SN&R’s CEO: I feel the Bern, but is that enough?

Jeff vonKaenel

I feel the Bern. I am thrilled that a U.S. presidential candidate is talking about sending immoral, criminal bankers to jail. He wants to raise taxes on the rich. He’d like to have a single-payer health-care system. He aims to make college affordable. He likes Denmark. He’s been raising important issues year after year. He even makes me look young, by comparison.

Bernie Sanders has significantly improved this year’s political debate. And, as opposed to some of his colleagues on the other side of the aisle, he’s run a campaign with respect and maturity.

There’s a lot to like about Bernie. On his campaign website I found his history: He grew up in Brooklyn, he was active in the civil-rights movement, then he moved to Vermont. He’s been right on so many issues, for example: the Iraq War, deregulation of the banks and gay marriage.

But the website does not mention what he’s accomplished in all his years in Congress. There are no significant bills that he has passed. He hasn’t found common ground with Republicans or conservative Democrats for major initiatives. Instead, Bernie is portrayed as a lone voice in the wilderness.

I spent four days in Reno last week before the Nevada Democratic caucuses. I was working at the Reno office of the News & Review. And Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were all in Reno, too, hustling for votes.

I saw Hillary at a small event at the University of Nevada, Reno addressing health-care needs for young women. She was extremely knowledgeable about numerous health-care issues. And as a Senator, working together with Republicans, she was instrumental in the passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Adoption and Safe Families Act and the Foster Care Independence Act.

In contrast, Bernie’s idea of a single-payer health-care system is unlikely to come to pass any time soon. Last week, the Republicans, who control both houses of Congress and almost certainly will control the House next term, didn’t even want to hold Supreme Court hearings. As much as I may feel the Bern, Congress and the country do not.

As opposed to Bernie, Hillary has a record of getting things done. She wants legislation allowing the federal government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Every other country does this, and it could save our citizens tens of billions of dollars. And there’s a chance she could make this happen.

Having the best position on issues is important. But it’s not as important as getting things done. And Hillary can get things done.

I don’t think that Sanders’ democratic socialism could garner the votes needed to win the presidency. His nomination would most likely result in a Republican president, God forbid Donald Trump. We cannot let this happen.

The difference between Hillary and Bernie is that Hillary gets things done. And we need to get things done.

Although I feel the Bern, I am voting for Hillary.

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About the Author

Jeff vonKaenel
Jeff vonKaenel is the president, CEO and majority owner of the News & Review newspapers in Sacramento, Chico and Reno.