Sanders’ appeal to Evangelicals crosses party lines
Last week, presidential hopeful Senator Bernie Sanders (I–VT) — Jew, socialist, and staunch liberal — became the first democratic candidate in years to speak at Liberty University, the largest and most famous Evangelical Christian school in America.
In his speech, Sanders frankly acknowledged the many ideological differences between himself and his audience. "It is very easy for those in politics to talk to those who agree with us," he said, "It is harder, but not less important, to try to communicate with those who do not agree with us."
Despite the fact that the average Liberty student would be horrified by his support for reproductive freedom and same-sex marriage, Sanders strayed from today's strictly partisan politics and sought common ground with those who would be his adversaries.
To emphasize the need for greater income equality, he cited the Bible's famous "Golden Rule": "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you."
"When we talk about morality, and when we talk about justice," Sanders said, "we have to, in my view, understand that there is no justice when so few have so much, and so many have so little." Jesus, according to Sanders, would be very far from an American Republican capitalist.
By speaking to them in their own language, Sanders tried to reach the people most likely to disagree with him. Though such an appeal would realistically be hopeless, it's encouraging to see a presidential candidate willing to cross the harshest of party lines. Sanders' visit to Liberty may have been strategic. Even if he doesn't convert a single Evangelical to his side, his cross-party appeal was just the right kind of admirable to attract more moderate supporters.
It seems that most politicians today prefer to villainize and slander their opposition rather than cooperate for the common good. Sanders, as he has exemplified throughout his campaign, has shown himself to not be the standard candidate America has grown to tolerate. America needs politicians like Sanders to actually create a balanced, progressive government.