Tuesday, November 1, 2016

If you Support Bernie, Vote Hillary

Let me preface this by saying I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. I was a Bernie Sanders Delegate to the Democratic National Convention. If you're a regular reader of this blog, you saw my posts, and photos from Philadelphia. I sat up in the almost nosebleed section way to the left of the stage with the other California Bernie delegates, who waved signs and chanted and some of whom walked out in protest after Hillary secured the nomination, the night that Bernie, in fact, nominated her.

I would like nothing better than to write in Bernie Sanders on my ballot, but I won't do it, not even in safe California.  Why? Because for Bernie to succeed in the Senate, for any of the hard-fought planks of the Democratic Platform so many of my fellow delegates helped craft, and to keep this Revolution going, we must elect Hillary Clinton as the next President of the United States and we must do it overwhelmingly.
And for the record, I waved my No More Wars sign and chanted as loudly as the others did when Leon Panetta spoke in glowing terms of the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden; and when Hillary herself reprised the same theme. And I waved my Ban Fracking and No TPP signs when Kaine and Jerry Brown spoke. I felt it was important to protest and to send a message. But I felt and feel it was and is just as important to support our candidates, both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, as Democrats and as the bulwark against a Trump victory, and even more critically, a Trump movement of fear, racism, misogyny, climate change denial, and so much more that will only grow stronger and more hateful in the face of weak Hillary victory.

We can't afford to let that happen. 

The Clinton nomination wasn't a surprise to anyone who had been paying attention, but it didn't stop the loyalists from calling foul. There were, after all, leaked emails from some DNC staffers who seemed set on doing everything they could to make sure Bernie did not get the nomination. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chair, was rightly forced to resign on the eve of the Convention because of it. 

But now, the only way for our progressive values and the Bernie Sanders campaign to be more than a footnote of history, and to defeat the venom of Trump is to hand Hillary a landslide victory. No, the Donald will never stop his poisonous rants and inciting violence and hatred among his followers, but if she gets a humongous popular vote on Election Day, it might dim the momentum of whatever evil deed he plans for after the election, claiming it was "rigged, so rigged" and that he's the rightful Commander in Chief and she is a pretender to the throne.

She needs to have a large popular vote to show she can govern without a split citizenry; she must win the trust of vast numbers of American voters to govern effectively. And she must win decisively to create a tidal wave of down ballot votes for Democratic candidates in Red States and Districts.

Writing in Bernie Sanders or voting Third Party not only diminishes her influence and her credibility in the White House, it hinders any progress on progressive issues. It casts a pall on the legitimacy of any strides attempted to be made by Democrats. It emboldens the Republican obstructionists in the House and Senate. We live in a divided nation. One thing the Donald's toxic campaign has shown us is just how far we are away from a truly just and equal society. Why then would we even further divide our nation, by splitting ourselves, supposed the rational, humane, environmentally and socially conscious ones, into splinter groups each wedded to our own form of purity and self-righteousness? Now is not the time for dissension in the ranks of the left. As Michael Moore says in his brilliant new movie Michael Moore in Trumpland, "Hate Hillary, but force yourself to vote for her anyway."
I have been called out by my fellow delegates. I've been labeled a "Troll" and a "Hill-bot" for listening to Bernie Sanders when he said we need Hillary Clinton in the White House. But, here's how I see it. The ones who have betrayed their progressive values, who have turned their back on their (our) candidate Bernie Sanders are the ones now urging a vote for Jill Stein or a write-in vote for Bernie they know is nothing but a protest vote. A protest of a system we all know is far from perfect. So I do understand their anger, their disappointment and their protest. But I also believe Bernie when he says "Now is not the time for a protest vote." By turning their backs on Bernie now, by abandoning the Democratic Party (yes I know many of them were never Democrats to begin with, just played one to get to the Convention), is to ignore the real strides made in this revolutionary, historical campaign that netted Bernie Sanders more than 1800 delegates to the Democratic National Convention. And yes, I am very proud to have been one of them.

I was and am proud of the platform Bernie helped fashion with the hard work done by many of these same delegates who now gloat over Hillary's emails, while virtually ignoring Trump's sex scandals, hatred and ugly greed. No, now is not the time for a protest vote. Now is the time to be united. Then keep the movement alive on November 9th and beyond. Do it for Bernie.
Let's not throw our precious vote away.