Interview: It should still be Bernie… an American’s perspective on the Democratic primaries

During a global time of uncertainty, America’s election period is still underway to find the Democratic Party’s nomination for the 2020 election.

It comes down to former Vice-President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. Whilst Biden is currently the favourite to get the party’s nomination, the case can still be made for why Bernie Sanders is still the best person to compete against Donald Trump in the presidential election.

The student vice-president at the University of Tennessee’s Roosevelt Institute, Nick Delos Santos, has spoken to Mancunian Matters to talk about all things political in the United States.

Ranging from Biden’s recent success to even Brexit, Delos Santos emphatically makes the case for why Sanders should still be the candidate to go up against Trump later this year.

After securing a huge victory on Super Tuesday, Joe Biden has been the favourite for the Democratic Party’s nomination.

It was the first time during the election trail that the former vice-president seemed to establish himself as the frontrunner, having snatched the momentum that Sanders had gained up until that point.

For Delos Santos, 21, the exact shift in momentum can be pinpointed to before then, noting Biden’s victory last month in South Carolina and the media’s subsequent influence.

“The victory for Biden shouldn’t have done much for him, but the media did a really good job of completely spinning the narrative in favour of him.”

The Atlantic, The Guardian, and ABC News were among some of those who reported favourably for Biden and Delos Santos is less optimistic about Sanders’ chances due to this turnaround.

“It is hard for me. I know how powerful narratives are and that widespread victory Biden received is really going to pack a punch.”


Despite winning over the media, Biden will not be able to win over Delos Santos, with a significant factor being due to Biden’s questionable relationship to the civil rights movement.

“With Joe Biden, walking back anything about segregation, those are human rights violations. For Biden to make it a bragging point that he worked with people who supported segregation, it’s just evil to me.”

Biden himself has been known to change his influence during the movement and Delos Santos has definitively ruled out supporting him if he was the Democratic Party’s nomination.

“I would absolutely not vote.”

The Tennessean student is drawn to social policies in politics and unsurprisingly, that’s what he thinks Sanders excels in.

“He’s the best candidate for human rights. If you look at the universal declaration of human rights, that includes social security, healthcare, a job and Bernie Sanders covers those things.”

Those same factors are the reasons why Delos Santos himself identifies with socialism and believes it’s such an important issue in the United States.

“What I want with socialism is that American dream that I grew up with and was promised, and that’s not something that I get personally. It’s something as a whole community, the dream should be that this is the best country in the world.

“Other countries have free healthcare, other countries have maternity leave. Other countries do all these things, I can’t just chalk it up to other countries, it’s empirically that we’re doing it worse and we need to do better.”

The socialist Sanders has had political comparisons drawn to Jeremy Corbyn, but the presidential hopeful does not have the same challenges presented to him that Corbyn faced, and Delos Santos is aware of this.

“One big independent variable that I think isn’t going to be a problem here in America was Brexit. Brexit totally shaped the political landscape and will continue to be for the UK for a long time. We just don’t have the same single issue going on.”

Despite Brexit not affecting Sanders, the stigma of socialism is still a challenging obstacle. However, Delos Santos thinks this could work to the senator’s favour.

“You can’t run a moderate candidate. It doesn’t matter if you’re left or moderate, the Republican party are going to paint you as far left as possible so you might as well just embrace it and that’s definitely what Bernie Sanders is trying to do.”


In regards to how Sanders would be able to beat Trump, Delos Santos surmises that it would take social policies along with political debates to defeat the president.

“Social security is a strong suit for Bernie Sanders and I think a third of the country depends on it. There’s a lot of people in medical debt, a lot of people not in the labour force. A lot of people are already suffering from climate change.

“I think enough people feel the consequences of the status quo and will face the reality that Bernie Sanders is the best pick for them. The biggest hurdle for Bernie Sanders is the primaries. If he gets that nomination, then he’ll wipe the floor with Trump.”

The president is well known for his successful ability to verbally debate & dismantle political opponents, but Delos Santos feels Sanders could prove to be more than a match.

“Being the demagogue that he is, Trump would wipe the floor with other candidates but Bernie’s words cut through a demagogue’s language.”

If the American presidency remains red by the end of the year, Delos Santos has mixed views as to whether the Democratic Party will have any immediate political success in the future. Instead, the student is more hopeful that the influence of Sanders can inspire another democratic socialist.

“I don’t think the Democrats will have a wake-up call. Maybe we’ll have another chance to elect another democrat socialist in the next election cycle. Somebody will rise to the occasion and pick up that mantle to defend social causes like they should be defended.”

The next phase of the Democratic primaries are a couple of weeks away, by then Bernie Sanders may have dropped out of the race.

However, with people such as Delos Santos refusing to vote for Joe Biden, it highlights how disconnected the Democratic Party is.

That being said, Sanders is still in the race, at the time of writing. He is still an American socialist’s dream vote.

He is still the best candidate for social security. He is still the best candidate for healthcare. Even by the end of this year, he can still be America’s president.

Image courtesy of Jackson Lanier via Wikimedia Commons, with thanks.

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