Sen. Sanders has gained a foothold in the grassroots domain, best evidenced by his early fundraising strength among small-time donors (under $200). Likewise, the self-proclaimed socialist is possibly the most popular 2016 candidate online.
The question and answer session quickly made it to the site’s front page and over 4,000 comments were written within a few hours. Questions ranged from the senator’s stance on NASA funding and GMO labeling to more topical issues like the upcoming vote on the PATRIOT Act and voter apathy.
Reddit user denibir asked about electoral reform: “As the longest serving independent in congress, what are your thoughts about electoral reform in the United States? Would you support a single transferable voting system for congress that would allow smaller parties to compete? And what are your thoughts on reforming (or doing away with altogether) the Electoral College?”
Sanders answered, “The major issue in terms of our electoral system is truly campaign finance reform. Right now, we are at a moment in history where the Koch brothers and other billionaires are in the process of buying politicians and elections. We need to overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. We need to pass disclosure legislation. We need to move toward public funding of elections. We also have got to see an increased federal role in the outrageous gerrymandering that Republican states have created and in voter suppression. These are the main issues that I’ll be tackling in the coming months.”
User littlenicky174 asked, “As a young political science student it seems many of my peers are feeling increasingly disenfranchised from politics as a whole, particularly due to increasing corporate influences in politics. But realistically what can be achieved when these interest are so intertwined with current political campaigns and current issues?”
People in general and young people in particular are increasingly alienated and disillusioned with the political process. The middle class is disappearing, the rich get richer, young people cannot afford college, the crisis of climate change is ignored, and Congress continues on its merry way paying attention to the needs of billionaires and multinational corporations. The truth is that we are in a very difficult political moment. But despair of giving up is just not an option… My strong belief is that it is imperative that we maintain our vision of what American can be, and that we fight hard to make that happen. DO NOT GIVE UP.
The Senate is expected to vote on whether or not to renew key provisions of the USA Patriot Act in the upcoming weeks. Consequently, user GavinraraFonara asked, “Do you think that wiretapping of American citizens is necessary for security of America and Americans?
Sen. Sanders answered:
I voted against the USA Patriot Act and voted against reauthorizing the USA Patriot Act. Obviously, terrorism is a serious threat to this country and we must do everything that we can to prevent attacks here and around the world. I believe strongly that we can protect our people without undermining our constitutional rights and I worry very very much about the huge attacks on privacy that we have seen in recent years — both from the government and from the private sector. I worry that we are moving toward an Orwellian society and this is something I will oppose as vigorously as I can.
Read the full AMA on Reddit.
Image: Reddit / doyoulikebread