While there was a hope that Bernie Sanders’ endorsement of Hillary Clinton earlier this month and his promise to help her defeat Donald Trump was going to quell any tension at this week’s Democratic National Convention, that all came crashing down over the weekend with the release of leaked DNC emails. In what is looking more and more like a coordinated effort by Russia to negatively impact the Democrats’ chances in November, Bernie supporters found new outrage over the critical comments outgoing DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz had for Sanders’ campaign.
Therefore, we’ve been treated to marches and ‘protests’ by #BernieOrBust dead-enders the past couple of days, culminating with them booing — yes, booing — Bernie Sanders when he said told them in a Monday afternoon speech that they need to unite and vote for Hillary to defeat Trump. The Vermont Senator had to interrupt them and tell that that “this is the real world we live in” when they chanted “We want Bernie!” in response to his call for a Democratic win this fall.
Of course, the WikiLeaks thing is just being used as an excuse for the #StillSanders folks to demand Bernie be coronated at the convention despite his falling 4 million votes and hundreds of pledged delegates short in the primary. These voters, who are generally under 40 and a vast majority of whom are white, were coming to Philly no matter what. And their plan was to disrupt the convention, make it clear that they think the system is rigged, and that Hillary Clinton stole the primary from the right heir.
But what are they really, truly fighting for? Over the past few months, Hillary has embraced many of Bernie’s policy positions. She’s turned her back on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. She’s pushed forth a debt-free college education plan and moved left on healthcare, calling for a public option and a reduction in age to receive Medicare. She wants to increase the minimum wage to at least $12 an hour.
Beyond that, Bernie scored major concessions with the party’s platform, getting pretty much everything he wanted included. Sure, there were some minor quibbles, but the Democratic platform is by far the most progressive one the party has run on. There’s even going to be further discussions about changing the primaries and perhaps altering the superdelegate system.
But, that is apparently not enough. While a racist demagogue who is cozying up with a Russian autocrat and outwardly saying he will change this country to a fascist state is leading in the polls, these special snowflakes are throwing temper tantrums in Philadelphia’s streets because their guy didn’t win. And why didn’t he win? Because he never made inroads with black voters, leading to large losses in the South and Mid-Atlantic states.
And this is the point I am getting to. White liberals are revealing their privilege to the world for all to see right now. Their demands for ideological purity, specific causes to be placed front and center and only perfectly liberal candidates are the demands one can only make if they aren’t placed at risk during an election. The fact is, black, Hispanic, Muslim and LGBT voters don’t have the luxury of holding out for the perfect like these progressives do.
For minorities, especially those who have historically been marginalized and are demonized by the far-right to rally conservative votes, civil rights trump everything else. Sure, many would probably love to push a candidate further on certain issues, but when it comes down to it, they will vote for the Democrat because they need to protect the civil rights gains of the past several decades.
Propane Jane, a social activist who has gained quite a following in recent months on Twitter, has exhaustively discussed this situation during this endless election season. Back in September, she presciently wrote about how black voters, specifically black women, would save white liberals from themselves in November by turning out in droves to vote Democratic. She also highlighted at that time that blacks couldn’t waste time on “symbolic” third party votes, pointing out that the Nader 2000 votes is how we ended up in the “hole we’re in now.”
After Bernie got jeered by his own supporters for not dead-ending with them, she took to her Twitter account to throw some bombs.
The ability to just be careless with their votes is a privilege POC have never had (or wanted to have) in America. https://t.co/iMQyMpUtFo
— Propane Jane (@docrocktex26) July 25, 2016
— Propane Jane (@docrocktex26) May 26, 2016
Oh lookey here, an Angry White Dude™ parade. Because that’s everything America needs right now… https://t.co/2eJNRt3xOO
— Propane Jane (@docrocktex26) July 25, 2016
This is something we’ve seen for a while, too. In 2010, progressives bitched that President Obama was just too centrist and trying to appease Republicans, spending all of his time trying to pass healthcare reform. Therefore, Democrats lost the House — which they had just gained back in 2006 — during the Tea Party takeover. In 2014, upset at the number of moderate incumbents and candidates on the slate, they sat out again, allowing the GOP to retake the Senate and gain even more seats in the House. All the while, Republicans made more and more gains in state and local legislatures and executive branches.
And it is this sort of all-or-nothing, my way or the highway, I’ll take my ball and go home approach that makes it impossible for the Democratic Party to make sustainable gains. There is a certain core group of voters who feel that unless the United States immediately embraces someone who will make the country one large Portlandia, then they’ll stick it to the party, by either not showing up or making it clear that they’re going third-party.
The thing is, this ain’t you supporting your favorite indy band, pointing out how much you can’t stand mainstream music. This isn’t you only going to the art house to see Jim Jarmusch films. This is the future of this country, and how non-white, non-heterosexual people will be treated going forward. If you declare yourself as being fully for social justice, then you have no choice but to vote Hillary in November. Otherwise, you ain’t nuthin’ but a Trumpkin.