OK, full disclosure: I am a Hillary Clinton supporter. I like Hillary Clinton and have since she was our First Lady. I voted for her in the primaries in 2008 and was disappointed when she didn’t get the nomination (though I did end up voting for Obama–twice). I trust that Hillary will continue fighting for progressive causes in a way that will actually get things accomplished, just as she has her entire adult life. She’s a pragmatist, but she’s also an idealist who has always had lofty goals for what can be accomplished in America if we don’t give up. In case it needs to be expressly stated: she is the Democratic party’s nominee.
That is to say, I am in total agreement with Sarah Silverman when she said last night at the DNC that “the Bernie-or-Bust people are being ridiculous.” Why? Well, let’s first define the “Bernie-or-Bust” movement as I see it:
These are supporters of Bernie Sanders during the 2016 primary season who believe so ardently that Sanders should be our next President that last night they went to the Democratic National Convention (or sat home in front of their TV) and booed almost every speaker in protest.
These are people who claim that they will either sit out the general election in November, write in Bernie Sanders name, vote for a third party candidate such as Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, or even vote for Donald Trump.
These are people who say they will never vote for the Democratic nominee even if a readily available assault-style weapon is held to their heads.
Bernie Sanders stood for some very basic progressive principles and I’m going to make the assumption that this is why Bernie-or-Busters wanted to support him in the first place (and not because, let’s say, he reminded them of their adorable great-uncle Marvin). Last night at the DNC, he reiterated these principles as if giving a stump speech. Generally speaking, Sanders wants to overturn Citizens United, and make absolutely certain that people who aren’t at the top 1% of wealth distribution in this country earn and keep enough of their money to support themselves and their families. He wants to restore fairness to our political system (assuming it was ever fair) and to our capitalist society.
With all that having been said, here are 7 great reasons for the Bernie-or-Busters (you know who you are) to put down your pitchforks, stop booing at your TV, and start supporting Hillary Clinton for the presidency.
1. Clinton’s History on Progressive Issues
Many of the Bernie-or-Busters are too young to remember or have never learned the honest-to-goodness truth about Hillary Clinton’s background. The truth? Clinton has been a champion for progressive causes her entire adult life. She was a trailblazer on issues like universal health care and worked tirelessly to help get the Children’s Health Insurance Program enacted. While First Lady in the 1990s, and against conventional wisdom, she dared to march in a gay rights parade and went to China to announce to the world that “Women’s Rights are Human Rights.”
2. The Fate of the Supreme Court
Whoever is the next President will get to determine who will be the all-important, tie-breaking ninth justice on the Supreme Court. Clinton will choose someone who will be most likely to overturn Citizens United, support women’s and minorities’ rights, support LGBTQ rights, and interpret the Second Amendment consistently with its plain language.
3. Clinton and the Democrats’ Platform
Sanders delegates claimed victory after victory during meetings held to determine the Democratic platform. If elected, Clinton will seek to carry out that platform. Bernie himself enthusiastically stated last night that this platform is the most progressive in the history of the Democratic party.
4. OK, She’s Not Donald Trump
Well, I had to throw this in there. For every single issue that Bernie Sanders cares about, for every progressive concept there is, Donald Trump is the anti-Bernie. Trump would love for the Bernie-or-Busters to vote for him in a frenzied rage of “I’ll show those Democrats!” Don’t. Fall. For. It. If you for one second think that Donald Trump will even attempt to tackle, much less achieve any of Bernie’s goals, then you really haven’t been paying attention. I’ll admit that I made similar threats when my candidate lost to Obama in 2008. Then I woke up the day after she conceded and came to my senses.
5. Be On the Right (Correct) Side of History
There is a political cartoon making the rounds on Facebook that depicts a man in a tattered suit sitting around a campfire with three children, who are presumably his children, and he says to them: “Yes, a homophobic, Latino-hating, racist, sexist pig won the US presidency, but for a beautiful moment in time I got to stamp my feet and refuse to vote for Hillary. . . .” In other words, if the Bernie-or-Busters do not vote for Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump will win and the Bernie-or-Busters will be to blame for this. Just imagine what America would be like then.
6. Vote Democrat Now, and Buy More Time for the “Revolution”
I get it: Bernie-or-Busters do not want to be “sellouts.” They hate the idea of selling out and want a perfect end to a perfect “political revolution.” This all-or-nothing approach, however, could not be more self-defeating. If Donald Trump wins in November and Congress does not change overnight to a strong majority of Democrats, there is no hope–none–that the Political Revolution championed by Bernie will succeed. On the other hand, if the Bernie-or-Busters go to the polls in November and vote Democrat up and down the ballot (federal, state, local), then they hopefully will have four years to try to make some real changes to a system that is either “rigged” or not. Even assuming Jill Stein or Gary Johnson would support every single proposal of Bernie Sanders, these two are so far behind in the polls, a protest vote for them will help result in a Trump presidency (see Reason #5).
7. Listen to Bernie (and Elizabeth Warren, Michelle Obama, President Obama, etc…)
Bernie-or-Busters listened intently to Bernie Sanders during the primary campaign and not surprisingly heard a message that was very positive about Bernie Sanders and neutral to negative about Hillary Clinton. That’s called “politics.” But did Bernie go to the DNC and give a lukewarm or non-endorsement of Hillary Clinton? He could have been the Ted Cruz of the DNC but chose instead to throw his support behind the Democratic nominee (who had accepted much if not all of his agenda as part of the platform).
Last night, Michelle Obama, Elizabeth Warren, NJ Sen. Cory Booker, NY Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, immigrants, disabled people, and others, all spoke passionately about Clinton and her devotion to progressive causes. President Obama couldn’t wait to get on the campaign trail to champion Hillary Clinton. Both he and the First Lady were impressed with how she handled losing to Obama in 2008. She could have faded away and cashed in. It would have been so easy for her do that, the First Lady pointed out. But instead she has risen to the occasion and will be our first woman president, a real champion of progressive causes in the White House.
If only progressives like the Bernie-or-Busters vote for her in November.