Letter: What office is Bernie running for?

Posted
Editor of the Reformer,

Bernie Sanders was asked if he was going to run for president in 2020 while campaigning in New Hampshire on Labor Day. He did not stop to answer any press questions; however, he has said that his focus right now is 2018. Apparently he believes that concentrating on 2018 means starting his campaign day in New Hampshire, the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state, giving a speech as if he is a candidate running for president rather than the U.S. Senate.

While Bernie is publicly being non-committal on 2020, his staff makes clear that he should be considered the favorite for the Democratic nomination. (Interesting that he will not accept being the Democrats' standard bearer in Vermont's Senate race, but is willing to do so for president.) One reason his aides cite for his presidential frontrunner status is the number of young voters he has motivated to become active. Once such young person is Brad Peacock, a farmer from Shaftsbury, who is running to represent Vermont in the U.S. Senate. Brad spent his Labor Day putting in a full day's work. This highlights a true difference between these two candidates. One spends his days like a career politician of nearly 50 years, while the other spends it like most Vermonters putting in a full day's work.

Both candidates have spoken about the corrupting influence of money in the political process. Yet, one candidate — Bernie Sanders — now takes PAC money, whereas the other — Brad Peacock — does not. Brad Peacock has challenged Bernie to limit his campaign spending as the Peacock campaign is. Bernie once again is silent. The fact that Bernie feels the need to raise so many millions of dollars on a race that everyone says he will win easily proves how corrupting money is in politics. He can of course use the money raised for his re-election on another run for the presidency in 2020.

There is more silence from Bernie's campaign about a fall debate schedule for Vermont's U.S. Senate race. It was different in 2016 when Bernie criticized Hillary Clinton for not wanting to debate more often. On CBS News' "Face The Nation" he said, "I think in this country today, we need serious debate about serious issues," adding that "There're so many major problems facing our country. I think more debates is better." Does Bernie now believe that those "major problems" have gone away? Does he now believe that they no longer warrant "serious debate?" Or maybe he thinks only presidential candidates can engage in serious debate. Brad Peacock, like the 2016 version of Bernie Sanders, believes there are major problems facing Vermont and our country that deserve serious debate. He looks forward to participating in more debates rather than fewer.

If Bernie wants us to believe that he is truly focusing on 2018, perhaps he should stop acting like Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Steven Isham

St. Johnsbury, Sept. 6


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