Category: Democracy in America

“The way that we push forward is by investing in organizing”: an interview with Jackie Fielder

When you think about political figures associated with Stanford, it’s easy to think of a few archetypes: mainstream Democrats like Senators Dianne Feinstein or Cory Booker, national security bureaucrats like Condoleezza Rice, or big political donors like Tom Steyer or Peter Thiel. It’s harder to think of radical, progressive politicians that have come out of Stanford.

Jackie Fielder could change that. The 25-year-old alum of the class of 2016 is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, running for state senate in the 11th district against Scott Wiener, a long-entrenched figure in San Francisco city politics. Her campaign focuses on environmental and racial justice, economic inequality, and fighting the housing crisis and the forces that have abetted it. The Stanford Sphere talked with her about these campaign issues over the phone last week.

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Billionaires: Where Freedom Fails

AS I write this piece, there are 2,604 billionaires in the world. The 26 richest people in the world own more wealth than the bottom 50% of the entire population, and the richest person in the world, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, now holds over 128 billion dollars in wealth. To put this into perspective, Mr. Bezos could buy every team in the NFL and still have $36 billion left to spend, which would only make him the 28th richest man in the world. Meanwhile, the World Bank estimated that 8.6% of the world population lives with $1.90 a day—a salary so low that one would take 185 million years to acquire Mr. Bezos’ wealth. And if that isn’t enough for you, there are also 860 million people without access to electricity and 2.5 billion who lack access to improved sanitation. The difference between the richest and the poorest is, put plainly, shocking.

Some politicians, like Bernie Sanders and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have reacted to this level of inequality by arguing that billionaires should not even exist in the first place. However, if you’re not a progressive, you likely disagree with what they have to say. But looking at the problem by focusing on freedom and power might change your perspective. While many have defended billionaires through economics, now is the time to bring a more political argument into the discussion.

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Please, No More Plans

ON JUNE 28, Beto O’Rourke announced a plan for a War Tax—a system by which, upon the formal declaration of war by Congress, a progressive tax on families without service members or veterans would be levied to pay for the latter’s care. It was a bad idea and roundly mocked by the Democratic commentariat. The New Republic called it both “empirically wrong” and “deeply cynical.” Newsweek called it “not just dumb, but un-American.”

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The 2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates, Ranked

WHO WILL challenge Donald Trump in 2020?

It’s a question that Americans have been asking since before Trump even took office. The Democratic Party was in shambles after the 2016 election; it had bet the kingdom on Hillary Clinton, only to suffer a crushing and unthinkable defeat. With only one other serious contender during the primaries—one whom critics viewed as an outsider and a sore loser—Democrats were at a loss as to who would be next to take on Trump.

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As the World Berns: Six International Perspectives on Bernie

IN AMERICAN politics, Bernie is something of  an anomaly: a socialist above the age of thirty. In other parts of the world, politicians like Bernie fall closer to the political center—and, in a few notable cases, surprisingly far from the political center. So we asked the Sphere’s international writers (and Jacob Kuppermann) to answer the question, “Where would Bernie fall on the political spectrum of [Country X]?”

These are their responses.

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