Since I started speaking and writing publicly about my support for Bernie Sanders, I’ve received countless messages and questions from people who want to learn more about my chosen candidate. There is so much to say, but here are some websites, links, and other resources that might be helpful to those just starting to explore!
But to start, I think it’s important to understand WHY YOUR ONE VOTE MATTERS. Your vote is even more powerful now than in the general election. This one hypothetical example is relevant to our voting system in Colorado, and every states is different, but this should give you some idea about the power of your vote:
In Colorado, delegates are determined by precincts, and precincts can be pretty small. When I voted in the Denver caucus, there were about 50 people in my voting precinct. For example, if there are 10 county delegates (these delegates go on to the county convention, where they vote for delegates for the state convention, where they determine the final delegates to go to the Democratic National Convention, where the Presidential nominee is chosen) up for grabs in my one precinct, those delegates are allocated depending on the vote of those 50 people. So, if 38 people vote Bernie and 12 vote Hillary, that means 76% (7.6 delegates) for Bernie, 24% (2.4 delegates) for Hillary. Because you can’t have a fraction of a human being, they round up/down, and Bernie would receive 8 delegates while Hillary would receive 2. However, if just one person had voted for Hillary instead, it would result in 74% (7.4 delegates) for Bernie and 26% (2.6 delegates) for Hillary, meaning Bernie would receive 7 and Hillary would receive 3. Those delegates go on to conventions to represent the vote for their candidate, so every single one represents a lot of power. Your one vote could easily mean the difference between whether or not a delegate moves forward.
Your voting day is the one day that your action has as much power as any other American citizen’s. Your race doesn’t matter, your family connections don’t matter, your wealth doesn’t matter, your age doesn’t matter, and your education level doesn’t matter. You have complete control over whether or not you will have power and influence on this day, and you control it by showing up to vote.
Resources (Get Ready And Informed!):
Bernie’s Website : The official campaign website. This is where you DONATE (he is funded by the people for the people, and he can’t do it without us), VOLUNTEER (Phone bank! And other options), and read up on his positions and plans regarding many vital issues.
Feel The Bern : An unofficial campaign website. This page also contains lots of information about his opinions and voting record. Here, you can download fliers and other promotional materials to print out and distribute.
HOW and WHEN to vote! : Check your registration and find out when you need to register. You don’t want to miss out just because you missed the date!
Interviews and Other Relevant Clips:
Jon Stewart interviewing Bernie Sanders : From an episode of The Daily Show in 2011. Because I love Jon, and I love Bernie.
Epic 6-Part Interview with Killer Mike: This link will take you to Part 1, but it’s easy to continue on from there. This is probably my favorite interview with him. It’s long, but I’ve watched it in its entirety twice! So much great information to absorb.
Bernie Sanders re: “Homos in the military” : One of the strongest examples of Bernie prioritizing what’s right over what’s popular. This video is from 1995. You can tell by the unashamed manner in which the first congressman is speaking that it wasn’t shocking to hear homophobic language on the senate floor at this time. But Bernie doesn’t care what’s popular, he cares about what’s right. Bernie has been an advocate for gay rights throughout his career. Hillary Clinton was openly opposed to gay marriage until 2013.
Bernie arrested for protesting segregation and civil rights violations : Bernie is and always has been the real deal. In 1962, he helped organize a sit-in at the University of Chicago to protest housing discrimination. In 1963, he was arrested after chaining himself to an African American woman to protest segregation. That same year, he joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and thousands of other activists in the March on Washington to demand civil and economic rights for citizens of all colors. If people are being oppressed or ignored, Bernie is there to help them.
Bernie Sanders & Hillary Clinton Over The Years: Then vs. Now : Near the beginning (around 39 seconds in), you’ll see Bernie addressing a mostly empty room. His colleagues had been dismissed, but he still wanted to go on record with his passionate opposition to the war in Iraq. This scene sums up Bernie’s dedication and determination more than almost anything else I’ve seen.
Asher Edelman (inspiration for the Gordon Gecko character in the movie “Wall Street”) shocks everyone by endorsing Bernie Sanders (what?!?) : Wall Street royalty, known for the quote (via the movie character) “Greed is good” blew everyone’s minds by supporting Bernie, because he believes his economic plan is the strongest.
170 Financial and Economic Experts Endorse Bernie’s Financial Plan: This comes in handy when silly people on the internet try to convince you that Bernie doesn’t understand the economy. If that were true, I don’t think he’d receive this kind of endorsement!
These are some documentaries I highly recommend. They aren’t specifically about Bernie Sanders, but they highlight many of the issues Bernie cares passionately about. I hope they make you feel passionately enough to get involved!
The Big One (featuring Michael Moore, who has endorsed Bernie Sanders) : Addresses unions and outsourcing of American jobs
Inequality For All (featuring Robert Reich, who, despite having worked in partnership with the Clintons for decades, followed his heart and endorsed Bernie Sanders) : Addresses the roots of income inequality among American families. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
Citizen Koch: Addresses corrupt campaign finance practices, specifically the billionaire Koch brothers who pour millions of dollars into local and federal campaigns to solidify their control in this country. Bernie’s #1 campaign goal is to dismantle Citizens United, a ruling that allows this kind of corruption to go unchecked.
Sicko: Another Michael Moore documentary about our nation’s healthcare system. It takes place before Obama’s Affordable Care Act was made official, but we all know there is still a lot more work to be done. Watching this will leave you shocked and heartbroken, but you’ll want to fight even harder for Bernie. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
Capitalism: A Love Story: Yes, Michael Moore again. He just happens to cover some of the most important issues! I’m not opposed to the concept of Capitalism in general, nor is Bernie, but this film (which includes a cameo from Bernie!) addresses the way in which Capitalism can be exploited to harm our most vulnerable citizens. Available on iTunes and Amazon.
My Favorite Bernie Quotes
On Campaign Finance:
“American democracy is not about billionaires being able to buy candidates and elections.”
“I think many people have the mistaken impression that Congress regulates Wall Street,” Sanders told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in May 2012. “In truth that’s not the case. The real truth is that Wall Street regulates the Congress.”
On The Environment:
“If the environment were a bank, it would be saved by now”
“I believe that, as a human being, the pain that one person feels, if we have children who are hungry in America, if we have elderly people who can’t afford their prescription drugs, you know what, that impacts you, that impacts me…So my spirituality is that we are all in this together and that when children go hungry, when veterans sleep out on the street, it impacts me. That’s my very strong spiritual feeling.”
“I am motivated by a vision which exists in all of the great religions — in Christianity, in Judaism, in Islam, Buddhism and other religions — and which is so beautifully and clearly stated in Matthew 7:12…And it states: ‘So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the law and the prophets.’ That is the golden rule. Do to others what you would have them do to you…it is not very complicated.”
“If you can’t afford to care for veterans, then don’t go to war.”
On The Campaign:
“It’s better to show up than to give up.”
HOW TO HELP!
Now that you’re an inspired Bernie Sanders fan, it’s time to put that enthusiasm and support into ACTION. This political revolution will not succeed without the help of every passionate citizen. Please don’t be afraid to speak out; the stakes are too high to stay silent. You never know who might be reading or listening to what you say. Here are some ways to get started:
- DONATE: It’s no secret that the Clinton campaign and her super PACs receive high dollar donation. Fortunately, Bernie’s millions of small donors have been able to keep him competitive, but the upcoming elections (especially New York) will be incredibly expensive. He’ll need to buy TV/radio ads, promote social media posts, pay a large staff, put up signs and billboards, print leaflets and brochures, etc. Every dollar counts. Donate HERE.
- PHONE BANK: Phone banking is one of the most useful things you can do. All you need is a phone and a computer/tablet. The main purpose of phone banking is to help the volunteers locally (in whichever state you’re calling), so they know which houses to visit. If the person you call is adamantly opposed to Bernie, they won’t waste valuable time at that house. If they’re a strong supporter, they might not visit either. They need to identify the people in the middle, who are still open to hearing ideas. Phone bankers also provide valuable voting information to people who might not have taken the time yet to find their polling place/time. You’d be surprised how many registered voters forget which day they vote or don’t take the time to find their polling place. A quick conversation with you could be the difference in whether or not they leave the house. Phone banking supposedly isn’t intended to sway voters’ minds, so you aren’t expected to know every fact and engage in debates. However, I’ve heard quite a few stories from phone bankers who reached an uncommitted voter and were able to get them on Team Bernie with just a few quick facts about his campaign. Sign up to phone bank HERE (the training seminar is optional; I took it, but it was pretty unnecessary- I recommend just reading the script and instructions they have on the website).
- FACEBANK: Use Facebook to contact potential voters! You can select the state you want to contact, and send messages to friends who “like” Bernie (on Facebook), friends of friends who like Bernie, or just anyone who happens to live in the state. They recommend you start with people who like Bernie, because they’re the most likely to vote and many of them still need a push to get to the polls. Sign in to Facebank HERE. A volunteer on Reddit recently mentioned that he felt a little “spammy” writing to people, so he likes to break the ice with this meme
- USE SOCIAL MEDIA!! Social media is the reason the Sanders campaign has made so much progress in the face of so much adversity. At the beginning of the campaign, the mainstream media barely mentioned him, and when they talk about him now, it’s always tainted by pessimism and (in my opinion) their desire to elect Hillary Clinton. We The People have successfully used social media to advertise for him ourselves, and this is how his message has spread. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, or Twitter, you can share articles, quotes, videos, memes, etc. to your audience. I’ve personally shared most of the links I included in this blog post, and I’ve received so much positive feedback it’s almost hard to stop posting! Most days I hear from someone (sometimes a long lost acquaintance I forgot I was FB friends with) who watched a video or read an article I shared and decided to vote for Bernie. Will you face some backlash? Possibly. I’ve received very little, but I also have a pretty open-minded and enlightened friends list. If you’re nervous, just think about what Bernie has had to put up with to get where he is. Think about all the hate mail he’s received from people who don’t understand him or who profit from his opponents’ success. We love him because his conscience and compassion have remained more powerful than his fear or ego, and we need to emulate that. Here are a few of my favorite videos/posts to share: http://bit.ly/1REqrqJ, http://bit.ly/1oCjrin, http://bit.ly/1q6FO0v, http://bit.ly/1qs52Hv, http://bit.ly/1PUfzzn
- DISTRIBUTE FLYERS: This is mostly relevant if you live in a state that hasn’t voted yet. Feel The Bern’s website allows you to download flyer kits that you can print and distribute in your area. This is a less personal way of reaching out to people, so I recommend writing little handwritten notes on them with your own message about why you’re fighting for Bernie. Download the kit HERE.
- WEAR BERNIE GEAR: I have the best conversations with people when I wear my favorite Bernie sweatshirt. I’m amazed by how many people come up and talk to me. Even if people don’t start a conversation, wearing his apparel helps make it clear that the Bernie vote is out there, and that he still has a strong movement of voters behind him. You can buy directly from the campaign store (all profits go to the campaign, of course), but there are also fun creative options on Etsy, many of which donate a portion to the campaign. My personal favorite sweatshirt is available through Wicked Clothes.
- ENERGIZE THE VOLUNTEERS! Bernie’s campaign offices are full of volunteers sacrificing their time and working incredibly hard on Bernie’s behalf. They always appreciate care packages, restaurant gift cards, etc. You can find a map of campaign offices HERE. If you have one nearby, especially in a state with an upcoming election, head over and drop your donations off in person! You’ll probably meet some pretty rad people.
- ATTEND AN EVENT: There’s something going on pretty much every day, whether it be an official campaign rally (where you can hear Bernie speak!), a phone banking party, a volunteer brainstorming get together, or a fundraiser. Find out what’s going on in your area with the event schedule search HERE.