Bernie Sanders has been gaining ground in the polls for the Democratic primaries on an almost daily basis. With every new Iowa sample poll released, he is inching closer to long-time favorite Hillary Clinton. He has managed to capture a good deal of both the minority and youth votes, and a significant portion of the female vote, which is quite impressive for a seventy-four-year-old white male.
It is a definite possibility that Bernie Sanders will win the Democratic primary, and as it stands now virtually the only thing between Sanders and the White House is the very radical and very polarizing Donald Trump. At that point, one would think the seasoned politician with years of experience in the Senate would prevail over the billionaire with no political credentials whose policies include building a giant wall on the USA-Mexico border and banning all Muslims from entering the country.
If, against all odds, Bernie Sanders ends up being inaugurated as the first openly socialist President of the United States, the political landscape of the United States will be drastically changed. However, with this achievement comes the very real possibility of a government that is even more stagnant and unable to pass legislation than the current administration.
Bernie Sanders has made it very clear that he is a democratic socialist and his proposed policies reflect this political alignment. If elected president, he intends to double the current federal minimum wage to a rate of fifteen dollars an hour in an effort to make it a viable living wage and take the Affordable Care Act to the next level by installing a universal healthcare system in the United States.
The fact of the matter is, almost every Republican, and even some of the more conservative Democrats, will be staunchly opposed to policies such as these, especially when it comes to a universal healthcare system. The Republicans fought tooth-and-nail to put a stop to Obamacare, and Sanders’ proposed system is even more comprehensive than Obama’s. Sanders does have a history of going across party lines to get legislation passed, but policies such as these would likely be considered too radical by conservatives.
This creates an impasse: How is a socialist going to pass legislation in a majority conservative-Republican congress? There is no doubt that Sanders’ policies will benefit the American people, but if he sticks to his guns and makes no effort to moderate these policies, you can almost guarantee his four to eight years in office will be mostly ineffectual.
For Sanders to be successful, he needs to make an effort to inspire bipartisanship right from the start by listening to the concerns of the opposition and trying his best to mold his policies to an acceptable level in the eyes of all concerned parties. If he manages to build a working relationship with conservative legislators during the early stages of his term, we could see a period of governmental cooperation that establishes positive social changes and beneficial policies. If he does not, the United States could be in for four more years of partisanship and spitefulness that leads to the continued unproductivity of the American government.