It’s time to have The Talk.
You know how so many Clintonites have been running around for months shouting at us that a vote for Sanders is a vote for Trump?
It was never true, and now it’s time for those people to face facts.
Anyone supporting Clinton as the Democratic nominee is actually voting for Trump.
Just a couple of days ago, I wrote a piece on why it’s not time and does not make sense for people to be hounding Bernie Sanders’ supporters with the question “Will you vote for her? Would you vote for her? If…when…?”
You can read that piece here. In it, I make the case for why it (a) wastes time we could be using to get Bernie nominated or at least close enough to have a lot of power at a contested convention, (b) is divisive within a movement that draws much strength from unity, and (c) is ridiculous, unfounded, and ironic besides.
All of it is still true, but things are moving fast and changing daily, and it actually IS time to start asking a comparable question of the opposition. As sort of an offshoot of (c) above.
(I could say this is “turning the tables”—but in truth it was always inane and paradoxical to be blaming Sanders of all people for “electing Trump.” It’s more like “current events should be waking everyone up to how it was all along. Which is that Clinton is too uninspiring and too disliked, distrusted, and dogged by scandal to beat Trump.” Besides not being in any way what this country needs.)
It’s time. And it’s more than fair at this point to ask: whether voter, campaigner, or superdelegate, are you going to throw your weight behind Bernie Sanders?
Because Trump is now our Republican opponent, and if you want to make a whole lot of noise about how crucial it is that we keep this racist, ignorant, hapless clown out of the White House—and it seems we can nearly all agree on that—then it’s time you start facing facts. It’s time you put your support and your vote where your mouth is.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is the only one who beats all of the Republican contenders in the latest general election polls. (And most of the last few months’ worth of polls, too, in case you had your fingers in your ears all that time.)
Sen. Bernie Sanders turns out independents in droves, having won (often in landslides) every primary or caucus that allowed independents to vote in the last two months. Put another way, Clinton has not won a contest in which independents could vote in some time. Even in races that he lost, Sanders beat Clinton handily in votes from independents. For example, 70 percent of independents in Illinois voted for Sanders over Clinton.
And while independents are absurdly shut out of many primaries, they vote in the general. And they are needed, as they make up over 44% of the voters now, compared with 32% that are Democrats and 25% that are Republican (Gallup).
Sen. Bernie Sanders appeals not only to millennials but great numbers of people under 50 or under 45; to people of all races; to many Republicans feeling disenfranchised by their crumbling nuthouse of a party; and (ironically) to about half of all women—and perhaps most all, to anyone who really appreciates and cares about authenticity, honesty, ethics, integrity, consistency, morality, justice, courage, and substance.
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ already excellent likeability ratings only increase the more he campaigns and becomes known, while Clinton’s already dismal likeability ratings and trust issues worsen the more she campaigns. She and Trump are reportedly the two most historically disliked and distrusted candidates ever to run, and they’d be running against one another—promising a real race to the bottom.
Voters and super delegates alike better think hard now. Better be willing to show some flexibility and humility. Better be willing let go of rigidity, willfulness, fixed mindset, and cognitive dissonance rather than cling to a ship that’s gonna go down—at great cost to all.
There is a time to concede that one’s convictions and wishes may not have been built on the most durable foundation.
And that concession needs to come from Clinton’s supporters. That’s right. Not from the Sanders camp, but from those who’ve been irrationally, groundlessly pointing to a falsely embellished, superdelegate-padded lead and pressuring him to get out for months. Who’ve baselessly called him “divisive” to an already fractured party that in reality, only he has shown the care and capacity to truly unite. Even as he racked up 18 wins (including a streak of eight in a row—did we mention Obama never lost more than two in a row?), an historic 7.4 million individual contributions and 1.1 million people out to rallies sized up to 28,000+ people. Yes—with all that, he was still told to get out.
They pushed for that concession, of course, for the sheer convenience of Clinton—and for fear of his momentum, his actual striking distance, repugnant only to Clinton surrogates. Not because there was any logical reason why someone with his numbers would leave a race. It was both wishful and strategic.
And when none of that worked, the stridency got turned up on “a vote for Sanders is a vote for Trump.” Well, it’s high time to put that fiction to bed, if you care as much as you say you do.
Unlike the question that has been put to Sanders supporters, this one is not fanciful or irrational. There’s utter pragmatism in the suggestion that it’s time to get real and stand with Sanders as the candidate who can do what y’all say is Mission #1: keeping Trump out.
(Actually, some of us think keeping him out is just the beginning—and hardly the only important thing. The umpteen vital issues on which Sanders has articulately and resoundingly run his platform are the main course. Keeping Trump out is a large side dish/appetizer. It’s the happy and necessary byproduct on the way to a Presidency that promises to serve up real and critical change. A movement with the potential to restore legitimacy to our democracy; stop climate change and protect our environment before it’s too late; scrape the US off the bottom of the barrel regarding child poverty, health care and education so we come in line with all other industrialized nations; prevent endless, devastating, trillion-dollar war and conflict; and a whole lot more.)
(One might say “It’s the issues, stupid.”1 But I wouldn’t, because I don’t call people names.)
The point is, many of us have already seen that Sanders isn’t just a sounder Trump-beater. He is that, yes. He is also likely the only chance we have in our lifetimes to begin substantively addressing ultra-urgent problems—while a certain privileged and/or unconscious piece of the electorate seem inexplicably to content to rearrange the deck chairs on our modern Titanic while toasting themselves with expensive bubbly.
But even of you don’t care about the passel of issues Sanders fights for and has galvanized so many around—even if you don’t agree that Sanders has the most boldly and compassionately pragmatic, democracy-saving, planet-preserving, fair and equitable policies and proposals in any race for the last century, the fact remains: if you want Trump crushed, if you believe we need Blue, then it’s Sanders.
If you say No Trump is the most important thing, then act like it. Act ON it.
You may need to let go of some other things you wanted.
You may need to let go of “but I wanted a woman!” Patience. We’ll get there. Soon. When we raise the wider, more insidious glass ceilings that keep everyone down, that one will go with it. Warrens and Gabbards and their ilk are coming down the line, especially if we really do truly unify this party and restore democracy (and only Sanders and his movement have that intention and potential right now).
You may need to let go of “she has more foreign policy experience!” It was never true anyway. You’re getting a much better deal with Sanders on experience in general and on foreign policy 2,3,4 specifically. Bonus: your kids might get to go to college tuition-free without having to go play Russian Roulette with IED blasts first.
You may need to let go of illusory rubbish about “small incremental change” and wake up the reality that there is nothing “practical” whatsoever about painfully slow trim-tabs from the precipices on which we’re teetering right now.
And hey, if you’re a 1%/insider/party elite, you may have to let go of the hope that you could keep everything status quo while the entire population sleeps through it. You may have to cede some of your privilege and some of the systems, laws, and corporate advantages that keep you so powerful and comfortable while oppressing the other 99% of the people. Sorry.
You might even have to confront what a lot of Sanders supporters naturally embrace—that it’s not just about you.
You may need to let go of…well, I’m actually not sure what else I can list that you need to let go of, except blind loyalty. I would rebut other reasons, but I haven’t really heard any. “I want a woman,” “more foreign policy experience,” and “she’s more practical” are the generic ho-hum porridge that seem to form the limits of “substance” Clinton supporters have offered me.
Except for the one other big one that brings us back to the point. The one we’ve heard ad nauseam from the start, against all evidence: “Bernie can’t win.” And surely, now, even those with their heels most dug in and their eyes squeezed most tightly shut have got to be losing their grip on that one.
You’ve been haranguing us for months about whether we’ll vote for a presumptive nominee whose presumptiveness was always fiction built on media narratives, manufactured memes, early built-in advantages (many of them purchased) and a heaping dose of arrogance and out-of-touch-ness.
Now it’s only fair we ask you: will you vote for, support, back the candidate who has been a better bet all along (whether you’re betting against Trump, or betting on a country and planet that can thrive)? Who has struck a deep nerve in such a deep and broad chunk of the electorate—in spite of every attempt to crush him that the Clinton Machine has thrown his way?
With Cruz and now Kasich having dropped out, Trump no longer needs to campaign for the Republican nomination. Instead, he can work on cleaning up his image and tearing down Clinton’s further.
More than ever now, it is imperative that Bernie Sanders be the candidate to run against Trump.
Just as you’ve told us for months now, this is serious. It is not a horse race, not a game, not reality TV (as much as Trump resembles a Jerry Springer show guest much of the time). It’s not just about you. And it’s not just about this year. It’s about 2017 and 2027 and 2050 and 2100 and beyond.
All the reasons you’ve given about why we have to make sure Trump doesn’t win? Tell them to yourself. And ask yourself if you’re willing to be wrong, willing to give up whatever you’ve been clinging to, to ensure what you claim is your biggest priority.
This is a test of getting over yourself.
It’s worth noting that many Sanders supporters do in fact believe that either Clinton or Trump will have devastating and lasting effects on this country and the planet, and we’ve been fighting and will continue to do so with everything we have to make sure neither of them has the chance to do that.
Will you help?
Because if you keep fighting instead to thwart the better candidate against Trump (AND the better candidate for the country)—and Clinton becomes the nominee, and Trump is therefore very likely elected—then those who stuck with Clinton on a fraught, troubled, sinking ship aren’t going to be the only ones who go down. We’ll all pay.
1 – “It’s the economy, stupid” is a slight variation of the phrase “The economy, stupid,” coined as a campaign strategist of Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign
2 – https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2013/03/26/hillary-clintons-legacy-of-mismanagement-abroad/
3 – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-ritter/hillary-clinton-foreign-policy-record_b_9221284.html
4 – http://www.globalresearch.ca/hillary-clintons-six-foreign-policy-catastrophes/5509543