Why a Hillary supporter might consider a vote for Bernie
We’ve all seen the numbers, and they don’t look good for Bernie to win a majority of pledged delegates. The likelihood of Bernie capturing the Democratic nomination, barring a major unforeseen event, is statistically very slim. In fact, Hillary supporters frequently call for him to drop out.
So why in the world should I vote for Bernie?
Hillary has had a solid political career where she’s proven she’s no stranger to working with both sides to get compromise to work. This is a great quality in an American president, and one of the cornerstones of how politicians move our country forward.
But there’s an issue. Clinton, much like Obama before, would be working to compromise with a party that has steadfastly refused to do so. Clinton’s policies play well when there’s a reasonable counterbalance on the Republican side, which is something we’ve seen to not be the case. We simply can’t compromise with an increasingly radical right. The idea that this situation will improve for Clinton over what Obama has had to manage is quite unlikely.
On one hand, that strongly supports the importance of down ballot elections, and working to put more progressive candidates into office. Regardless of Democratic nominee, this is an important step for changing the conversation. But that’s been important at every election since 2008 too.
What’s new in this election is that Bernie has managed to energize liberal independent voters, empower younger populations, and engage in conversations around real progressive issues like social security expansion, rising income inequality, truly public education and healthcare, massive reductions in our military and a de-militarization of our police, ending the war on drugs, criminal justice reform, and an end to all fossil fuels. He’s given people a voice when they’ve felt they didn’t have one, and that should be something Democrats embrace across the board. A new generation of actively engaged liberal citizens? Bring it on!
In fact, many of his Bernie’s issues are already supported by Hillary. Hillary knows that you can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so she has felt it necessary to compromise on a number of these issues in the past, in order to get things accomplished. While Bernie supporters may see that as a betrayal of values, Hillary’s pragmatic approach allows her to move things forward incrementally and effectively. But when you bring in support from a growing population that says “yes, we agree with a truly people- and planet-first political system,” it empowers the president to hold far more bargaining chips when working to pass legislation and take action—and that’s the opportunity that Bernie offers the Democrats.
At the end of a primary where the numbers strongly favor Hillary, a vote for Bernie isn’t a vote against Hillary; it’s a vote for a more progressive agenda. It’s a vote to keep the pressure on both Democrats and Republicans to serve the people, not just the moneyed interests. It’s a vote for a Democracy that is for the people, by the people.
Imagine what Hillary could do as president when the people rise up to support progressive values—and the Republicans are forced to compromise.