Fear is a powerful motivator. So my question is–what do you fear more–Donald Trump, moneyed interests continuing to tighten their grip on American politics, or a progressive socio-economic agenda? The 1% fear the latter which should cause the rest of us to examine our options carefully.
Personally, I’m sick and tired of the pro-Clinton media making every Sanders win sound like it lines up in the loss column. AKA shame on the Chicago Tribune article found here. I’m tired of the Clinton campaign throwing Sanders supporters bread crumbs to try to entice us to follower her into the political forest of half steps toward progress. AKA her suddenly vocal whining for campaign finance reform found here that makes it sound like it was her idea to start the conversation. And, I’m tired of the opposition slapping Sanders with “comrade” cracks and swastikas as if caring about the social fabric of our nation, wanting to give the middle class a break, and thinking we have an obligation to the nation’s poor are somehow un-American positions. Such patronizing rhetoric is proof positive that Clinton, her supporters, and the GOP simply don’t get it.
“But wouldn’t you prefer Clinton to Trump?” I’m constantly asked. “Yes,” I answer, “if those are my only options. But, just barely. And, those are NOT my only options.” Voting for Clinton at best is voting for four more years of deadlock. Voting for Clinton is also voting to give the Republicans four years to regroup while they continue to sling mud at progressive ideas. But more importantly, voting for Clinton feels like we’re throwing the movement to take back our political process under the bus. It is telling hundreds of thousands–millions–of people to wait because it is just too risky right now, too much is at stake. We can’t afford to…
TO WHAT? Seriously, what can’t we afford to allow? What is at stake now that won’t be equally precarious the next election cycle and the next and the next. These arguments are textbook fear tactics. Every election since I began voting (almost 40 years ago) has been described as pivotal. But have they been? Realistically, much more may be at stake if we don’t use the momentum Bernie Sanders campaign has given us to solidify our message of political reform. Revolutions take work and sacrifice. Clinton can never be part of the revolution because her thinking, how she functions as a politician, is part of the problem. Sanders’ supporters aren’t obligated to elect Hillary Clinton. The very reason they support Sanders is because he stands against many of the things she stands for, or at the very least is using to get elected.
If Clinton supporters can’t come up with enough party faithfuls to defeat Trump then they deserve him. After all, the party faithfuls are the ones who put Hillary on the ticket. If she loses–and I personally believe the likelihood is high that she will–they have only themselves to blame. I have said ever since her nomination was deemed inevitable that Democrats underestimated how much she is reviled by the GOP. Her haters will come out in mass and vote for anyone, including Trump, in order to vote against Hillary Clinton.
So, if Bernie Sanders were to decide to run as a third party candidate I will do everything in my power to get his name on the ballot in my state! Because, Americans deserve the opportunity to vote FOR someone we can respect, someone we can trust to work for the general good. It should not be enough to vote AGAINST the other guy. When you vote for the lesser of two evils you still accept evil as an option. Far too many people, in far too many elections, have chosen to stay home rather than engage in that kind of political battle. The last year voter turn out was above 60% was in 1968. I was 10. Such apathy, such hopelessness, saddens me.
The Sanders’ campaign and the movement he currently leads has controlled the conversation of this election cycle–precisely because those are the conversation we should be having. We feel passionately about what Sanders stands for, almost as passionately as he does. Giving us lip service about incremental raises in minimum wage, tweaking Obamacare, and taking on Wall Street, or telling us you’re going to work hard to bring the youth vote on board smacks of politics as usual. The media’s irresponsible obsession with the circus of the Republican campaign is bad enough. But add to it Clinton’s latest anti-Trump ad that assaults our intelligence with a 30 second sound byte of more GOP whining and our deepest suspicions are confirmed: without Sanders in it, we won’t be focused on the issues because Trump wouldn’t know an issue if it made a nest in his hair, and Clinton is not about the issues; she is about getting elected. Period.
So yes, Sanders’ supporters want him to take his message all the way to the convention. We deserve to be heard, not because we’re more important than anyone else, but because our concerns are shared by most other Americans. We want this election to focus on campaign finance reform, and putting an end to welfare for the rich, and making sure working 40 hours a week means you can pay your rent, buy food for your family, and afford healthcare. We want to spend more money educating Americans than incarcerating them. And, we want to work toward sustainable energy sources and becoming better stewards of the planet.
Most Americans, not just those who support Sanders, have had enough of politics as usual. So, stop insulting us by insulting each other. Stop playing to our fears and insecurities and start helping us to over come them. Stop pretending you have so much more to offer us than the other guy, when so far that sound byte is all you’ve had to offer. You think you deserve our vote? Then start to earn it. Period.