I'm both an avid Bernie Sanders fan and a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton. If Sanders had won the Democratic presidential nomination, I would have unhesitatingly jumped on board the Bernie Train, hoping that it would lead to the White House.
So it's been painful and perplexing for me to peruse my Facebook feed now that Sanders has dropped out of the race and formally endorsed Clinton. I keep seeing posts from Salem-area Berniacs along the lines of "Hillary should have been indicted," "Sanders had the nomination stolen from him," and "Keep the dream alive, vote for Jill Stein."
Stein, of course, is the Green Party candidate. She has a close-to-zero chance of becoming president. But Stein has a much greater chance of making Donald Trump the next president of the United States.
That's what happened in the 2000 election. Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate, siphoned off enough votes from Al Gore in Florida and New Hampshire to give those states to George W. Bush.
The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Bush went on to become a horrible president. He invaded Iraq under false pretenses. He pursued an anti-environmental agenda. His social policies were dreadful. On his watch the country experienced a financial meltdown that almost led to another Great Depression.
I understand the allure of pursuing a high-minded idealistic political ideology. But I hope Sanders supporters who haven't yet heeded his call to support Clinton remember the lesson of the 2000 election: a few thousand idealists who vote for the Green Party candidate can put a right-wing Republican in the White House.
Anyone who thinks there was no difference between Al Gore and George Bush isn't seeing the political landscape clearly. Ditto with anyone who thinks there is no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. On just about every liberal/ progressive/ Green issue, Clinton is far superior to Trump.
There is no perfect presidential candidate. Never has been. Never will be. Perfection isn't part of the human condition.
In every election, voters necessarily choose between flawed candidates. Mr. or Ms. Perfect won't be found on the ballot. Neither will a third party candidate -- Libertarian or Green Party -- with a chance of winning the presidency. So I am unable to grasp what would lead a Sanders supporter to ignore Bernie's call to work for Clinton's election and Trump's defeat.
After all, everyone who rooted for Sanders to get the Democratic presidential nomination was taking part in our country's political system, which is dominated by the two major parties.
Some people reject politics all together, or view voting as a useless exercise. I get why these people aren't interested in voting for Clinton, since they're equally uninterested in voting for Trump, Stein, or the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. But Sanders ran as a Democrat within the Democratic Party system.
He put up a great fight, drawing Clinton and the Party to the left on lots of issues. Kudos to Sanders for that. The Democratic platform is considerably improved because of Sanders.
Now is the time for Sanders and Clinton supporters to join forces in a unified Stop Trump effort. Please, Berniacs, don't throw your vote away by failing to vote for Clinton in November. Along with remembering the lesson of 2000, when George W. Bush was elected president by an exceedingly narrow margin, keep in mind the lesson of Brexit.
Reportedly many United Kingdom voters chose "Leave" over "Remain" because they didn't think Leave would win, and they wanted to send a message with a protest vote.
Well, the message now is that the UK is on the way to leaving the European Union. There's no protest message, just as virtually no one remembers what Ralph Nader and the Green Party stood for in the 2000 election. The main memory is that Nader voters caused Al Gore to lose the presidency, and George W. Bush to win it.
I can't believe that this is what Sanders supporters want to have happen in 2016: a Donald Trump presidency.
Yet it is definitely possible. Currently Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight site gives Trump about a 33% chance of winning. That's uncomfortably high. And his apparent choice of Mike Pence for the Republican vice-president slot is pretty smart (especially by Trump standards).
So we all need to vote in November as if the future of this county depends on who wins the presidency, Clinton or Trump. Because, really, it does.
Wait a minute, so now you want everyone to toe the party line and "just go along"? Who are you? The mayor of Salem?
Posted by: Not Even Wrong | July 15, 2016 at 09:05 AM
Not Even Wrong, this isn't a matter of toeing the party line. It is a matter of choosing to do what is best for this country.
Politics, like life, involves continually adjusting to changing circumstances. Sanders sought the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party. He lost to Clinton. Now Sanders has conceded and urged his supporters to back Clinton and defeat Trump.
I don't understand what you mean by "going along." It isn't possible for Sanders supporters to continue on their previous path of supporting his presidential candidacy, given Sanders' withdrawal from the race. So these supporters have to go in a different direction.
They get to choose which direction. I advise voting for and supporting Hillary Clinton, because she is the only viable progressive candidate who can beat Donald Trump. I realize that some Sanders supporters want to head somewhere else: toward the Green Party candidate, or not voting at all. I haven't yet heard a convincing argument for doing anything other than supporting Clinton, but I'm open to such.
I'm not sure what you advise people to do. Vote for Trump? Hopefully not. Vote for Stein, the Green Party candidate? She can't win, so a vote for her is essentially the same as not voting. And I can't see any reasons for not voting in this super-important presidential election.
Posted by: Brian Hines | July 15, 2016 at 10:56 AM
I thought this site was supposed to be about snark? How can it be about snark if you don't recognize it when it jumps up and snarks you in the ass?
Posted by: Not Even Wrong | July 15, 2016 at 11:22 AM
OMG! I took you seriously! Now I've wasted my VERY BEST ARGUMENT for Sanders supporters to vote for Clinton.
But I'm sure this was meant to be by the Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster and/or the Pantheistic Goddess I am deeply devoted to, assuming she is as divinely hot as I imagine her.
Surely some genuinely misguided Sanders supporter will read my comment and decide to vote for Clinton. Then, she will win the electoral votes in the state where this supporter lives by one vote, which were needed to guarantee her the presidency, and this blog will have changed history.
Posted by: Brian Hines | July 15, 2016 at 11:46 AM
Maybe HIllary could try to not be such a garbage candidate and actually give people a reason to vote FOR her besides "Donald Trump sucks" and "Because I am a woman." I am not blindly committed to either party and these are the only 2 reasons I can think of that HIllary has clearly communicated to be reasons to vote for her. I am sure you can rattle off a list of reasons Brian but I think most non-rabid hillary people take away those 2 points the most from what she has said. And all that inspires is a resounding "who gives a crap?"
Even though Not Even Wrong snarks about it, it does appear to be some sort of cognitive dissonance on your part where you are so opposed to the local 1%ers and entrenched ruling elite clique holding political powers and working for their own lobbyist/special interests, and then encouraging people to now go along with a similar situation on the national scale just because they(Hillary) say that are on your team (progressives). Hillary Clinton is the very definition of the entrenched elite 1% bought and sold for special interest beholden politician. The thought process is like "Dictators are bad, unless it is a dictator that believes the same thing i do." (note to literalists this is a metaphor i am not actually saying either side is a dictator)
Some people will vote for Trump just to mess with the system, as a giant middle finger to the establishment. Because for whatever reason there are many people who feel the establishment has been giving a giant middle finger to them this whole time, no matter which party has been in power. An insider like Hillary will just stay the course. So why not vote for Trump- "If I'm going to hell I'm taking all you sons of bitches with me."
Posted by: Salemander | July 15, 2016 at 01:28 PM
1). Nader did not give Bush FL in the 2000 election. Party shenanigans and the Supreme Court gave Bush the election.
2). If your major issue is peace, electing Hillary may be worse than electing Trump,
Posted by: Mary Ann Baclawski | July 15, 2016 at 02:18 PM
Headline in the Urinal and Daily Dead Fish Wrapper in large bold font the day after voting closes:
!!!TRUMP WINS BY LANDSLIDE!!!
Just giving you time to get ready to deal with it.
Brian; you got the guts to bet me lunch?
Hugs & Kisses! XOXOXOXO
Posted by: Harry Vanderpool | July 15, 2016 at 10:43 PM
Harry, you just gave me a nightmare. It's going to take a few extra tokes of weed to get me to sleep soundly tonight. It already freaks me out that 40% of voters say they support Trump. The idea of him actually WINNING is super disturbing. So I'll do my best to forget your headline fantasy.
Posted by: Brian Hines | July 15, 2016 at 10:58 PM