The Case for #BernieOrBust Progressives: Why You Should Vote for Hillary Clinton

 

Hillary Clinton (Credit: Gage Skidmore); Bernie Sanders (Credit: Phil Roeder)

Hillary Clinton (Credit: Gage Skidmore); Bernie Sanders (Credit: Phil Roeder)

By now you have seen it all and are tired of being told what to do. You’ve been cajoled, pressured, guilted, even threatened to say that you’ll vote for Hillary Clinton should Bernie Sanders lose the nomination. And you are tired of it.

You’ve stated all the reasons Hillary is not your candidate: from her centrist politics, hawkish foreign policy and support of the crime bill to the Honduras fiasco and Wall Street influence, etc. It’s hard to understand that despite these obvious “flaws,” she’s still up by 3 million votes, made up of key and diverse demographics, in key states, and has a 96% chance of winning the California primary, even with a new poll saying the California race is suddenly close. Others are saying she’ll lock it up way before that in New Jersey, of all places.

Now you are hearing a chorus of former Bernie champions, respected men like Robert Reich, who gave you all the math of how Bernie might win, and even Hillary hater and funny man Bill Maher, warning you that at some point, not voting for Hillary will aid Donald Trump.

“WTF?” you must be thinking, “How are you going to tell me how evil this person is, that she’s not reflective of my values, and then say I have to vote for her for ‘the good of the country?’”

You, and many Bernie supporters like you, may want to reply with a defiant NO and maybe a well-placed finger.

OK. I get it. And I’m not here to try to convince you to simply abandon your current beliefs. I’m here to talk to you as an adult, and as someone who respects why you have chosen your position. Full disclosure, I am a Hillary supporter. But I am also a progressive, and I support those who want to see positive change and promote equity and justice in the system. So let’s discuss.

You already know the facts that I believe we can all objectively agree on:

  • Hillary will most likely win the Democratic nomination.
  • This will be a very close race vs. Trump in the general election
  • Should Bernie go third party, he will still not win, but split the left for an easier victory for Trump.
  • By all account, Trump would turn the country into chaos.

How we got to this point is almost irrelevant now, but let’s look at the two scenarios under which there isn’t support from Bernie supporters.

Trump wins, and the GOP falls in line because, hey, a win’s a win.

CubaTrump

He would control Supreme Court nominations (at least two) and have influence over tax cuts and social services. Perhaps more importantly (and this is NOT to fear-monger), his presidency will give America’s underbelly of racism and xenophobia the air cover it’s been looking for to show itself in a way not seen in decades. Political historians are weary that Trump is actually a significant turning point in American democracy. Even if it’s only for one term, the damage to this country will not be easily undone in the next four, or eight years. Remember: it took Obama almost his entire presidency to recover the country from President Bush’s economic failure.

Hillary wins anyway without Bernie’s support.

(State Chancellery of Latvia/Flickr)

(Photo via State Chancellery of Latvia/Flickr)

Let’s say Hillary gets the vote from her Democrats AND moderate, center-right Republicans like Laura Bush, who recently gave her a tacit endorsement.  The world does not slip into chaos, but Hillary inches her way back to the center, ignoring her previous moves to the left, and the progressive movement is further marginalized within the party. Maybe that means an emergence of a third party, but for all intents and purposes… nothing changes.

And that’s the frustration among Bernie supporters, isn’t it? That Hillary’s centrist policies will win the day, and nothing will change, and the only thing that will shake up the system enough is to let Trump win? Some anticipate shrugging off a Trump presidency, hoping he’s such a disaster he’ll only last four years, simply satisfied that they helped stopped Hillary from the top spot. Some see it as a cleansing fire in a forest, to make way for a new one to emerge from the embers (never mind all the lives that perish in the process of such a “cleanse”). Besides, the left will battle Trump for what’s right and be joined by moderates who will battle to save women’s rights, labor rights, immigration reform, social justice reform, the dwindling middle class, etc.

I’m tired just imagining the battle the lies ahead. So let me get to the point. And it’s a singular, simple one.

For Bernie Sanders supporters, the best chance of moving forward with progressive change to “the system” is to help Hillary win should she become the nominee.

Not because she’s going to be the harbinger of change in Bernie’s place, but because YOU ARE going to be that harbinger of change.

You are going to pressure Hillary to move further left, to fulfill her promise of healthcare for all and a higher minimum wage, to dismantle the private prison complex and enact justice reform.

You will be the ones to get immigration reform, and hold her feet to the fire on Citizens United to get money out of the political system.

And you’ll be successful at it because Hillary is maybe 80% of the way there, 93% if you compare senatorial voting records with Sanders.

You’ll pressure her on timelines and which priorities to go after first, and you’ll need to still protest and hold rallies and write op-eds and crowd the streets, but you’ll have someone in the White House who can be moved by that energy to get closer to where you are.

Hillary may not be your candidate, but she is not your enemy.

Make no mistake, there is an enemy. The alternative to pushing Hillary left, and protesting for justice in front of a sympathetic (if not always agreeing) White House, is having these battles under a Trump regime. Under a regime where a man attacks judges for ruling against him, media for questioning him, says he can ban entire religions, and has no real understanding of constitutional rights. If the protests at Trump rallies are any indication, under a Trump presidency are bound to turn violent. That scenario will be bad for us all. It sets the clock back decades, instead of helping to push it forward.

Every year we hear our President tell us the “State of Our Union is Strong.” Can we really expect to hear that in the coming years under a Trump presidency without wincing?

Without a concerted effort on the left (and left-center) to elect the Democratic nominee, Trump can win. It’s very clearly a possibility. And that’s a scenario that makes our fight harder. But let me be clear: that doesn’t mean you have to “swallow Hillary.”

In fact, I encourage you to be loud, to protest, and cajole, guilt, and pressure her to hear your concerns, because your biggest asset right now is that “flaw” Hillary has been criticized for having: she can be swayed. She has proven that under the right pressure, she can go left, but without that pressure, the money and support will keep her center. So pressure away.

There is no pressuring Trump. We can protest Trump. We can write nasty things about him until we’re blue in the face. He’s not going to budge. He’s a demagogue. And what that means is that in order to fight for progressive beliefs, we will have to take to the streets like we haven’t in a generation. The amount of mobilization necessary to make a difference will be exponentially more (and cost more and have more risks to it) to fight under a Trump regime than a Hillary presidency. Remember, if he wins, it’ll be with a majority of votes from people who support him, and will defend him and his policies. Are we to go head to head with half of America as well? Only our own level of stubbornness and short-sightedness can determine which scenario we’ll have to work under.

Also, beware of the people encouraging you to not vote, or to “give the country the president they deserve: Trump.” Question their motives. One thing proven in this election cycle is that Trump’s entertainment value lifts all boats, including for those who oppose him. There are some out there who, if they can’t elect their candidate, would be satisfied keeping Trump the center of attention for as long as possible because it benefits them, creating a sort of “opposition industry,” and there is money and fame to be found there.

For some in the chattering classes (and bloggering classes), the struggle to remain relevant is difficult. A Democratic win that’s not Bernie would render those who cheered hardest for him a bit passé. Under a Trump regime, some of these folk will be elevated to resistance status, and it would keep them front and center in the conversation well past the election. A Trump presidency will fill their speaking engagements and up their click rates. It’ll make them guest TV commentators and leaders of rallies nationwide. There’s motivation to maintain the current discourse and keep the crowds angry (and watching and clicking) for as long as possible.

There are still others whose motives are more insidious. They crave the actual physical fight. They want to see citizens at each other’s throats. They want to see blood in the streets. We see them showing themselves even now, inciting chaos when there are peaceful protests. We talk about being manipulated by certain parties for their benefit over our own: that concept happens on multiple levels. And if there is one thing we can agree on, is no one likes to feel manipulated.

You won’t be abandoning your principles by voting for Hillary should she win the eventual nomination. No one expects Bernie’s movement to go home and hide: many of us are counting on your continued energy to remind the government of the people they swore to represent. You can keep working hard to provide a real opportunity to change the system in this decade.

Bernie Sanders Rally Vancouver, WA March 20, 2016 (Adampdx85)

Bernie Sanders Rally Vancouver, WA March 20, 2016 (Adampdx85)

It’s the beginning of the movement, not the end. I’m sure Bernie’s eventual concession speech (and endorsement) will include some form of this call for support.

I’m not trying to tell you Hillary will be Bernie in the White House. She won’t be (and that’s OK). But Hillary is the person most likely to hear your message and respond, whereas Trump will keep us screaming in the streets, if he doesn’t let loose the hounds and hoses first.

So, will we unite to fight for progress under Clinton, or must we be forced fight for survival under Trump?

***

Born in the Bronx, New York and currently a New Jersey resident, Miguel has written multiple entertainment reviews and political opinion pieces for online publications including CNN.com, HLN.com, the Huffington PostLlero.net and The Father Life, an online magazine for dads. You can follow him @miguad98.

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5 comments
Greg Medina
Greg Medina

Miguel?

Does it hurt to be that smug?


The reality is, many of us will not be voting for Hillaria if she is the only name on the ballot on November 9th.


She has had DECADES to prove her commitment to progressive change and politics and at best, has FAILED consistently!!!  There is absolutely NO proof of her ever understanding the plight of the 10s of MILLIONS of out-sourced, down-sized, pink-slip'd, unemployed, foreclosed, evicted, soup-kitchen-dining, homeless-shelter-living former members of the middle class, who are the LARGEST economic/political demographic and the ANGRIEST at our bought-and-sold politicians, which SHE represents in all their hideous hypocrisy and hubris!


And I won't belabor the point that as Secretary State of State, she ABANDONED our diplomatic mission in Benghazi, ignoring for over a year their desperate e-mails BEGGING to be relocated to a safer location, but apparently she was too busy with other things.  


Perhaps she was helping Chelsea write thank-you notes to the THOUSANDS of their closest Wall Street bankster thugs, who were and still are best friends of Chelsea's husband a notorious money-launderer at Goldman Sachs.  Perhaps during your sojourns on Wall Street you might have crossed paths with him at a urinal.  And do we really need to wonder why she DOESN'T want her e-mails seen by the public???


Bernie on the other hand has made his progressive, pro-workers' rights, pro-union, pro-America-first people's economic and worker priorities very clear for the SAME decades!  He has marched side-by-side with those people who devastated when their factories, plants and manufacturing sites closed-up and moved to 3rd world rat-holes so that their employees could make an additional dime on a box of Tampons!  

He did this YEARS before he decided to run for the office of President.  Hillaria in contrast, only started hugging ILLEGAL babies and tossing Taco Bell burritos into the crowd in Wal-Mart parking lots when she announced her bid for the same office....not so much because she wants to "lead" a country drowning in despair and dysfunction, but because she wants to be the First Vee-Jay-Jay in the Oval office since her husband Bill was entertaining Monica Lewinsky on the desk-top!


So you see Miguel, at this point, many of us who do believe more in providence and the destiny of fate, than in Hillaria's cheap politics and their goose-stepping, duck-speaking minions who stand on the ground taking-in all the red, white and blue confetti that is farting out of Hillaria's rainbow-colored unicorns,  are resigned to:


1. Vote for Trump and it will be the 1st time many of us will be voting Republican

2. Write-in Bernie Sanders’ name on the ballot

3. Vote for the Independent

4. Not vote at all

5. Raking Fall leaves

6. Outline our Thanksgiving menu around Goya frozen plantains and a big steaming platter of Paella and bowls of chilled gazpacho.


I don't know what YOU will be doing, but I hope it's something with more intelligence, industry and integrity than voting for someone so dishonest, duplicitous and deceitful that she makes a cobra coiled and hissing in a bamboo basket look like a helpless lamb. 


Y dejame saber si necesitas que te escriba este comentario en Espanol...

I also peaki a little Spangli tambien.


Greg Medina
Greg Medina

@MiguelGuadalupe...your talent for understatement is exceeded only by your talent for journalism and political analysis...cheers...y eso es diciendo poco, chico...

MiguelGuadalupe
MiguelGuadalupe

Ok Good. I just wanted to confirm since I couldn't really get your point buried in your unnecessary insults and extremist conspiracies. BTW never said I was a journalist, that's why this is an Op-Ed. And my analysis must have struck a chord in some way...and that's a good thing. You can do what you will, of course - thank god (or whatever higher power you believe in, or no power at all) that this is still a free country... let's hope the actions of those who understand help keep it that way come November. 


But if your answer is to cross your arms, and do nothing, or if your hate for Clinton is so all consuming (which must be exhausting) that you'd actually work towards a Trump presidency... well then...I really don't have more energy to spend on this specific conversation. 


All the best to you and yours,


MG

Greg Medina
Greg Medina

@MiguelGuadalupe ...those left behind by the Benghazi dead to live forever in anguish and grief must be so comforted by your immature, "Hillaria-or-die", goose-stepping, duck-speaking rant...now go ride your rainbow-colored unicorn...it is ready to start farting red, white and blue confetti over the American electorate for you and you'll want be holding those reins, captain...some of us aim a lot higher in our view of what is just and fair than a bumper-sticker on a Barbie mo-ped.