Bernie Sanders is Tonya Harding. I Can’t Vote for Tonya Harding.
Putting “Bernie or Bust” on Ice
You might not remember this batshit crazy incident at the 1994 US Figure Skating Championship.
Here’s what happened:
Nancy Kerrigan is practicing her routine on the ice for the US Figure Skating Championship. A man sneaks up behind her and bashes her leg with a club. Kerrigan is forced to withdraw from the competition on account of bashed leg, and Tonya Harding wins first place.
This is a big deal. Kerrigan had not only been favored to win the US Championship, she was a heavy favorite to win the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games months later. But now, with her leg bruised and battered, US hopes for Olympic gold are in doubt.
Oh, and those two guys who bashed Nancy’s knee… Tonya Harding sent them. That’s right, one U.S. figure skater kneecapped another. Harding knew the only chance she had at a gold medal was disqualifying the heavy favorite.
So, flash forward to the 1994 Olympics. Nancy Kerrigan has pretty much healed from her injury, and is still the best hope to bring the United States a gold medal in figure skating. She performs a nearly perfect routine, and everybody agrees that it’s a miracle she’s recovered so beautifully.
But. She is not 100% recovered. She does not win. She gets a silver medal, and Ukraine takes the gold.
My plan since the start of primary season had been this:
- Vote for Bernie Sanders in California’s Democratic Primary in order to voice my support for him, his ideals, and a more liberal Democratic Party platform.
- Cheer like hell for Bernie when he gives his speech at the Democratic Convention.
- Fight like hell to help Hillary Clinton become the nation’s first female President.
Then, this happened:
The New York Times reported on May 18 that “While Mr. Sanders says he does not want Mr. Trump to win in November, his advisers and allies say he is willing to do some harm to Mrs. Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power.”
Plus, the Sanders campaign’s senior advisor, Tad Devine, confirmed that their camp is “Not thinking about” the possibility that they could permanently hurt Clinton as a candidate.
So. In order to increase his own standing and power, Bernie is willing to kneecap Hillary going into the general election.
The problem with this strategy is this:
Like it or not, Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee. She is the only Democrat — or liberal/progressive/non-Trump person — who can win the Presidency. She is the only chance the United States has at Olympic Gold. She is Nancy Kerrigan.
And Donald Fucking Trump is Ukrainian skater Oksana Baiul (with apologies to Oksana Baiul) — an underestimated but fierce competitor who could win the competition if his opponent is not as strong as she possibly can be.
At this point, Bernie Sanders has no mathematically relevant chance at the Democratic nomination. But his team — Progressives, Liberals, U.S. Figure Skating — has a great chance to win.
In this contest, the competition is not a petite Ukranian. It is a narcissistic, bigoted demagogue who is playing to the most base, tribalistic fears of our countrymen.
And the stakes are not a piece of gold and some prestige. They are the very soul of this country.
I like Bernie Sanders. But he is now Tonya Harding. And his earnest supporters are wielding clubs on the ice, circling our only chance to stop Donald Fucking Trump.
I can’t vote for Tonya Harding. And we can’t afford to bust.