It should not surprise anyone reading this that I do not support Senator Bernie Sanders. Last week, I wrote an article about why I support his primary opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. I stand by that article, and I stand by my support of Secretary Clinton. However, if Bernie Sanders were to win the Democratic Party nomination, I would gladly support his candidacy. He has a lot of very good ideas that I support, he’s honest and his genuine commitment to change is infectious.
At the very least, he is far better than any of the Republicans currently in the race. John Kasich, while clearly best of the bunch, disappoints on key issues such as abortion and the right to organize. Ted Cruz, likely zodiac killer, pals around with homophobic, abortion-doctor killing extremists and has called for xenophobic policies such as the patrolling of Muslim neighborhoods. Donald Trump goes without explanation. The idea of any of these candidates winning the presidency terrifies me to such an extent that I could never vote for a third-party candidate. I would expect the same out of a supporter of Senator Sanders; not because of party loyalty, not even because Hillary Clinton is a good choice for the position, which she most certainly is, but because we cannot allow someone like Donald Trump to become President.
However, there has been a growing “Bernie or Bust” movement of young, upper-middle class, white, male supporters of Senator Sanders who refuse to support Secretary Clinton under any circumstances. They are fervent believers in the cause and they do not view voting for Secretary Clinton as any different than voting for a Republican. These ultra-fervent supporters of Senator Sanders’ campaign, to an even greater extent than supporters of Donald Trump, disgust and terrify me; not only because of their complete ignorance regarding Secretary Clinton and her policies; but because they are so determined to get their candidate elected that they are willing to let the entire country burn. They reflect poorly on Senator Sanders’ supporters, on the Democratic Party and on the American progressive movement as a whole.
Moreover, these “Bernie or Busters” will lead to the election of Donald J. Trump to the presidency. Their stubborn belief that Sanders is the only acceptable candidate could divert enough votes away from Hillary Clinton to give Trump the White House. Let’s face the facts: Bernie is very likely not going to win the Democratic nomination. Any belief otherwise is no more than wishful thinking. While he may keep running, his reasons for doing so likely have more to do with spreading his message and less to do with actually winning. Supporters of Senator Sanders need to become comfortable with the fact that the Democratic Party’s nominee will be Hillary Clinton; and, if Hillary doesn’t win in November, Donald Trump will be our next President. Not Jill Stein. Not Gary Johnson. Donald Trump.
I say Donald Trump and not Ted Cruz or John Kasich because at this point I am convinced Trump will be the Republican Party’s nominee this November. Even if he is unable to gain enough delegates to win prior to the convention, the movement to stop him is already starting to fizzle. Megyn Kelly has made her peace with him and I believe that other establishment figures will soon follow suit.
For the majority of my readers, I do not need to and therefore will not explain why a Trump presidency would spell disaster. I am attending Vassar College, and I am writing for Vassar College’s newspaper, and most of my readers are Vassar students and Vassar students are traditionally very liberal and socially aware. I would be flabbergasted if there were more than 12 Trump supporters total within the student body. Therefore, I will assume that the majority of my readers do not need to be convinced that Trump would make a bad president.
But it does seem like some of my readers need to be told why Trump is most definitely a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton. Specifically, certain liberal readers need to be reminded why Trump is a worse candidate than Hillary Clinton. It is somewhat understandable how a conservative, who approaches politics with a completely different set of values, could honestly believe that Trump is the better candidate. It boggles my mind, however, how a liberal, who approaches politics from the viewpoint of liberal, who holds a liberal set of values, could look at these candidates and decide that there isn’t enough of a difference for them to vote for the Democrat.
So, let’s take a brief look at why Secretary Clinton would make a better president than Donald Trump. Regardless of how much more you might like Bernie Sanders more than Hillary Clinton, she would make a great president.
She is experienced. She’s fought for progressive ideas for her entire career, she’s championed health care and education reform. She has the ability to compromise while simultaneously sticking to her principles. I gave a longer, more detailed version of this argument in my last article, that details the specifics of my case, but in the interest of space, I will leave it at this: Hillary Clinton has a track record of pushing through progressive reforms. Even without comparing her to Donald Trump, she would be an excellent choice for the presidency.
And even more important than that, as President, she will be the one appointing not just Scalia’s successor, but likely the successor of Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. Whoever wins this November could do lasting damage to the country that extends far beyond their time in the Oval Office. Who do you believe would be more likely to cause such damage? Hillary Clinton or the candidate who said that women who have abortions should be punished? Some of my readers might argue that it doesn’t matter who they vote for, because they don’t live in a swing state. If you’re from a state like New York, you can stay home. The state will probably go blue anyway, right? Hopefully, there won’t be enough people sharing that viewpoint so that blue states will turn red. But if that’s not the case, I suppose there isn’t as much harm, although I shudder to think of what would happen if enough people from New York stay home.
My takeaway is this: if you support Bernie Sanders, good for you. I don’t agree, but good for you. But if you believe so strongly in your movement that you are ready to ruin the lives of millions of people out of spite, then we have a problem. You might not like the idea of picking between the better of two evils, but if Trump is elected president, you’ll have a lot more to complain about.
Assuming that Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, I would argue that if you truly want Bernie Sanders’ revolution to arrive sooner, you will not sit out the election and refuse to vote for Clinton, even if you live in a blue state. It is important for us and the rest of the world to see a clear cut renunciation of Trump in November in the form of a very high popular vote count for the Democratic candidate, whether it’s Clinton or Sanders.
I have a friend who was living in Texas in 2000. Hw voted for Ralph Nader, figuring that Texas would go for George Bush no matter how he voted. He was correct. In Texas, even if every Nader voter had voted for Gore instead, Bush still would have carried the state. But at some point, the popular vote matters. It would have been more difficult for the SCOTUS to give Bush the presidency had Gore won the popular vote more decisively with the help of Nader’s supporters in red states.
On some level, the popular vote matters. It will matter in November if we want to shut Trump out of politics once and for all and send an important message to the Republican party. Otherwise, he could be back next time. Who knows? Next time he could win.