communities, but Trump became the first president to come into office supporting same-sex marriage not only in the U.S. but around the world — in contrast to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s stance on the issue in 2008. 

Additionally, Trump helped pass and signed the First Step Act and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act passed in a Republican-controlled Congress in 2018. These reforms have overwhelmingly supported black and latino communities who have suffered from the punitive and unfair sentencing in the Federal Court system. These laws are what Sanders has been advocating for and should be recognized by his supporters. After all, it was also Biden who oversaw and supported the massive “tough on crime” laws in the 1990s. 

On foreign policy, Trump also has an appealing position for Sanders supporters who are seeking less interventionist U.S. foreign policy. Trump has rightly expressed the fatigue many Americans have about engaging in foreign wars with disastrous consequences, like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and instead focuses on domestic issues. Opposite to Obama’s disastrous Middle East policy, Trump has handed over the Syrian Civil War among other conflicts to allow its leaders and people to decide their nation’s destiny, according to the Council on Foreign Relations. This is similar to Sanders’ opposition to the Iraq War from the beginning and he has many other less interventionist positions that Trump has, too. 

To many youth, Trump represents everything that is wrong and evil with the U.S. today, nothing could be farther from the truth. While not perfect, Trump has always worked in the best interests for all Americans and doesn’t just pander to certain groups when it’s politically convenient or during an election. He decides what’s the best policy for maximum benefit. 

Sanders' support for more economic prosperity for low-income and working class communities and less foreign intervention for better investments in domestic infrastructure are just a few reasons why former Sanders voters should seriously consider Trump this November. After all, is it Biden or Trump who's an outsider with a strong anti-establishment streak and reliant mainly on grassroot donations instead of super-PACS? Who has supported and passed legislation on criminal justice reform? Who’s been a major reason our criminal justice system is currently broken?

I urge you all to find out — I’m sure the answer will surprise you. 

Andrey Chun is a junior international affairs and economics double major. Contact Andrey at chunsaax@dukes.jmu.edu.