Back in 2016, I was a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders’ presidential run. His consistency and call for a politics fundamentally intertwined with the interests of working-class Americans was inspiring. Yet with three years of Donald Trump, the choice becomes less clear. 

Between the bombastic revolutionary from Vermont and Joe Biden, a creature of the status quo, neither seem particularly pleasing. Nonetheless, I’m supporting Joe Biden for president, but voting for Bernie Sanders on March 17. 

No matter the results, it’s increasingly clear that Joe Biden will be the Democratic nominee. For all of his quirks, he has the better argument in defeating Donald Trump through his ability to build a coalition of suburbanites, blue-collar workers, and African Americans. 

I also believe that we shouldn’t follow one dogmatic and divisive president with another, which Bernie would almost certainly guarantee. No matter who controls the House and Senate, it would be nearly impossible for Bernie to govern successfully without a dramatic change in his rhetoric. 

While I’m skeptical of the messenger, I’m still inspired by the message. I believe inequality and climate change are two of the biggest challenges our country faces. It’s important to understand that inequality in American society shouldn’t just be measured through economics, but also social injustices that are all too prevalent. 

Income has been stagnant for the vast majority of Americans, while the richest have accumulated a wealth that’s impossible to spend in one lifetime. Communities of color continue to face systemic racism, which has a direct effect on people’s well-being. As a 21-year-old college student, my generation knows all too well the growing threat of climate change. We will be the ones having to face much of its effects if drastic measures aren’t taken. Even then, some say it may be too late. 

Preserving our climate isn’t just about keeping a few trees, but saving our humanity. Humans need our planet’s diverse ecology more than it needs us. 

While I don’t doubt Joe’s sincerity in tackling these issues, I believe Bernie is more emphatic. By voting for him, I want to send a message that Democrats need to be advocates for the future. Young people won’t be swayed by a big Hollywood endorsement or a candidate’s adaptability to the latest trends, but rather by consistency and boldness. 

We need an administration that understands the urgency of this moment and we definitely don’t have that in Donald Trump. Whether people like it or not, Joe Biden is the only one who can credibly change this. 

All I hope is that he listens.

Jimmy Herdegen

River Forest

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