Bernie or Bust: The Only Prospect Keeping the GOP in the POTUS Race

Just to be clear, I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders. His progressive values, which he has upheld his entire political career, are a welcome and surprising breath of fresh air in an otherwise stale political process.

Many of my friends are also supporters of Sen. Sanders (birds of a feather I suppose). However, where we differ — often vehemently — is in regards to Sanders’ primary opponent: Hillary Clinton.

I am no fan of the former Sec. of State but neither do I loathe her with the bubbling rage many of my friends do. In some respects, her most vitriolic liberal haters appear little different than conservative haters of Clinton (though expression of said hatred often includes more relevant substantiation).

Clinton carries many red flags any progressive should be honest enough with him or herself to acknowledge: hawkish foreign policy (Syria, Libya, Iraq, etc.), cozy corporate relationship (Monsanto, For-Profit Prisons, Fracking, Wall Street, etc.), an absence of consistent political principle (LGBT Rights, TPP, Unions, etc.) The list goes on and has already been well-established if obdurately rejected outright in many cases. I understand why people would reject her politically, but on occasion their remarks and attacks make me cringe — and question my closeness with them.

Many of these people would be accurately labeled “Bernie Bros,” though I find it telling that many of them are women. As one female friend told me, “Women understand women. Whenever I see Hillary Clinton speaking, there are just too many non-verbal communications that say she’s lying.” This individual with whom I am very close has used the word “despise” in reference to Clinton. In the interest of self-preservation, I will not personally comment on that idea and simply allow the list provided above to justify my rejection of Clinton as a Democratic presidential candidate.

Now I am not trying to argue that voting for Clinton is the worst choice someone could make in this campaign (I personally believe voting for any of the GOP candidates would be far worse). I was once of the “hold my nose and vote” party should Hillary become the Democratic nominee.

I’m no longer so sure how I feel about this divide, though when Clinton initially threw her hat in the ring, I was a reluctantly willing supporter. Though, my ideal candidate was, and still is, Sen. Elizabeth Warren. C’est la vie.

But as the primary season wears on, I keep hearing my friends tell me that if Sanders loses the primary they will vote for Jill Stein (a great, if symbolic, candidate in her own right), write-in Sanders, or even pull the lever for *shudder* Trump.

On one hand, I desperately want to prevent any of the monstrous platforms emanating out the GOP candidates from having both a likely continued GOP majority House and close call in the Senate (even if they lose a couple seats in both) with which to pass their odious policy.

On the other hand, I have no sense of security that, if elected, Clinton would maintain the more progressive positions she’s been forced to adopt in response to Sanders’ campaign (and her history provides no definitive sense of how she’d govern one way or the other).

However, it seems abundantly clear that the Bernie or Bust campaign is quite probably the only hope the GOP has of winning the Presidency this coming November. This is not an argument nor attack against the movement. It simply seems a point of fact.

Many wax prophetically on the independent voters’ ability to sway an election for the GOP candidate should Clinton become the Democratic nominee. Looking at this prospect, my desire to vote principally and only principally wanes a bit — which inevitably leads to feelings of hypocrisy and self-doubt. I’d long suspected abstaining from Clinton is a choice many cannot afford — an opinion which has recently been expressed elsewhere.

Some friends have even attempted to justify the Bernie or Bust movement as a form of contrarian revolution, a wake-up call to the Democratic elite that they will not be catered to in only the hollowest of terms. The Mutually Assured Destruction of “Maybe the country needs to hit rock bottom before it wakes up” sends shivers down my spine. This myopic approach ignores the impact of this belief demonstrated in recent memory.

I entered early adulthood during W’s presidency and understand all-too-well the potential risks involved in allowing a third candidate to spoil a main party candidate’s run. I am wary to participate in a sequel that almost certainly carries far greater consequence (regardless whether the GOP nominee is the likely Trump or improbable Cruz).

Truth be told, if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, I don’t know how I’ll vote. I suspect the coming presidential campaign proper will have some effect on that decision…one way or another.

A quick review of the current polling shows both Clinton and Sanders topping Trump in the general election. However, Clinton’s dismal favorability ratings with independents pose a difficult challenge in the general election even with all democrats backing her.

With far-left movements rejecting Clinton outright should she obtain the nomination (Citizen Against Plutocracy, who has amassed over 50k signatures vowing not to vote for a Clinton presidency), you have a precarious situation where the chaotic effect of Trump presents a less-than-comfortable presidential campaign (especially if recent online polling is any indication of how people will or will not vote come November).

If Clinton wins the Democratic presidential nomination, I begrudgingly hope she defeats whoever ends up being the GOP nomination. But I do know that Sanders supporters who subscribe to the Bernie or Bust movement (of which I may or may not be one), are the only chance the GOP has of reclaiming the White House.