Cambridge’s primary pick: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren

Sen. Bernie Sanders (left) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (right) battle head to head to gain traction among Massachusetts voters ahead of Super Tuesday. Photos by Matteo Venieri and Aaron Ye / BU News Service

By Xinying Tao
BU News Service

Many Cambridge voters weighed their options Super Tuesday, torn between Massachusetts native Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Sanders, the former runner-up in the 2016 democratic primary, has gained significant support in Massachusetts. In a poll released by Suffolk University and The Boston Globe on Feb. 29, Sanders won 24% of voters, marginally besting his rival Warren, who received support from 22% of voters in her home state. 

Jenna Lyons, a Cambridge resident who has lived in Central Square for 10 years, expressed favoritism for both candidates.

“[I] really liked Warren; I like Sanders,” Lyons said. “But with the current way our world works, I’m a little afraid that Sanders may not win because he is so to the left. So, while I really like him, I went with something I felt was safer. But ultimately, I will support whoever wins the ticket for a Democrat.”

As liberal populists, both Sanders and Warren are dedicated to reforming the economy and helping working and middle-class Americans. Sanders offers policies that stick with his vision of democratic socialism.

In June 2019, Sanders gave a speech at George Washington University, defining democratic socialism.

“The issue of unfettered capitalism is not just an academic debate,” Sanders said. “Poverty, economic distress and despair are life-threatening issues for millions of working people in the country,” he said. “Now, we must take the next step forward and guarantee every man, woman and child in our country basic economic rights – the right to quality health care … and the right to live in a clean environment.” 

Under Sanders’s vision, federal spending should increase for health care, enabling patients to spend less. This program, “Medicare for All,” has been considered radical but is gaining support from Cambridge residents. Harry Kainen, a student from MIT, said he voted for Sanders because he agreed that healthcare was a fundamental right. 

Warren, who called herself a “capitalist to [her] bones,” promotes a different approach to bridge income inequality, impressing voters by releasing a wide range of plans since March 2019. These detailed policy proposals emphasize income inequality, taxing wealthy Americans and reining in big tech companies. “I have a plan for that” has also become a rallying cry for her. 

These successive policies substantially seize voters’ attention. In today’s primary election, more than one voter addressed that their trust for Warren was based on her clear plans. 

Tom Reisz, a retired Cambridge resident who has lived in Riverside for 50 years, praised Warren’s action on the current coronavirus crisis.

“She has the most concrete plans for fixing things in the United States,” Reisz said. “She already has a way of dealing with [the coronavirus] more than any of the other candidates. The things that are most important [for me] are changing the economy so that it works for everybody and not just for the rich people. Some of the other candidates are still rich people interested in maintaining their status.”

A person standing in front of a building

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Tom Reisz (left), a 50-year Cambridge resident, came to Cambridge City hall to vote for the Democratic Primary on Super Tuesday. 

Sarah Kimmel, a founder of a non-profit organization and nine-year Cambridge resident, gave high praise to Warren as well.

 “I think that she’s done wonderful things in the state of Massachusetts,” Kimmel said. “I think that she does care and is very committed to the average middle-class and working-class Americans. When she worked with Obama, she did good work in terms of trying to make helpful regulations with banks.” 

Speaking of the female presidential candidate, Kimmel said that it’s time for voters to think outside of the box.

“For me, it’s important to make sure that I show my support for nontraditional candidates,” Kimmel said.

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