We endorse Bernie Sanders
The Arab American News | Friday, 03.04.2016, 12:49 AM

Presidents serve for four years, but this presidential election will likely shape the future of the United States for generations to come.

Your vote on Tuesday, March 8, will help draw Washington's policies on critical issues for the near and remote future — a Supreme Court nomination; the United States’ role in the Middle East; the approach to the global refugee crisis; the fate of millions of undocumented immigrants and environmental guidelines that could affect our very existence on this planet.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is facing an unlikely challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders.

The Arab American News endorses Sanders.

With the senator from Vermont, we have a historic opportunity to elect a principled politician who has remained true to his message from the days he was protesting with the civil rights movement to the day he proclaimed himself a democratic socialist on national television while running for president.

Sanders, 74, has served as a U.S. representative from 1991 to 2007. He has since been representing Vermont in the Senate.

Before being elected to Congress, Sanders served for eight years as the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. He taught political science briefly at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

In his early years, he was a social justice activist.

Washington did not sway Sanders away from his ideals. In the House and the Senate, Sanders introduced and supported countless pieces of legislation to regulate Wall Street and protect the environment from predatory corporate greed.

Most Arab Americans are hardworking, middle class families. The concentration of wealth in the top 1 percent of the nation’s richest people impacts this community directly. Sanders' tax reforms and promised social programs would level the playing field for Americans to realize the American Dream.

Sanders stands for racial justice and has unequivocally condemned Islamophobia.

As a young community, education is essential to our future and well-being. Sanders' focus on making college affordable will help our youth fulfill their potential.

On foreign policy, Sanders has shown the most even-handed approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although his views on this issue do not rise to the aspirations of Arab Americans who would like to see Washington take a clear stance against Israel's human rights abuses and occupation of Palestinian land, Sanders' call for ending the blockade on Gaza is a step in the right direction. His condemnation of Israeli attacks that kill Palestinian civilians is unprecedented by any major presidential candidate.

Sanders is a Jewish American. This newspaper and the community at large do not have a bias against anyone's ethnic or religious affiliation. Ideas are what matters.

The senator has been outspoken in his criticism of the broken campaign finance system. When a handful of billionaires decide the outcome of elections, it goes against the basic democratic principle of one person, one vote.

This country’s unjust foreign policy in the Middle East has been driven by special interest groups that exploit the influence of money on Washington.

A fair economic system will bring more balance to all aspects of American politics, including foreign policy.

Sanders has not only been an opponent of the disproportionate political power of big corporations, he has refused their money.

The average donation to Sanders' campaign in the last three months of 2015 was $27. His foreign policy will not be dictated by a military industrial complex that promotes war for profit or Christian Zionist groups that lobby Washington to support Israel for theological reasons.

Sanders was on the right side of history when he voted against the Iraq war in 2002 as a U.S. representative. Clinton was in favor of the invasion and voted for it as a senator. The war led to the destruction of Iraq and the rise of ISIS and extremism.

The newspaper does not trust Clinton's interventionist inclinations. As secretary of state, she was a leading force behind the bombing campaign in Libya in 2011. There is no doubt that Muammar Gaddafi was a dictator who abused his people. But the hasty war on Libya, which was dubbed as humanitarian, led to that North African nation becoming a failed state. Now, two governments and countless militant groups, including ISIS, rule the once-stable country.

Given the disastrous options on the Republican side and the fact that Donald Trump is most likely to win the GOP nomination, many people who would prefer Sanders politically are siding with Clinton because she appears more electable.

A CNN poll revealed this week that Sanders would beat Trump by a bigger margin than Clinton. According to the poll, the former secretary of state would top Trump 52 to 44 percent; Sanders would beat the real estate mogul 55 to 43 percent.

The survey showed that the senator from Vermont would also win comfortably against either senators Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

Even if Sanders does not succeed in winning the nomination, it is important for our community to vote for him, so he can promote his platform and communicate his ideas to the American public, taking his campaign all the way to the Democratic Convention. Between now and then, anything is possible.

Arab Americans need to stand for principles. In Sanders, we have a principled politician who is showing strength and courage in his campaign.

Vote on principles; vote for Sanders.

Your vote on March 8 could make history. 

The Arab American News

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