I’m a Bernie Delegate, I’m Voting for Hillary, and I’m Not a Sellout
Let me just start by saying that I know, writing this, that there are a lot of people that are going to be fairly miffed with me. I’ve spent the last year of my free time organizing for Bernie in the midst of a cross-country move (New York to Washington) and a huge part of my new network is made of up people I’ve met because of Bernie Sanders. Being a young, enthusiastic, progressive who knows his way around politics, and who also happened to be living in a conservative, rural district- it wasn’t too difficult for me to parlay that into be elected a delegate to the DNC. Yesterday, I cast my vote for him to become the Democratic nominee.
I’m a progressive. I’m left-of-left-of-center. I have reservations about Hillary Clinton. I’d vote for her today if I could.
I think we’ve all heard the standard reasons Bernie supporters won’t vote for Hillary. They won’t be complicit in the corporatization of America; they won’t be complicit in the next war; they won’t be complicit in sending a bought-and-paid for President to the White House. And I wouldn’t (and don’t!) want to be complicit in any of that either, I mean, I get it.
But let’s talk about what not voting (or voting for Jill Stein, or the Libertarians or an actual garbage fire) does make you complicit in. It makes you complicit in breaking up families and taking parents away from their kids. It makes you complicit in the hell that would be life in America for folks (read communities of color, LGBT people, and anyone living paycheck to paycheck) who are living on the margins today. It makes you complicit in the unpredictable destruction a Trump presidency would mean for families in Middle East and wherever else he decides we ought to be afraid of.
We have a first past the post system. This isn’t an endorsement of it. It’s a statement that if you understand that, understand the consequences of not voting or voting for one of the above, and decide that the potential consequences of a Donald Trump presidency are not bad enough for you personally to care, you need to reevaluate.
Those consequences are real for other people, they are your neighbors, they matter.
Do I understand that my vote for Hillary Clinton says to the world that things like campaign finance reform, truly universal healthcare and a more economically just society are less important to me than keeping families together, protecting communities of color, and preventing senseless unfettered global violence?
Do I also understand that as a white man, with a college degree, living in rural America I am so lucky that I get to worry about how corrupt my congressman is and not that my mom is going to be deported?
I understand and empathize with the desire to no longer have to vote for the lesser of two evils. I too would prefer to vote for a candidate who doesn’t take money from super PACs, has had unrivaled consistency in their support for pro-immigrant, pro-labor and pro-LGBT advocacy, and that supports banning fracking. My presidential wishlist is not more important than protecting my neighbor’s well-being.
My moral (or ideological, or whatever) purity is not worth someone else’s life. It just isn’t.
And truly, I think Hillary has made the case that she’s willing to work with progressives, even left-of-center ones. She’s said she’ll introduce an amendment to overturn Citizens United. She now supports the public option, a vital tool for helping those “caught in the middle” by Obamacare, who make too much to receive assistance, but who’s healthcare costs have become too expensive to be affordable. Not to mention she’s the only electable candidate who will do anything to address climate change, systemic racism, and unsustainable college costs.
So look. Bernie friends, I’m sorry. I have the same dream for a fairer and more just society as I did at every training, phone-bank and rally. I have real doubts about Hillary, but I’m happy she’s taken the cue and come out in favor of progressive reform in some areas I’m privileged to get to worry about. It doesn’t make me a sellout to say I care more about the people most vulnerable to a Trump presidency than I do about other noble causes that ultimately don’t affect people’s ability to feed their family or keep it together. It makes me a decent person.
This election isn’t about those issues anymore. Black and white: your vote has a body count. One is bigger.