So many people are out on the streets debating who should be the nominee for the Democratic Party for president. There are the die-hard Hillary Clinton loyalists, the temperate Clinton supporters and those sitting on the fence. Then there are those who say that they are “feeling the Bern.” But what is that Bern? What is it that Sen. Bernie Sanders has that has made so many flock to his side? We think we have figured out that answer—anonymity. Sanders is starting with a clean slate because he has been invisible to our communities as a congressman and senator from Vermont.
Sanders struts out in New York City as a New Yorker. Truth be told, he has not been a New Yorker in decades. Although he was born in Brooklyn, as his television ads spout, he moved to Vermont in 1968.
Clinton, on the other hand, was not born or raised in New York, but after she left Washington she decided to make New York State her home. To show even more commitment to the state and its people, she ran and won the open U.S. Senate seat for New York. And she proudly served until she was called to become the Secretary of State in the Obama administration.
As First Lady we heard about Hillary incessantly, from the issues that were going on with health care to the issues that surrounded Bill Clinton. Many Americans now, some 18 million insured by the Affordable Care Act, may not remember that it was once “Hillary Care.” What we must remember is that she is not her husband and that the policies that he put into place she did not vote on. However, at that same time Sanders was able to vote on those items, and he did and he supported the president, including his vote on the 1994 Crime Bill, now so hotly contested.
Sanders claims there were some provisions in the bill that he agreed to, believing those measures were worth the trade-off. That rationale is often used by politicians when faced with codicils, the fine print they choose to ignore.
As a senator Clinton delivered for New York. She helped to make sure children were insured. She helped to ensure health care for 9-11 survivors and she tried in earnest to work across the aisle. Many Harlemites will always remember the way she came to the rescue of thousands in our community suffering from asthma. Residents of Brooklyn are also grateful for the aide she delivered to segments of that underserved community, particularly in East New York. The cadre of Black women assembled recently at Medgar Evers College to support Clinton is an incontrovertible testament of her dedication and commitment.
What was Sanders doing all that time? We really don’t know. We know he voted for the funding of the war, even though he was against it, huh?
Even key members and advisors of his campaign team admit that Sanders may have dropped the ball by not entering the presidential race sooner. Had he done that it might have given him a better chance for exposure, a greater opportunity to put forth his idealistic proposals.
In the end, both candidates are eminently more qualified than any of the Republicans still in the race, and what it boils down to is not a matter of who is most qualified—Clinton or Sanders—but whose past record indicates that they can deliver the goods. Both candidates have inundated us with promises, but one of them has at least fulfilled some of them in a thoughtful and meaningful way for New Yorkers, and there is no need for us to beat you over the head with who that is.
You see, Bernie, we just don’t know you.