Repeating Election 2000: #BernieOrBust Is Political Suicide
Election 2016 is a battle between the authoritative Right and the democratic Left. It is a simple dichotomy of America’s tolerant Superego versus America’s intolerant Id.
Tone deaf attempts to sway black voters aside, Donald Trump is running almost exclusively for white people who are suffering an identity crisis thanks to America’s contemporary multiculturalism, and Trump has publicly promised to take unprecedented executive power. He promised to chip away at the First Amendment to sue anyone who says negative things about him, and he recently announced that he does not support due process of the law for certain criminals. Due process is, of course, the cornerstone of America’s judicial system. …Yikes.
But #BernieOrBust-ers would still rather have Trump over Hillary Clinton because Bernie Sanders lost. This political team killing needs to end.
Both the Republican and Democratic primaries offered diverse characters for President, and the candidates who won are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. It is Paul Ryan’s binary. The #BernieOrBust crowd is naturally disappointed that Sanders lost the primary, but he lost by the traditional measures of a Democratic primary: votes, delegates and superdelegates.
Even Bernie Sanders himself is voting for Clinton because he recognizes Donald Trump is truly a menace to America’s democracy. “This is not the time for a protest vote,” he said.
Sanders recognizes that the Left needs unity behind Hillary Clinton because she will be infinitely more progressive than Trump. The Left should not repeat the mistakes of 2000, where Al Gore was determined to be not liberal enough for a substantial percentage of liberals, and Ralph Nader’s vote split the Left and helped elect George W. Bush. The Left had a clear majority, but lost due to fragmentation.
Certainly an Al Gore presidency would have been more progressive than George W. Bush’s presidency, just like a Clinton presidency will undoubtedly be more liberal than a Trump presidency in 2016. Gore would never have invaded Iraq, and he certainly would have done something about climate change. Trump has literally flirted with the idea to repeal food regulations. Do liberal #BernieOrBuster-ers want to eat unregulated food? Certainly Hillary Clinton will be more progressive than that.
If you are liberal at all, it is common political sense to vote for Hillary Clinton in this election. I myself was a dedicated Bernie Sanders supporter, and my column often cheerfully waxed poetic about the liberal adrenaline shot that Bernie Sanders’ democratic socialism represented to America’s democracy. But it is obvious that Hillary Clinton beat Sanders, and that she is infinitely more liberal, qualified, and competent than Donald Trump. Don’t take it from me, though, take it from Bernie Sanders:
“I ran as a third-party candidate. I’m the longest serving independent in the history of the United States Congress. I know more about third-party politics than anyone else in the Congress, okay? And if people want to run as third-party candidates, God bless them! Run for Congress. Run for governor. Run for state legislature. When we’re talking about president of the United States, in my own personal view, this is not time for a protest vote. This is time to elect Hillary Clinton and then work after the election to mobilize millions of people to make sure she can be the most progressive president she can be.”
The mobilization of liberals within the Democratic Party was the point of Sanders’s campaign all along, before Sanders even had double-digit name recognition in the Democratic primary. The Sanders movement grew until it polled 50-50 with Hillary Clinton, and now, post-defeat, the democratic revolution Sanders ignited has real political capital within the Democratic Party to hold Clinton’s feet to the liberal fire. Liberals and progressives will have no political influence on Donald Trump or a Republican-controlled government.
This is the #BernieOrBust-ers reality check. Liberals and America itself will be way worse off after four years of Trumpian governance than Clintonian governance. The memory of George W. Bush is the perfect warning of such ideologically self-destructive politics. Let’s not repeat Election 2000.
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