“When millions of people of people stand up and fight, they win!” — Bernie Sanders
This week, I’ve come across 3 different sources of progressive discussion that all reference either directly or inconsequentially the rift between supporters of the Democratic Party. For the past few months, there’s been a growing contingent within Bernie Sanders’ supporters saying that if Hillary Clinton is the eventual nominee, they will forgo voting in the General Election. Let’s look at what the sources say.
The first is the most recent, coming from comedian Bill Maher, during his show Real Time with Bill Maher. During his recurring “New Rule” segment, he poked fun at the #BernieorBust movement, pointing out how they reprimanded Elizabeth Warren for remaining neutral and not giving an endorsement, and how they seem to be losing sight of the potential of a Donald Drumpf presidency. What I appreciated about this segment the most was that Maher was even-handed in criticizing the Clinton camp for allowing the same, citing the hypocrisy of Bill Clinton throwing accusations of sexism toward Bernie’s supporters while no GOP candidate supports a woman’s right to choose. Eventually, this changed into Maher’s usual schtick against SJW’s who go too far with people who are on their side.
Next is an article from the March 24th edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, where Mark Binelli catalogued the standard that Clinton and Sanders have set for proper political discourse, quoting sources like Barney Frank and (my hero) Robert Reich. The part relevant to this conversation is a paragraph near the end where Peter Hart, chairman of Peter D. Hart Research Associates says the following:
“It’s different from other years, where there would be irreparable damage for a long time. I’m not of the belief that everyone who voted for Bernie looks at Hillary and says ‘There’s the enemy’. This is a situation where I think, by the time Democrats go to the polls, the differences will be joined.”
The entirety of the article is a fascinating summary of the Democratic Primary up until after Super Tuesday, and I recommend you read it in full if you’re a political junkie like me.
The final piece in this triad, and my favorite, is from Youtube’s Vlog Brothers, John and Hank Green. In the video Hank (the Friday brother) talks of how in a world like that of Parks and Recreation, (meaning one much like our own, only funny) however much the characters disagreed with each other politically, they never end up hating each other, and in general were viewed by the audience as good people. Compare that to our real-world discussions, where attacking a particular piece of legislation can be seen as an attack on someone’s integrity, and you wonder how does anyone remain friends with anyone? According to Hank, Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope are able to do it with a combination of respect, kindness, and a desire to value each other despite their differences.
This is probably the best anyone has put the situation regarding the split amongst the Democrats and what needs to be done. While Maher suggests (jokingly of course) that both sides need to cut it out and get in line, and those in the field don’t really see much of a problem at all, Hank Green encourages the idea of having the discourse while doing our best to remain friends, even if for a day we may think that we hate each other. Personally, I find that to be the best option.
As for the act of having no choice in voting for Hillary, I’d like to make some points myself:
To start, this idea always starts with the mindset that Hillary in an inevitability. But, for awhile now, there’s been a passion gap of sorts; as more and more people #FeelTheBern, Hillary’s support just sits there, not moving despite any new information. Not to say they’re stubborn, but Hillary-heads certainly seem resigned, accepting that Hillary is the best we can hope for considering the standard of American politics. As much as I’d love to label that as defeatist, it’d be unfair to do so. In any case, the math isn’t unanimous yet and may not be for a while. Until such a day, let’s keep our perspective balanced and admit, at this point, both candidates are still feasible and nobody knows for sure.
Second, most of us Bernie-holics aren’t interested in fighting Hillary supporters. What we prefer is Bernie fighting Hillary. Bernie has brought up subjects that would in no way be part of the conversation if he hadn’t, whether it’s campaign finance reform or ACTUAL change to our healthcare and college systems. Even if a majority overrules us, it’s nice to see Hillary sweat issues she probably never considered until it became popular. (Something Bernie has pointed out before)
Moving on, while I do agree with the idea of a Bernie supporter eventually voting for Hillary in the General even if they disagree with her, because when elephants like Drumpf and even Ted Cruz (like I said, nobody knows for sure) are on the horizon there’s no sense in being picky, I’d like to ask: “What’s in it for us?” Using the fear tactic of a Drumpf presidency may scare us into considering it, but you know what would be better? If Hillary actually embraced some of Bernie’s ideas (as a certain endorsement of her’s did a month ago) besides promoting website donations and talking aggressively about Wall Street. If she put in that effort, and perhaps some honest work into her unfavorability, maybe some of us could swallow the bitter pill easier. But thus far, we’re not seeing any cheese for us dogs to swallow. Without any sense of an olive branch, can you blame some Bernie supporters for being so hardline?
To be honest, there’s a part of me that thinks maybe another Republican president is exactly what this country needs to swallow it’s own bitter pill of single-payer universal health care and free college. This part clearly has a dark sense of humor and isn’t used very often.
However, regardless of whether or not Bernie wins the nomination, there are two things we can all do to keep his ideas alive.
- First, we need to take some advice from Hillary Clinton and remember to vote into office a Democratic legislature to allow to the clearance and encouragement of progressive ideas.
- Second, we need to keep up the noise, even when we’re met with silence. In this day and age, ideas die as soon as someone forgets to pass them on.
Huge change like the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s and the fight for legal gay marriage of the last decade didn’t get where they are now because they wrote an angry Tweet or Facebook post. They came in person, with a thousand voices behind them, to demand the change they wanted. They organized, they protested, and above all they persuaded others to join them. This is how the loathsome Tea Party took over our government and, along with years of gerrymandering and corporate welfare, turned it into the self-serving entity you’re familiar with today. Like Bernie says, “When millions of people of people stand up and fight, they win!”
In conclusion, when Abraham Lincoln said “A House divided against itself cannot stand”, he had an issue that potentially could. When Democrats and Republicans call for “party unity”, remember that’s the establishment of both parties saying it. Perhaps this rattling of the cages is needed to get actual progress. Don’t be scared into settling, but also, don’t be cruel is discussing.
Maher, Bill. “Real Time with Bill Maher: New Rule – The Insufficient Purity Test (HBO).” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdv9W-xcgeQ>.
Binelli, Mark. “Hillary Clinton vs. Bernie Sanders: The Good Fight.” Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone Magazine, 09 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/hillary-clinton-vs-bernie-sanders-the-good-fight-20160309>.
Green, Hank. “The Politics of “Parks and Rec”” YouTube. YouTube, 11 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4-kItwN71c>.
Editorial, Board. “Hillary Clinton Should Just Say Yes to a $15 Minimum Wage.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 16 Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/17/opinion/hillary-clinton-should-just-say-yes-to-a-15-minimum-wage.html>.
Wright, David. “Bill Clinton Rips Sanders Backers ‘sexist,’ ‘profane’ Attacks.” CNN. Cable News Network, 8th Feb. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/08/politics/bill-clinton-sanders-supporters-attacks/>.
Miller, S.A. “Bernie Sanders Hits Hillary Clinton’s ‘evolution’ on Tough Issues.” Washington Times. The Washington Times, 8 Nov. 2015. Web. 13 Mar. 2016. <http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/8/bernie-sanders-vermont-senator-hits-hillary-clinto/>.
Lifhits, Jenna. “Todd: There’s A ‘Passion Gap’ Between Clinton and Sanders.” Washington Free Beacon. The Washington Free Beacon, 13 Jan. 2016. Web. 13 Mar. 2016. <http://freebeacon.com/politics/todd-theres-passion-gap-clinton-sanders/>.
Ugyur, Cenk. “Single-Payer Universal Health Care Explained.” YouTube. YouTube, 12 Mar. 2016. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsfjEh7AfN0>.
Ray, Michael. “Tea Party Movement.” Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Encyclopedia Britannica, 30 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.britannica.com/topic/Tea-Party-movement>.
Ingraham, Christopher. “This Is the Best Explanation of Gerrymandering You Will Ever See.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 01 Mar. 2015. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/01/this-is-the-best-explanation-of-gerrymandering-you-will-ever-see/>.
Brunori, David. “Where Is The Outrage Over Corporate Welfare?” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Mar. 2014. Web. 12 Mar. 2016. <http://www.forbes.com/sites/taxanalysts/2014/03/14/where-is-the-outrage-over-corporate-welfare/#1fc789eb6881>.
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