Dear Hillary Clinton: I Agree That It’s Time to Get Real About the General Election

reality check

Dear Hillary Clinton supporters:

I have heard you loud and clear, encouraging us voters to be realistic.  I have heard you appeal to us about the importance of beating the Republicans at all costs.  I have heard you insist that this election needs to be about results rather than rhetoric.

I understand completely and I admit that it is time to get real.

We must beat the Republicans in November and, no matter what, elect the Democratic nominee who is best equipped to do so.  I agree that having a president Donald Trump or a president Ted Cruz in the Oval Office would be a disaster for the United States.  I also completely concur with having a president who is experienced, politically skilled, and ready to get things done on day one.  Even if we don’t always wish to, we must sometimes vote with our heads rather than with our hearts.

It is because I fully understand, and agree with, these arguments that I am doubling down on my support for U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in the Democratic presidential primaries.  Bernie Sanders is the Democratic candidate who is best positioned to win the general election.  The time has come for all Democrats, moderates, and independents to accept some difficult truths.

First of all, Hillary Clinton has lost the critical mass she needs to avoid “winning ugly.”  Though the former Secretary of State might still be able to win the Democratic nomination, she no longer has enough support to win it while looking presidential.  Already, Bernie Sanders’ growing support has cracked her veneer of calm inevitability.  Unfortunately, the likability deficit from which Clinton already suffers has been exacerbated by her recent attacks on Sanders.  By having to get mean, Clinton has harmed her image of inevitability in any general election contest.  Though she may convince a few more Democrats to cling to her in the primaries, out of fear rather than admiration, she will lose far more moderates and independents in the fall.

Secondly, Hillary Clinton is really, really hated by Republicans.  She needs voter enthusiasm to win in November, and she doesn’t have it.  Let’s face it:  The GOP will be pulling out all the stops to thwart Hillary Clinton if she ends of being the Democratic nominee.  Angry conservatives, galvanized after eight years of Barack Obama, will vote en masse.  Only Hillary Clinton angers conservatives to such an extent that they might vote in record numbers.  Bernie Sanders, by contrast, is not viewed with nearly as much hostility.  If anything, the GOP underestimates Bernie Sanders, which is actually a tremendous advantage.  Lulled into a false sense of security due to the Democrats having nominated a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, how many Republican voters will stay home on election day?

Bernie Sanders, amazingly popular with liberals, populists, and progressives, will guarantee record voter turnout for the Democrats while simultaneously leading to reduced voter turnout for the Republicans.

Third, the statistics point to a better Bernie victory.  Say what you will about Clinton’s experience and inevitability, but she’s an electoral lightweight.  The woman has only won two political elections in her career, and both were against relatively unknown Republicans.  In 2000, Clinton won an open U.S. Senate seat from New York against Republican U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio, who was a last-minute stand-in for New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.  To accomplish this Goliath-versus-David feat, she was backed by her husband’s White House and the entire Democratic Party establishment.  In 2006, Clinton won re-election against an even lesser-known Republican, former Yonkers mayor John Spencer.  The next race Clinton ran, the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, she lost to a rookie U.S. Senator from Illinois.

Bernie Sanders, by contrast, has won fourteen elections since 1981, when he became mayor of Burlington, Vermont.  He has bested eleven Republicans compared to Clinton’s two.  Sanders won his first spot in Congress in 1990, back when Hillary Clinton was only known as the wife of a young Arkansas governor.

Finally, momentum is against Clinton.  Let’s not kid ourselves:  Things are not gonna get better for her.  Though Hillary Clinton has bought and paid for the best campaign team in the history of democracy, she is sinking.  Against the most popular U.S. Senator in the country, Clinton has lost a battle for liberals’ hearts and emotions.  The slim plurality of voters who cling to Clinton are only muttering her name out of a misguided sense of bandwagon – they don’t actually like her.  At this point, it is difficult to imagine any non-supporters of Clinton suddenly coming to like the woman.  The best the former First Lady can hope for is to simply maintain the number of supporters she already has and pray that, if she does become the Democratic nominee, some Bernie Sanders supporters will still vote for her in November.

While Bernie Sanders’ support and momentum are on the upswing, Hillary Clinton can only try not to shed even more support.  Is that really what the Democrats want to run in the fall?

Oh, and there’s the threat of indictment.  Sorry, I thought I was done before…and then I remembered the possibility that Hillary Clinton could still be indicted.  We need to be real here:  If Hillary Clinton were to be indicted during the general election it would instantly doom the election for the Democratic Party.  This alone should be sufficient reason for the Democratic National Committee to switch to supporting Bernie Sanders.  How agonizing would it be to lose the 2016 presidential election at the last second because October saw an indictment handed down against the Democratic nominee?  It’s almost too painful to think about.

It’s time to be real.  It’s time to feel the Bern.


A realistic Bernie Sanders supporter


Calvin Wolf

By day, Calvin Wolf is a high school social studies teacher. By night, he is a freelance writer and novelist, penning political thrillers and commentary on politics, education, economics, foreign policy, and culture. In the past, he's worked as a professional cartoonist and as a backpacking guide. He once stood between a mother bear and her cub and emerged unscathed!