In the height of the civil rights movement, one white man chained himself to several black women protesting segregated schools. Even when the police arrested him, he kicked. Screamed. Resisted. He used his white privilege to champion minority rights. That man was Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). A few years later, on the other hand, President Donald J. Trump would be sued for refusing to rent apartments to black tenants and lying about available housing. Sanders is an anomaly — he fought for minority rights when fellow Democrats like former Vice President Joe Biden voted in favor of segregationist policies in schools. Unlike Trump, Sanders’ fearless progressivism and moral leadership indicate that he will protect minorities if elected, and will fight for the rights of the people. 

Sanders is an outspoken proponent of universal health care, an increasingly important issue given the health-care disparities that disproportionately affect people of color. Sanders’ health-care plan would positively transform the United States and eradicate private insurers that skyrocket costs. Although Medicare for All would initially require greater federal spending, in the long-run, it would greatly increase federal savings. Twenty-two studies from economists of varying ideologies all found that single-payer health care would reduce our nation’s spending by trillions. Nationalizing health care would prevent corruption in the industry, eliminate premiums, and slash high drug prices, creating a fairer healthcare system. Of 33 developed countries, America is the only one lacking universal health care. It is a fundamental human right, and the U.S, government must make its full efforts to provide citizens with basic health care. 

In light of Trump’s cruel policies toward immigrants, particularly his attempts to eliminate Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, we need someone like Sanders to take on Trump. The president has enabled detention facilities that separate children from their parents, kept them in horrific conditions, and denied them access to necessary medical care. Trump’s treatment of immigrants is inhumane, regardless of your stance on immigration. On the other hand, Sanders’ strong morals shine through his immigration stance. He plans to decriminalize crossing the Mexican border, which would save the U.S. billions of dollars and allow 85% of undocumented, law-abiding immigrants who have lived in the U.S. for at least five years to stay without fear of deportation. Unlike Trump, Sanders cares about minorities and proposes policies in all Americans’ best interests.

Supporters of Trump might argue that the current low unemployment rate and thriving economy warrant his reelection, ignoring the damage he’s done to minorities for the sake of a stronger domestic economy. But despite Trump’s outlandish claims in this year’s State of the Union address, the economy’s current strength is a result of a long trend of growth over the last decade rather than any of Trump’s policies. In actuality, his administration started a trade war that stifled economic growth, and imposed tax cuts so ineffective that most households did not notice the change. The notion that Trump single-handedly saved the economy is utterly false, and we as voters cannot sacrifice our morality for the sake of a supposedly stronger economy. We must elect a president who will look out for minority interests and be a humane and moral compass for our nation. 

Some claim that Sanders is too radical, too old and too much for America. But he’s infinitely better than the alternative: a president who is too racist, too inhumane and not enough for America. Sanders is invested in all Americans’ welfare, and he will fight for us every day, just as he fought in the civil rights movement when he had no personal stake in its outcome. The truth is, America was not always great, and to say it was would ignore the plights and struggles of minority communities. But with Sanders as president, America and our people can be better.

Brammhi Balarajan (23C) is from Las Vegas.