If Bernie supporters fail to vote Democrat in November or if they vote for a minor party, there is a very real chance that they could be a contributing factor to a Trump presidency.
Based on what Trump or his vice Presidential candidate have said, we can see they are planning to restrict healthcare access, restrict abortion access, push down an already unlivably low minimum wage and trash the Paris Agreement.
All of these will have a huge impact which will fall disproportionately on the shoulders of America’s most vulnerable: The poorest, the weakest, the sickest will bear the suffering caused by a Trump presidency.
There are Americans who literally will not survive a Trump presidency because they will lose access to healthcare or abortion, and countless more who will merely greatly suffer instead of dying.
Every single individual in the Bernie or Bust movement should be confronted with these realities, rather than enabled, coddled or encouraged in their self-destructive courses of action.
I was having a discussion with an intelligent and good-hearted friend recently and she said that different people have different priorities, and that the disaffected Bernie supporters who were swindled by the Democrat Party’s nomination process wanted to abstain from voting in order to avoid supporting an undemocratic and corrupt political machine.
I do not believe this is a valid argument; as villainous as Clinton is and as corrupt, Trump is far more so. By declining to support Clinton’s undemocratic methods, they will help usher in a far more undemocratic alternative. There is no good result that can come from their irresponsible voter abstinence, there is only a very possible bad — for some, fatal — result.
If we look at the priorities argument, I am sure that all Bernie supporters will absolutely deny that they would be willing to prioritise punishing Clinton or teaching the Democratic Party a lesson over real quality of life issues of their comrades- deny they would be willing to sacrifice the access to healthcare of the most vulnerable fellow Americans, access to abortion for low-income women. If they -are- willing to sacrifice these people, perhaps they were not very sincere when they self-identified as Bernie supporters.
I was arguing with another friend, also intelligent and good-hearted, who had put in a lot of her own time and energy during the Sanders run for Democratic Party nomination. She said that her voice had been ignored by the Democrats and that her views chimed more in tune with the USA Green Party now that Sanders was not in the running and that Clinton had been crowned.
To her, I argued that Bernie has pulled Clinton in the right direction on issues like the Keystone Pipeline and the TPP and TTIP, and she has brought out policies to help make university education affordable and attainable — all of which are reversals on where she stood before she battled Sanders. These reversals are exactly because Clinton and the party that backs her has heard the voices of Bernie’s supporters.
This is scant consolation, I know, especially considering that Clinton is difficult to trust and should be judged on her record rather than her promises. She does need to offer more, and to offer more guarantees too. But voting Green in the USA has no chance of electing Stein, while it does have the chance of enabling a Trump presidency. The only positive effect it will have is to punish Clinton, and to give out the message to the Democrats that their tactics cannot be condoned. Again, I ask, at what price? Is it worth the increased deaths of the poorest, the increased suffering of the most vulnerable? To those who say ‘a Trump presidency will open people’s eyes, it will get so bad that there will have to be positive change’ I would say that this positive change will — if it comes — come too late for many. That ‘getting so bad’ will be fatal for some.
Sanders recognised this very real threat and has asked his supporters, if they still care about what he says and stands for, to vote for Clinton.
I understand how unpalatable the idea of voting for Clinton is, especially for someone who invested so much hope, energy and emotion in the Sanders campaign, and I understand the weight of grief they must be carrying right now is heavy in their hearts. I hope that they do not succumb to the irrational pull of anger and withhold their vote. I hope they do not self-indulgently vote Green, without fully accepting the suffering they could bring to the most vulnerable as a result.