Elections 2016

When Bernie Meets Francis

By Andrej Mrevlje |

Bernie Sanders is leaving Hillary Clinton for a couple of days and flying to Rome, where he will meet with the Pope. “I got invited,” Sanders says, who will meet with the Pope just a few days before an important primary in New York State, one that might be decisive to the outcome of the Democratic nominating process. We’re waiting to hear more about Sanders’ decision to leave the campaign trail at this critical moment. But it’s a fascinating choice from many angles: If, he wins the primaries (his chances of doing so are very slim) and then the general elections Sanders would become the first Jewish president of the United States.

Sanders’s religion has nothing to do with the Catholic Church. Pope Francis and Mr. Sanders connect in their dedication to social issues and their mistrust of big money, said Sanders in an interview on Morning Joe, one of the most popular political talk shows on American TV.

Pope Francis is extremely popular in the United States, and a photo-op with him could bring Sanders new votes from American Catholics. At the same time, appearing at the side of the Jesuit Pope will make Sanders look less radical and less socialist. (Or it could have the opposite effect: Perhaps Pope Francis will be labelled a socialist.)

In any case, Sanders visit to the Pope in the middle of the heated campaign is a shrewd political move that is bound to bring him some benefit.

Sanders’ dialog with Vatican contrasts with events from more than half a century ago, when a young Catholic by the name of John F. Kennedy was running for president. Kennedy had to spend a lot of time convincing conservatives that as the president he would not listen to the orders of the Catholic Church

So whatever its political effect, today’s announcement shows just how far American has come in freeing itself of religious prejudice. A visit with the Pope may help a Jewish guy in his bid to become President.

Also published on Medium.

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