I voted for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Illinois presidential primary, and, while I strongly admire Bernie’s work as a U.S. Senator for the people of the State of Vermont, he acts like he has no clue what Jon Ossoff stands for:
For those of you who weren’t paying attention last night, Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is in a runoff in a special election against far-right Republican candidate Karen Handel, best known for nearly destroying a charity over her opposition of women’s reproductive rights, in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia, which includes parts of the northern suburbs in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The runoff election is scheduled for June 20.
Since Bernie is acting like he doesn’t know how to use the internet to look up where Jon Ossoff stands on the issues, I found the “priorities” page of Ossoff’s campaign website, and I’m going to explain Ossoff’s stances on various political issues in a way Bernie can understand. Consider this an extended summary of Ossoff’s priorities page.
While Ossoff does use quite a bit of vague messaging in this section, many of his economic ideas are progressive:
- Ossoff supports repealing “wasteful, anti-competitive special interest subsidies” that favor businesses with ties to lobbyists over new small businesses
- Ossoff “believes the minimum wage should be a living wage”, although no specific figure for a proposed federal minimum wage was specified by Ossoff
- Ossoff supports equal pay for equal work, meaning that Ossoff supports requiring businesses to pay female employees the same wage/salary that male employees who do the same work are paid
Ossoff supports protecting and improving the Affordable Care Act so that it ensures access to better and more affordable health care for the American people. In fact, Ossoff did a better job at defending the ACA than the former Obama Administration did, in my opinion. It’s important to note that, as a U.S. Senator representing Vermont, Bernie voted for the ACA, because it was and is an obvious improvement over the pre-ACA health care system. Here’s more about Ossoff’s views on health care:
- Ossoff considers it “a strong national interest that every American have quality, affordable health care”
- Ossoff has promised to “work to defend Medicare and Medicaid, ensure young people can stay on their family plan, prevent discrimination against Americans with pre-existing conditions, and ensure veterans swiftly get the care and benefits they’ve earned”
”Civil Liberties & Civil Rights”
This is perhaps the part of Ossoff’s platform that I strongly agree with more than any other, and that’s because Ossoff is very pro-civil liberties, very pro-civil rights, and very pro-immigration:
- Ossoff has promised to oppose “cynical attempts by politicians to win elections by undermining Americans’ hard-fought, sacred voting rights”
- Ossoff believes that America “should welcome those strivers who, like our own forebears, seek the opportunity to work hard, play by the rules, and build better lives in America”
- Ossoff considers it “a violation of core American principles to slander entire religious groups and that it’s unconstitutional to ban anyone from entering our country on religious grounds”
- Ossoff has promised to “fight tirelessly against discrimination, hate speech, or violence...on the basis of their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or place of birth”
- Ossoff is a strong supporter of due process
- Ossoff has promised to oppose any effort by the federal government “that undermines Americans’ access to private communications and strong encryption”
”Women’s Heath & Planned Parenthood”
Ossoff is an unapologetic supporter of the concept of women being able to make their own decisions regarding reproductive health care, and Ossoff is a strong supporter of Planned Parenthood.
Ossoff is clearly more progressive than Hillary Clinton, who Bernie campaigned for after he lost the Democratic presidential nomination to her last year, when it comes to foreign policy and national security:
- Ossoff has promised to “oppose unnecessary military intervention overseas and...only support the use of force where US national security is at stake”
- Ossoff opposes the use of torture
- Ossoff has called for an investigation into "Russian interference in American politics”
- Ossoff referred to the Iraq War as “reckless”
“Honoring & Defending Seniors”
Although Ossoff did not explicitly oppose any efforts to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits, Ossoff noted that those who receive Social Security and Medicare paid into those systems and are earning the benefits they paid taxes for, and Ossoff regards Social Security and Medicare as “vital programs that reflect our values”. It would not be that hard for anyone to persuade Ossoff into publicly opposing any funding cuts to Social Security or Medicare.
Ossoff is very pro-environment:
- Ossoff regards the notion that climate change is driven by human activity as an established fact
- Ossoff supports fully enforcing U.S. environmental laws
- Ossoff supports America’s national parks and has promised “to conserve America’s treasured wildlife and natural beauty”
Here’s a summary of Ossoff’s views on education issues:
- Ossoff has promised to ensure that schools in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia “get the resources they need to hire and keep great teachers, to invest in technology to keep students learning at the cutting edge, and to reduce class sizes”
- Ossoff has called for making higher education more affordable and reducing the burden of student loan debt
Ossoff believes that the American criminal justice system has the wrong priorities, saying that “violent crime, murder, rape, human trafficking, and corruption are rampant, while we spend billions locking up nonviolent drug offenders”, and that he supports efforts “to reduce mass incarceration of nonviolent offenders”
Ossoff has presented himself as a good government candidate for Congress, given his background as an investigative filmmaker. Here’s some of Ossoff’s views on good government ideas:
- Ossoff “believes passionately in integrity and transparency in government”
- Ossoff is strongly opposed to the corrupting influence of money in politics, and he opposes the Citizens United v. FEC U.S. Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates to big outside money in U.S. election campaigns
Having reviewed the “priorities” page of Ossoff’s campaign, I believe that the voters of the 6th Congressional District of Georgia have sent the most progressive electable Democratic candidate to the runoff in the special election in Jon Ossoff, and there’s room on some issues for progressives to respectfully persuade Ossoff into becoming an even more progressive candidate without needlessly dividing the Democratic Party, particularly on Social Security, Medicare, education, and the minimum wage. If elected to Congress, Ossoff would probably vote more progressively than Democrats in similar congressional districts around the country, such as Kyrsten Sinema and Josh Gottheimer.
I encourage voters in the 6th Congressional District of Georgia to vote for Jon Ossoff on June 20.
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