In a tweet, along with a live video, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont ended his presidential bid, leaving Joe Biden as the presumptive nominee against President Trump. After losses in early states like Idaho, Michigan, and Missouri- states that were neck-and-neck between Sanders and Hillary Clinton a mere four years ago, his decision came as an expected yet sudden one met with feelings of loss and hopelessness to many. Sanders had gained an incredible amount of support from the working class and young voters, raising almost $180 million from teachers, nurses, bartenders, waiters, and other small donors. His rallies and town halls in every state and rural town buzzed with energy and fervor and with empowerment and a feeling of victory on the horizon.
Bernie has always been at the forefront of a movement for the people. A working-class and immigrant rights advocate, who stood in solidarity and ally-ship with marginalized communities of color, and women, Bernie’s long withstanding record has shown whose side he is on.
Bernie has stood up for women even when it wasn’t politically convenient or popular, using his position of power in the House and Senate and his platform to consistently further women’s rights. In debates, policy platforms, and voting records Bernie has fought for bridging the pay gap. His campaign staff also was unionized, giving them collective bargaining rights, a powerful tool against workplace discrimination and harassment. Bernie’s call to raise minimum wage not only would help the working-class but would enable women to gain the economic security and freedom they have been denied.
In the face of unprecedented legislative attacks on a women’s right to control her own body, Bernie advocated for the constitutional right of women’s autonomy cosponsoring the 1993 Freedom of Choice Act and received a 100% rating from NARAL and Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Sanders has cemented himself as not only a strong proponent for access to abortion for all women of all socioeconomic statuses. Bernie has also been a voice for family planning and funding for contraceptives, a necessity if we want to break the poverty cycle that women are often entrapped in. The Sanders campaign offered the chance to improve the vast majority of women’s lives regardless of background, acknowledging the deep roots of our capitalist and patriarchal society which only further enable the oppression of women, especially women of color.
Not only advocating for policies that impact women directly such as paid family leave and childcare, but Bernie’s campaign also demanded a Green New Deal which directly impacts women of color who are so often forced to fight for survival basics like clean water in places like Flint, Michigan or against the fossil fuel pipelines that threaten indigenous communities.
Whether it be freedom of choice, economic security, independence and the autonomy of their own health and body, these are fundamental human rights that need to be implemented. Although Bernie Sanders will not be the next president of the United States, it is about the ideas that the campaign has pushed forward, not a single candidate. The policies and ideas that help strengthen a movement for all people have been set in motion and we must continue to support policy and legislation that creates a better world for all at the local, state and federal level.