Bernie Sanders Dropped Out & I’ve Lost All Hope

April 8th, 2020

On my new quarantine-scheduled morning run, I received a notification from CNN that Bernie Sanders had dropped out of the Democratic race. While this was next to inevitable, my heart still sank. Even though Biden had seemed likely to win the primaries anyway, I still couldn’t believe my eyes. While I hope we all put in our best efforts in November, Bernie’s exit from the race has solidified Trump’s chances for another four years in office and underscored the hopelessness we feel.

Since 2016, Bernie’s campaign has spurred a movement for total equality, including socioeconomic rights, universal healthcare, and racial justice. Under Bernie Sanders, Americans felt as though they were fighting for their individual rights. Low-income people, women, POC, and all other minorities could feel supported by Bernie. This is why he had such massive support, particularly from the younger population. 

While Bernie’s movement is wonderful for creating change, it also split our nation into Bernie supporters and non-Bernie supporters. After Clinton won the 2016 Democratic primaries, some Bernie supporters still voted for him; this combined with the electoral college effectively carved a path for Trump’s entrance into office. After 2016, many Democratic candidates shifted their 2020 goals from winning the election to defeating Trump, focusing on winning over the electoral college specifically. With this “defeat Trump” platform in mind, Bernie was the most likely candidate to do this, as he previously outperformed Trump in polls (even when factoring in the electoral college). Additionally, he seemed likely to win back third-party voters, including Democrats who turned to the Green Party in 2016. 

This year, the question is, with so much support, how did Bernie lose? For the most part, it appeared to be this “defeat Trump” mentality. Although Bernie’s supporters were numerous and well-organized, plenty also believed the rest of the nation wouldn’t vote for Bernie, instead believing another candidate could stand a better chance at defeating Trump in 2020. Many swung to whom they considered the second-best candidate because they thought Bernie couldn’t amass the support he needed to defeat Trump.

Bernie’s exit from the race this year is indicative of the poor state of our nation, our distrust in one another, and the enormous split in ideological beliefs. Bernie’s loss is a tragedy for those who have been supporting him since 2016, but more devastating is the impending potential 2020 win of Donald Trump.

We are living in a painful and bigoted part of history that is simultaneously unbelievable. While I can only speak for myself and my worldview, I urge you to consider how Trump’s presidency has impacted your life prior to voting in the 2020 election this year. I urge you to recognize how devastating Trump’s win would be to entire populations and how necessary it is to keep him out of office for the next four years. I am urging you, as a Bernie supporter, to vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

Trump has changed my life in more ways than I can count. I don’t know if we would survive another four years.

On November 9th, the day after election day, I knew my world had changed. As I walked through the doors of my high school, I felt a shift in my environment, be it a junior boy wearing a MAGA hat freely, my international classmates wearing their heads low, or my best friend crying in study hall; I knew there was a shift in my world that we hadn’t been prepared for. 

With Trump’s presidency came unprecedented fear. When someone comes into power, we expect them to represent what the people stand for. When a man who makes grotesque comments about women comes into power, the people under him believe they also have the right to make those comments. Unfortunately, not only did Trump make comments about women, he has been accused of sexual misconduct at least 17 times. If this kind of man is our leader, how are we supposed to expect our citizens to act differently? If he is our role model, how can a woman feel safe? 

As all women have, I felt the consequence of Trump coming into power. I felt that consequence when I had to hide in a McDonald’s bathroom for 15 minutes after being followed by a man several blocks from my bus stop. I felt that consequence when I decided to stop couponing because a man grabbed my ass in the Safeway bakery while I tried to get my free bagel. I feel the consequence every day on my new quarantine-scheduled morning run when I can almost guarantee you I will be catcalled.

Minority groups have especially been harmed by Trump’s entrance into the presidency. Since a president can speak poorly of entire populations, particularly the Mexican population, it somewhat allots more power to privileged groups.

As a Latina, I am lucky that I do not wear my ethnicity on my skin, but my siblings have not had that privilege. In the days following Trump’s entrance into office, my brother was a target of police violence multiple times, including being pulled out of his car at gunpoint for having a tail light out. My sister was assumed to be from a “drug-dealing family” based on her Salvadoran ancestry. This so-called “Trump-Effect” is also accredited for a national 16-year high in hate crime targeted towards Latinos. 

Trump’s policies have also directly targeted low-income populations. In another article, I covered how Trump cut 5.5 billion dollars of SNAP benefits. Part of this budget cut also accounted for decreased funding towards housing and home energy assistance, income assistance for people with disabilities, loans and grants to make college more affordable, and other programs seeking to help low-income populations. 

The loss of these safety net programs is especially harmful to low-income students. Not only do I feel more pressure to succeed in college from the loss of certain grants, but I also feel a sense of heightened anxiety for my family at home. At college, rather than worrying about a paper looming next week, I might find myself wondering if my mom had a fulfilling dinner at home that night. Because of massive cuts to low-income support programs, my fears are no longer quelled by the assurance of a government-funded safety net.

Since Trump has come into power, I have had to be grateful for things I shouldn’t even have to think about. I’m grateful I haven’t been violently assaulted for my sex in the last four years. I’m grateful my father’s Latino blood didn’t translate into dark skin on my body. I’m grateful I have food in my stomach tonight.

But I’m not sure if I will have those things to be grateful for if I experience another four years under Donald Trump. I don’t know how much more Trump can take away from me.

For me, my life has changed drastically since Trump has come into office. My safety as a woman has been violated and my family’s security has been vanquished by Trump’s hands. I feel sick with my feet on the same ground as this man. I feel sicker knowing his hand holds significant power over me. I don’t want to be afraid anymore. I don’t want this to be the narrative of our nation.

I hope my fears that Trump will maintain another four years in office are unsupported. I hope the American people can rally behind our collective distaste for the current bigot in office and vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 election. I hope that, by this time next year, this will all have been a bad dream.

Kyrie Woodard signing off: vote for Biden & eat the rich.