…No doubt the army of Sanders supporters online have split in two: Many will follow him to the DNC and beyond but I suspect just and many who haven’t already will switch their support to Green Party candidate Jill Stein. More on this blockbuster decision could mean for Sanders’ supporters in a bit.
Clinton and Sanders appeared together at a rally in Portsmouth, NH this afternoon. After thanking his campaign team and supporters across the country, Sanders officially concded his White House bid to Hillary Clinton. In the next sentence, he endorsed her as the Democratic Nominee, pledging to help her win the White House moving forward. Based on his candor with his remarks after giving his endorsement, it’s obvious the two have spoken privately since Clinton clinched the democratic nomination two months ago. If he said he will support her, he certainly will. Speaking to their combined supporters in NH is an important first step in that regard.
I’ve been watching Sanders for a long time. He is not the kind of person who will lie for someone even for politics. To those who supported Hillary Clinton from the beginning, this is the nightmare scenario many Sanders supporters feared since May: Sanders conceding to Clinton and endorsing her platform. Many supporters will see his endorsement of Clinton as a betrayal of their trust. In my viewpoint, what Sanders said in his remarks after the endorsement is why he will always have my respect: The race for the White House isn’t about any one candidate. It’s about the people.
While Clinton alone probably could have lost to Trump, Sanders joining her team prettymuch ensures she wins the White House. He will move her further to the left while also bringing in Independent and Republican voters who were backing him. Those who choose to follow his lead, anyway. On that note, I think it’s very likely Sanders will either be named her Vice President or have a position in her cabinet. We will hopefully find out for sure at the Democratic National Convention next week.
…Now I want to speak directly to outraged Sanders supporters who either watched the announcement or have since heard about it: As Sanders HIMSELF said today, this election is not about any one candidate. It’s about the American people. Weather you choose to continue to support Sanders from here on out or not, don’t you DARE say he betrayed anyone. He went as far as he could on his own. He waited until he was absolutely certain he would not get the nomination to make this decision. His and Clinton’s remarks today were mainly directed at Sanders’ supporters on that note.
Now, many of you have and will continue to make the arguement “He could have run as a third party candidate” long before today. I looked into it when he was thinking of running for president last year: Once you decide to run as a Democratic/Republican Candidate, you’re locked in until you drop out or get the nomination. In Sanders’ case, the path he chose to follow made it impossible for him to run as a third party candidate. Today’s move ensures the momentum and democratic electoral support he gained is not lost to Trump or anther third party candidate. THAT was the danger the DNC was wary of as we are all aware.
The next question to be asked is “What does this mean for everyone who stood by Bernie to the end?” My personal opinion is for my fellow and presumably now former Sanders suporters to respect his judgement and remember that even though the odds were stacked against him from the beginning, he did not relent. His tenacity was not overlooked by the DNC and despite their best efforts, they failed to silence him. He moved Clinton’s platform back toward the left and strengthened her base just like Clinton did for Barack Obama 8 years ago.
On that note: The reactions to Sanders conceding is not that different from that of Clinton supporters 8 years ago. They were angry and bitter but they ultimately voted for the man she went on to endorse. They may not have liked the outcome but deep down, their respect for their candidate’s decision led to them voting for Obama in 2008. Now my Sanders supporters know what that felt like. This leads to his now former base to make one of three decisions: Continue to support him as he plans to support Clinton, try your luck with Jill Stein or don’t vote at all. The third “choice” is not a real option. That’s exactly what the GOP wants, for ex-Sanders supporters to stay home on Election Day.
Jill Stein’s supporters moved to siphon Sanders supporters and campaign employees as early as mid-April when the gap between Clinton and Sanders began to widen. Her supporters started to infiltrate pro-Sanders Facebook groups, urging his supporters to back Stein instead. My personal opinion on Jill Stein is she has no chance of winning in November. She’s clearly trying to run a counterfeit version of Sanders’ campaign and I can’t respect someone who is not only doing that but is riding on ex-Sanders supporters flocking to her en masse. Let’s not get it twisted, Sanders himself holds no “loyalty” to the Democratic Party. He’s simply backing the candidate who he knows he can work with. Let me reiterate, it was NEVER about him but the American people.
This brings me to supporting Sanders by supporting Hillary Clinton. I know the majority od my fellow progressives, if they’ve read this far are leaning towards one of the other two choices. That’s fine if you chose to do that. Me personally, I will continue to support Bernie Sanders. One of the things he said over and over against during his run was for fellow progressives to get involved in the democratic process. Mission accomplished from what I am hearing from friends all over the country. Young people are emerging to challenge establishment candidates for national, state and local elected seats across America. THAT was Sanders’ great hope and he accomplished it I dare say much faster than anticipated.
It’s on us to continue the mission. It is for this reason I have decided to continue to support Bernie Sanders and by extension, Hillary Clinton. He knows what he’s doing and I think he made a smart choice. The stakes are too high to leave to chance. We need make absolutely certain Trump does not win the White House in November. Listen to this: I visited a Transitional Assistence center yesterday to visit a friend who works there. While I was waiting to see him, there was a Trump supporter in the waiting room who started running his mouth. The young man was saying things like “everyone there is lazy” and “when Trump becomes president, places like this will be gone”.
A woman sitting next to the man man turned to him and asked him “Then why are you here?” to which he replied “This is only temporary”. The whole room erupted into laughter at that. Now, this young white man was clearly mentally ill. On my way out, one of the security guards said he observed the man muttering to himself on the way in. The irony about most Trump supporters is they are either mentally ill or racist. One or the other. The truth is Trump does not even represent true Republican values. Just the extreme aspects the GOP likes to keep private. Mind you, Trump himself is actually a Democrat, not a Republican but I will not digress further. LOL.
My point is this: The stakes are too high to leave to chance. I am unwilling to support Jill Stein for this reason. One thing about politics in America that seems to have been forgotten is compromise. Sanders and Clinton 8 years ago could’ve made it about them and refused to concede. All that would have done is ensured McCain then and Trump not get the White House. This is not a “picking the lesser of two evils” decision like too many of my fellow Sanders supporters have made it out to be for nearly a year. This is a “picking unity over division” decision as far as I’m concerned.
I made the conscientious decision to cut all ties with the Pro-Sanders Facebook groups two months ago because it was becoming more and more clear to me that the rhetoric was becoming too anti-Hillary for my liking. Am I happy with the way things turned out? No, but I respect Bernie Sanders for all the work he’s done up to now and will continue to do. I will also follow his lead and vote Democratic in November.
I’ll end with this: If you don’t want to support the candidate he’s backing, that’s fine but make sure you vote on Election Day anyway. Make your vote count for something. Don’t let your ego allow the Republicans to take the White House. That was our mistake as a country in 2000 and 2004: We assumed Gore would easily win in 2000 and didn’t do enough to support Kerry in 2004. The stakes are too high to leave 2016 to chance. We all know Trump, like Bush 43 will be a puppet president. We cannot allow that reality to happen for the third time in 16 years.