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My donation to Bernie Sanders’s campaign underlines the unacceptable dangers of Trump and Clinton

Northern Virginia criminal defense attorney on why Bernie Sanders is the lesser of the evils for 2016

Apr 10, 2016 My donation to Bernie Sanders’s campaign underlines the unacceptable dangers of Trump and Clinton

Last summer, a relative figured I might be interested in supporting Bernie Sanders for president. “Too socialist”, I replied.

Today, I still think Sanders is too socialist. I also disagree with his First Amendment-crabbed desire to overturn Citizen United v. FEC on political action committee financing, a view consistent with a wide range of Democrats, but which court decision likely will go undisturbed for a long time; and expect he would, as president, try excessively to reign in free international trade and a domestic free market economy. Moreover, the provisions for banning assault weapons and protecting against violence against women did not justify his voting for the 1994 crime bill that victimized federal criminal defendants with excessively higher incarceration penalties.

My above assessment of Sanders is not enough to make me instead support Hillary Clinton, who is a military hawk, too smug (or else hoping for out of sight/out of mind) about her email scandal, declining to completely oppose the death penalty when Sanders advocates its abolition, too dismissive of the electorate (see her recent air finger-jabbing against a Greenpeace activist (see here, too)), and too likely to carry on much of the business as usual of her husband that did not impress me, which included being too unenlightened about criminal defendants (although one article claims she is more enlightened for criminal defendants than was her husband as president) and the death penalty.

Of course, Trump remains the most dangerous of all the presidential candidates. A recent Quinnipiac poll favors both Sanders and Clinton in a race against Trump.  Then again, polls are but polls, and voter outcomes control.

Among the matters that tip the scales for me towards Bernie Sanders are his support for legalizing marijuana (see here, too), his opposition to the death penalty, the likelihood that he will be more beneficial to civil liberties and towards diplomatic efforts before going to war, and the likelihood that he will be more devoted than Clinton to a government with officials who are not corrupted by power.

Last week, I decided to put my money where my mouth is and to donate to a presidential campaign for the first time, giving $100.00 online to Bernie Sanders’s campaign. Being generally too alienated by politicians, I do not think I have ever before contributed to a political candidate other than possibly having placed a small amount of cash in the hat passed around at a Sanders meet and greet in the early 1990’s, which I address further below. Clearly, my donation by itself will not make any dent for Sanders, although his campaign thus far has raised large total contributions with this and lower individual contribution amounts, proving that accumulated feathers can sink the boat.

More things I like about Sanders include his opposition to for-profit prisons, his hopefully being more helpful than the opposite for immigrants, and his hopefully being helpful to Native Americans.

In sum, Bernie Sanders to me is by far the lesser of the evils when compared to Clinton, Trump, Cruz and Kasich.

ADDENDUM– My tongue is firmly placed in my cheek when I ponder the seed I may have planted in Sanders’s head to support marijuana legalization. Around 1994 or so, I attended a meet and greet/fundraiser for Bernie at a supporter’s home in Washington, D.C.’s Mount Pleasant area — a very out of character move for me to this day —  more to hear what he had to say and to meet some in attendance than to support him. After Bernie gave his stump speech focused on the economy, jobs and healthcare, I approached Bernie and asked if he would join the effort to legalize marijuana. In his true Brooklyn-ese not offset by his years in Burlington, Vermont, Bernie answered along the lines of: “That is the furthest thing from my mind when jobs, healthcare, and the economy are a dizz-ass’-tuh!” I replied along the lines of: “I understand. But if you want my support, I first want to hear how you would vote if marijuana legalization came up for a vote in the House today.” Bernie answered along the lines: “Okay, you got me. So long as marijuana is being sold to kids, I cannot support its legalization.” Congratulations to Bernie for finally answering with candor, even though I disagreed with his reply. Twenty years later, he is on the right track, supporting marijuana legalization. 

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