An Op/Ed by Kurt Doonesbury
Bernie Sanders started a revolution, but how do his supporters keep it alive?
Much to the disappointment of many Bernie supporters, the Media beat the Democratic Party to the punch last week and declared Hillary Clinton the Democratic Presidential Nominee. And a few days later, Barack Obama came out and gave Clinton the Presidential Seal of Approval. Now that the hard part is over and Bernie Sanders lost after a valiant effort, Clinton can now put back on her gloves and square off mono e mono against (former) Reality TV Star and Cancer of the Republican Party, Donald Trump.
Hillary may have won the nomination, but can she win the general election without the backing of Bernie’s supporters? The Democratic Party decided the best way to defeat the anti-establishment Republican candidate was to go ahead and promote the veteran establishment Democrat candidate. Because, you know, why not?
Who needs anti-establishment Progressives and Liberals anyway when Trump has alienated Mainstream and Moderate Republicans enough that they just might vote for Hillary? And they are ripe for the picking if Clinton plays her cards right.
Capturing some Moderate Republicans and Independents will be paramount if she really wants to crush Trump in November. If Clinton sticks to her New Democrat ideology this might not be unrealistic. Some of her supporters have already started to reach out to Jeb Bush donors by appealing to their common ground, namely their hatred of Donald Trump.
“She doesn’t want to be so Bernie Sanders that she drives people with less resolve than me back to voting for Donald Trump. So she has an interesting task, and has to find some way to work out a middle ground.” —Mac Stipanovich, a Republican lobbyist
Now if she can only get the Republicans to shut up about Benghazi and her emails…
This puts a real damper on the prospect of a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren ticket. While an all female ticket would truly be something historic, Warren’s Progressive platform would be a real turn off, too Bernie-esque for Republicans to get behind. Another snag stems from the fact that Warren’s popularity among Progressive Liberals and Democrats is due to her readiness to take on Republicans and Centrist Democrats alike… and even President Obama at times. Even Hillary Clinton surrogate and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is against having Warren as a VP candidate. His main concern is Warren’s lack of foreign policy and military experience.
Winston Ross, in his Newsweek article with the gauche title “Ignore The Bernie Bros, Hillary,” pigeonholes Bernie Sanders’ supporters as stereotypical Bernie Or Busters, but at the same time makes a valid point: Clinton can win without them.
During the past year we have all gotten caught up in the fervor of If-You-Don’t-Vote-For-My-Candidate-You’ll-Give-Us-A-Trump-Presidency that we have forgotten one of the worst kept secrets in presidential elections. Or maybe you just didn’t pay all that much attention in social studies when you were in middle school…. This worst kept secret and proverbial elephant in the room happens to be known as the Electoral College.
This Winner-Takes-All method of electing a president is one of the reasons why voting for Santa Claus is just as effective as voting for any Democrat in my home state of Tennessee. And it is likely to stay a Red State as long as Fox News continues to exist and be played in every waiting room whose doorway is darkened by your shadow. The March 1st Tennessee Primary Election results were as follows: 854,445 votes Republican and 371,082 votes Democrat. I voted in New York, a Blue State, and our results were: 868,987 votes Republican and 1,817,552 votes Democrat.
If you are still having doubts whether or not your non-vote for Hillary will result in a Trump Presidency, I recommend consulting Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
No, this isn’t some psychic in Times Square offering $10 off palm readings and 2-for-1 specials on tarot card readings. Sabato’s Crystal Ball offers a detailed and frequently updated analysis for elections across the country and had a 99% accuracy rate in 2004 and 97% in 2012. If your state happens to be one of those states where it was either Blue or Red every four years for the past sixteen years, then, thanks to the Electoral College, the chances of you not voting for Hillary hurting anyone will be the equivalent of a fart in the wind during tornado.
Where the Clinton-Trump matchup starts in our Crystal Ball Electoral College ratings pic.twitter.com/IpIryVRJFZ
— Larry Sabato (@LarrySabato) May 4, 2016
Well, there’s some good news and some bad news. The good news: You can make a pretty good educated guess about how effective your vote will be based off of this information. The bad news? Some of you might live in Swing States. Do you live in any of the following states**?:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
**And, just for the sake of an extra safety precaution, you might want to add Arizona and Texas to the above list due to the record-setting Hispanic registrations going on.
If you answered YES and would like to not live under Trump Rule, then, yes, you do need to vote for Hillary Clinton come November. It is in these states that the Vote Blue No Matter Who movement is needed and required to avoid a Donald Trump Presidency. Hey, sometimes you just have to take one for the team.
What is important is that you vote no matter what and that you vote wisely based on your political convictions. Think of it as a Voter’s Hippocratic Oath: Your Vote Shall Do No Harm. If you don’t vote this year, you are risking the likelihood of Progressive and Liberal candidates not winning seats in the House and Senate. Now more than ever we desperately need a Liberal Majority.
Where The Revolution Goes From Here
“I am said to be a revolutionist in my sympathies, by birth, by breeding and by principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolute.” —Mark Twain, New York Tribune, April 15, 1906
The final primary of the 2016 election cycle was held last night in Washington, D.C. While he might have lost to Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders went from being a “fringe” candidate to winning 45% of the pledged delegates. It is obvious that this Independent Senator from Vermont struck a chord within the Democratic Party and Independents alike. Sanders fought hard and has promised he will continue to promote his platform all the way to the convention, just as Hillary did back in 2008. And, no, he won’t run as a Third Party Candidate. So, people can stop calling him the New Ralph Nader (who incidentally only won around 2% of the vote back in 2000).
What the Sanders campaign proved was that there is enough support for ideas such as earning a living wage, equal pay rates for men and women, universal healthcare, and tax-funded higher education for all…. That it is not so radical, as one of the most powerful and wealthiest nations in the world, that Americans be on a level playing field with the majority of First World Countries when it comes to those issues…. That simply making healthcare and education “affordable” isn’t good enough because you really can’t pinpoint what affordable means here for all socio-economic classes…. That these issues aren’t just Socialist issues or Democrat issues or Republican issues but rather Human issues…. He has proven that you can launch a successful campaign without corporate money… and politicians who say otherwise are likely getting paid to do so.
So, what now? Well, you keep the revolution and the discussion alive. Bernie Sanders wasn’t the Revolution. He gave voice to the Revolution. It is up to his supporters to continue making that voice heard… to go out and find groups of like-minded people and work together to improve your community. You can do so by making sure your Representatives are making decisions based on information and the needs from the bottom up. And if they don’t, vote them out. Sanders has left his supporters an electoral map of where these progressive, grassroots ideas are the strongest and the weakest. Those really looking for change should use this information to rally behind Progressive Independents or Democrats for office. We can never stop working to kick out the Republicans and Tea Party candidates that are detrimental to our way of life. And we have to do this not just in presidential elections but also in local elections. Our voices should be heard every single day and not just every four years when a career politician wants your vote. There is enormous potential to grow this movement, if we can only embrace the impact that Sanders’ campaign has had. It is not entirely about winning or losing but more so about continuing to fight social and economic injustices. That is how the Revolution moves forward.
Featured image: Video screen grab, The Struggle Continues | Bernie Sanders via Bernie 2016, modified with stencils by Kurt Doonesbury