So You’re Enraged and Tired of Screaming into the Void:
LadyGun’s Official Guide to the 2020 Primaries
illustrations / Juliette Toma
story / Jenna Dorn
→ Read this to be an informed voter
An informed voter can consciously use their voice to raise up the people and take control over the political and socioeconomic systems that govern our lives. Sometimes it is easy to forget the presidency is a job – within the executive branch of the US government – and the function of every government position is to serve the people. This fundamental principle often becomes muddied by dishonest politicians and policies that ultimately only benefit the wealthiest portion of society, and maintains the status quo for the remainder of us (aka the majority of us). For example, giving tax breaks to big corporations like Amazon allows their power (aka profit) to grow and simultaneously exonerates Amazon’s exploitation of their employees (aka the rich get richer and the rest of us continue to struggle to simply put food on the table).
→ Why Do Primaries Matter?
Before the general election in November, there are a series of state primaries and caucuses that ultimately determine who the nominee for each party will be. While a primary and a caucus operate on different rules, they both contain the same function. Whether there will be one or the other varies state by state, but the distinctions are as follows: (1) Primaries are run, as well as funded, by state and local governments much like the general election in the fall (2) Caucuses are private events that are run directly by the political parties themselves. Typically in most state caucuses, people gather in clusters, discuss the candidates and vote for their candidate of choice by trying to convince their neighbors to join their group. This dictates who will win the delegate vote for each precinct, as well as how many delegates ultimately go to the National Convention. The media reports the “winner” based on the percentage of delegates going to each candidate.
→ Staying Informed
It’s critical that your knowledge about each candidate is established through fact-checked websites, candidate’s official platform websites, debates, interviews, and verified track records for each candidate. The political or nonpolitical careers of, as well as the endeavors taken by, each candidate is essential to understanding where their true loyalties lie. The media has their own biases and very much frames election coverage to push their own agenda. They release entirely decontextualized headlines and sensationalized stories. They specifically exclude reporting on certain candidates whom they don’t support and vice versa. It is difficult not to be swayed by various media platforms, so it’s key to be vigilant in the data you consume. You may ask yourself, “Well doesn’t Ladygunn have their own agenda as a platform?” Sure we do. Our agenda is to inform and inspire; lift up working people; and advocate for underrepresented communities and cultures.
→ How to Vote
Many states require you to be registered as a Democrat in order to vote for a Democratic candidate, or similarly, a Republican to vote for a Republican candidate. To find the date of your state’s primary or caucus, as well as where your specific polling place is, to update your voter registration (including address and party affiliation), please visit headcount.org
LADYGUNN OFFICIALLY ENDORSES BERNIE SANDERS FOR PRESIDENT
Current US senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders, has been striving for the most progressive policies in the political arena for decades. Before being elected to the senate, Bernie served as the mayor of Burlington and then as Vermont’s sole congressman for 16 years. Since the beginning of his political career, Bernie has fought tirelessly for working people, pushing for initiatives that would shrink the extreme wealth and income inequality that plagues our country. Bernie’s racial justice activism dates back to the birth of the Civil Rights Movement (though he has made a point not to boast about it and by virtue exploit his efforts for political capital). Inspired by Dr. King, Bernie became a chairman of his university’s chapter for Congress of Racial Equality. From there, Bernie helped lead the first known sit-in at the University of Chicago, participated in various other forms of protest against police brutality and racial injustice (which once resulted in his arrest), attended the March on Washington – the list goes on. The point is: Bernie has consistently fought against the inequitable systems that marginalize people of color, people with disabilities, and the lgbtq community. He was anti-classism before it was cool. And in 2020, Bernie is running on the most progressive and bold presidential platform that our country has ever seen.
→ The Issues:
Health Care: Medicare For All
Bernie believes that health care is a human right, not a privilege. His radical Medicare For All plan is a national health insurance program that provides comprehensive health care for everyone in America – no premiums, no copays, no deductibles. Coverage will be expanded as well as improved to include:
- Home- and community-based long-term care
- In-patient and out-patient services
- Mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Reproductive and maternity care
- Prescription drugs
- Much more
There will be no discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, unlike many current insurers. Prescription drugs and medical necessities will be accessible to all, eliminating skyrocketing costs. Bernie’s plan rejects the Pharmaceutical Industry and will cut drug prices in half, ultimately ensuring that no American pays more than $200 a year for for medicine by enforcing a cap. A new study from Yale adds some empirical proof for Medicare For All’s financial plausibility: A national single-payer health-care system would save tens of thousands of lives each year — and about 100 billion dollars annually. Bernie will also eliminate all of the $81 billion in past-due medical debt held by 79 million Americans.
Medicare For All vs…
Elizabeth Warren: Running on a very similar health care ticket as Bernie, but with vague differences that she only publicized recently (in order to appeal to the more moderate Democrats). She now insists that this plan will not raise taxes on the middle class, though that was not her initial stance, as taxes would go up for everyone but would ultimately substantially reduce costs and save every American money- like Bernie’s.
The remaining candidates:
Pete Buttegiug, Amy Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Tom Steyer, and Bloomberg: Do not support Medicare For All and do not support scrapping private insurance. Instead they want to make available some version of a “public option” via expanded Obamacare or Pete’s dubbed “Medicare for all who want it”.
–> Why this is a problem:
1) Offering a public option while for-profit insurers continue operating will maintain a major disparity between the quality of medical care that different Americans receive because the only people who will select the public option are getting subpar or no care at all. This makes it all more expensive, thus funding will be cut, so the people who need care the most will either be receiving it at a low quality or a high cost.
2) The fear that people will not get the same kind of coverage if switching from employer provided insurance to a government-financed program is a myth. Medicare For All would provide entirely better coverage and include countless benefits that most private or employer-provided insurance don’t offer (prescription drugs, dental, vision and hearing care, with no deductibles or copays). And furthermore, they and their employer would pay less for this than they currently do
Climate Change: Green New Deal
Bernie’s plan for climate change and environmental justice is the fearless and sweeping legislation we need in order to confront this crisis head on. It was last reported in 2018 that renewable energy sources accounted for about only 11% of total US energy consumption. The Green New Deal would bring the US to 100% renewable sources and (while many fear that this would eliminate the jobs of many still working in fossil fuels, for example) consequently also create 20 million new jobs. This plan will employ every American whose current occupation would become obsolete, as well as the overwhelming amount of Americans who are unemployed – transforming our economy. This plan commits to rejoining the vital Paris Climate agreement and will reassert the US’s leadership in the global climate crisis fight. The Green New Deal will guarantee protection for all of us from the fatal and irreversible effects of climate change, particularly those who are hit hardest: communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, the elderly, and our future generations. Anything less than the Green New Deal is not strong enough or aggressive enough to defeat the urgent, existential perils that climate change has already and will continue to spawn.
Green New Deal vs…
Elizabeth Warren: Supports Green New Deal and rejoining the Paris Climate Treaty (insert thumbs up)
The remaining candidates: Want to rejoin the Paris Climate Treaty, merely invest in funding more research, invest in clean-energy jobs and infrastructure, put our country on a path to achieving 100% net-zero emissions no later than 2050. These plans do not have nearly the same immediacy as Bernie’s Green New Deal. The other candidates do not account for jobs that could be lost by transitioning to more renewable energy, they don’t consider marginalized people who will be affected most when climate change isn’t attacked with the same vigorous proposals.
Education: College For All and Free, High-Quality Child Care and Pre-Kindergarten
Bernie believes that everyones deserves the right to a good higher education if they choose to pursue it, no matter their income. His plan is to make four year public colleges and universities tuition and debt-free, which includes cancelling all student loan debt. It also aims to invest over 1.3 billion every year in private, non-profit historically black colleges which have been a fundamental resource and institution for empowering black students all around the country. The plan will also expand Pell Grants and work study programs. How will we afford to cancel the 1 trillion in student loan debt and make college free for all, you may wonder. Here’s how: Properly Tax Wall Street speculators/traders, who have been bailed out for several trillion dollars – because if we can bail out Wall Street, we sure as hell can bail out our students. Bernie also wants to reinvest in public education as well as education for people with disabilities. This includes setting a starting salary for teachers at no less than $60,000, expanding collective bargaining rights and teacher tenure.
College For All vs.
Elizabeth Warren: Has a similar version of College For All as well as Free Child Care and Pre-K
The other candidates: Support various forms of tuition-free two-year colleges (Biden and Klobuchar), vaguely in favor of reducing student loan debt, as well as expanding Pell Grants. It’s notable that Bloomberg has no plan for progressive education policies.
Bernie believes in an America that opens its doors to refugees, asylum-seekers, and anyone seeking a better life – immigration is not a threat to homeland security. When in office, he will reinstate and expand DACA in addition to building a safe and human option for those seeking asylum. Bernie will break up ICE as well as CBP and redistribute the necessary responsibilities back to the Dept. Of Justice. He will dismantle the cruel deportation programs and detention centers and reunite families who have been separated.
Bernie’s immigration reform vs.
Elizabeth Warren and Tom Steyer: Supports DACA, wants to decriminalize “illegal” border crossings, raise the refugee cap, and Warren specifically reshape ICE rather than abolish it.
Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttegiug: More border security, reshape ICE and refocus deportation on criminals.
Joe Biden: 3 million people were deported when he was VP. He supports DACA, but does not believe in decriminalizing “illegal” border crossings; restructure ICE
→Why $$$ must stay out of politics:
Every candidate other than Bernie Sanders has taken donations from billionaires and/or PACs. The foundation of Bernie’s campaign is that he is a candidate for the people and cannot be bought out. Lobbyists, PACs, and billionaires are all swimming in money and have their own agendas that they want to push. Most politicians accept money from the aforementioned groups in exchange for voting a certain way or implementing certain policies. This makes it impossible to trust such politicians because when they take money from big corporations, then they do not have the people’s interest at heart. Bernie refuses to accept funds from billionaires or any maligned agenda.
LINKS TO MORE HELPFUL/DETAILED RESOURCES: