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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Northeastern chapter.

Does Bernie Sanders sell fear?

One guy in my Public Choice Economics class said that he and his friend were discussing how Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are so similar because they both sell fear.

I wasn’t sure if I heard correctly or not. (I do sometimes think I’m going deaf, but that’s a different story.)

But still, Bernie Sanders sells fear? Trump does, of course. His assertions on banning all Muslims from entering the country or having them registered in a database are the things that should actually be generating fear…of him. His claims that Mexicans bring in their “drugs” and “rapists,” and insinuates that most of them are bad people (“and some, I assume, are good people”), producing an image that they are swarming into the country like parasites. Yep, I’d say that’s selling fear.

The thing I don’t get is just exactly how Bernie is selling fear.

His is a platform of change. His is a platform of equality of opportunity regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, nationality, age, etc. He wants Medicare for all. He wants free tuition for all public colleges and universities. But most importantly of all, he wants the people to fight for what they want, but his role in precipitating the “political revolution” (or so he calls it) is to lead the country. I see this as a clear difference between him and other presidential candidates, particularly the Republican ones. They say vague statements like “Make America Great Again,” or they incessantly (perhaps pathologically?) criticize President Obama without offering any real solutions.

Bernie sees that the people are tired of having to perpetually work dead-end, minimum-wage jobs, having to perpetually pay off their student debt, and having to pay enormous prices for healthcare (even if they have insurance). All this is happening while the 1%, who hold more than the bottom 95% of the country’s wealth combined, keep getting tax breaks and bailouts. He wants to decrease the inordinate gap between the wealthy and the poor by not only taxing Wall Street speculation and offshore tax havens, but also getting rid of the carried interest loophole altogether. Carried interest is the profit that managers of investment funds receive from investment gains from stocks, bonds, and real estate that are held for over a year (called long-term capital gains). Long-term capital gains are taxed at a much lower rate than the ordinary tax rate (20% versus 39.6%) for people in the same income bracket!

Bernie Sanders, although he does promise several things, also emphasizes that we as the people need to fight tooth and nail for what we believe is best for our society.

Is that selling fear?

I think not. I think that’s selling hope. And I’m buying it.  

You can read how he plans to finance his programs on his website: https://berniesanders.com/issues/how-bernie-pays-for-his-proposals/

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Natalie S.


I'm Natalie! I am double majoring in Economics and Psychology at Northeastern University. I like to play piano, watch T.V., paint, draw, read, write, and dance! I speak fluent Spanish as my family is from Argentina and Uruguay, and I have a wonderful twin sister whom I absolutely love.
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Emily Feltault


Hi my name is Emily Feltault and I am a rising sophomore at Northeastern University! I am one of the new Campus Correspondents for my chapter and am excited to get started!!