Why My Vote Goes to Hillary, My Money to Bernie, and my Strongest Criticisms to Sanders’ Supporters

A Progressive Agenda

Bernie Sanders never intended to win the nomination. The Sanders presidency is a fiction, a larger political strategy. And it is working.

His campaign is intentionally divisive, confrontational, and provocative. He does not build coalitions among the colossal forces that vie for power and resources. Instead he stands in defiance, representing the “millions and millions” of people who feel helplessly under the heel of global titans.

Of course we love him.

But because he doesn’t intend to win, he doesn’t have to placate the elites. Because he doesn’t intend to win, he doesn’t need a practical vision for his presidency. And because he doesn’t intend to win, he doesn’t have to articulate how to get from point A to point B.

Though he stokes the fire and amplifies the voice of the people, he should not be president, even if he could get elected.

A Sanders Nomination (Presidency) Would Be A Disaster

Bernie or Bust? Really? Let’s play this out.

Bernie Sanders is a Fucking Socialist.

Ok, a Socialist Democrat. A Democratic Socialist? Whatever. Do the Republicans care about this distinction? Bernie has it incredibly easy this election. The Sanders supporters are crying foul, but we all know Hillary is using kid gloves because she doesn’t want to alienate her Progressive supporters and the Republicans are drooling to go head-to-head against a self proclaimed Socialist.

“Socialism just isn’t the American Way. I’ve wept wondering why we sacrificed so much to defeat the Communists only to see it take root right here in America. In America. In america…?”

— defeatedly sighed the sad faced octogenarian veteran sitting in the dark and empty baseball bleachers.

The American character is intentionally etched with a deep distrust of Socialism. A violent distrust. Did some polls say that people are now more likely to vote for a Socialist? How goddamned precarious do you think that acceptance really stands? We have only a glimmer of acceptance, an echo of future potential, but our America also includes armed and trained militias that masturbate to fantasies of saving The Republic from Socialists (or was it Communists… same thing, right?) and as incredible as this campaign remains, we have a long way to go on that particular ideological battlefield.

But let’s say we keep up the #momentum. We push through these deeply conflicted aspects of the American character and get our Sanders presidency. Do these schisms go away? Do we strong arm the political and cultural holdouts with the force of our populism? How does the Sanders presidency actually accomplish any of its agenda?

I watched the NY primary rally. Bernie promised, and I am paraphrasing, that he would close the corporate tax loopholes. He said that if congress refused to pass legislation, he would use his executive powers to do it himself.

The crowd went insane.

If Congress doesn’t do the right thing, we use the executive orders of the president.

Bernie threatened #thanksobama

But there’s no need to speculate on how this would play out or how any of his other policy proposals would go over or if he even meant what he said, is there though, since he isn’t getting the nomination.

Bernie or Bust? Just as the acceptance of Socialism appears to have shifted so suddenly, so will our acceptance of Hillary. The mob is a school of fish. Let the holdouts in the deep blue states have their simple, ideological purity while we float the election for them.

Hillary is The Best and Only Choice

Hillary is going to get the nomination and we will vote for her.

I could defend her accomplishments or her character. I could make Jack’s appeal to realpolitik. I could even stoop to the practical math of the lesser of two evils when the alternative is of the Grand Old Party.

But I don’t have to do any of that since Hillary is going to get the nomination and we are going to vote for her. And in our best case scenario, her win combined with his loss creates the ideal environment to further the Progressive agenda.

Best Case Scenario

Everyone seems to hate Hillary. The American Right hates her because, well, everything ever from what I can tell. The recently radicalized Progressive left hates her because she plays the game, balancing the precarious realities of a results-driven neoliberal.

With Bernie’s “loss,” we have an agitated, motivated base, willing to act, pitting themselves against a powerful, effective, and ultimately sympathetic president. She will stave off the forces of regression more than she enables them, while we, frustrated by her lack of executive activism, claim the underpinnings of our legislative process. Local elections, The House, The Senate. The Fourth Estate. As the American Right deteriorates in a glorious, dangerous tantrum, the Democratic base finally has the opportunity to fracture into it’s component parts. The civil libertarians. The social justice warriors. The classic and neoliberals. The humanists. The green party. The futurists. The left’s tent has always been a big one, but it overflows.

This anger toward Hilary, by pressuring her to live up to our ideals, on every front, will help us shoulder out the forces of old and create space to ask and start to answer the new questions we face by dominating the conversation (there is a lot less room for climate change denial when we are furiously battling over which solutions are better, cheaper, most inclusive, more feasible and effective). In this sense, our arguments become our gains. More so, it will stop us from looking to the presidency to solve these problems, a role intentionally designed with limited ability to enact radical change.

Which brings us back to the voice of the people.

The Dark Side of #momentum

The Sanders supporters are participating in a movement. It says so right on all of the marketing materials. It is a Political Revolution. That is like a regular revolution but without the guns and death and messy bits or something. It needs you to be a part of it, just don’t ask too many hard questions or you will stand in the way of the #momentum.

The movement magnifies populist frustration with economic inequity, but to make that megaphone as large and loud as possible, it has to sell the lie of viability. Everyone expects the activist candidate to ruthlessly point out hypocrisies and beat up the party favorites. That is right in the job description, you only get that freedom since you don’t stand a chance, and the American character discounts it as a cathartic court jester. But nobody expected Bernie to ride in on the message that he can, no will, win. The numbers never favored him. Even as he won Washington State by 72%, he barely crept closer to victory. Sure, a few opinion polls show him holding his own here and there, but at no point did Bernie’s overall chances of winning the nomination rise above, what, 10%?

What makes so many Sanders supporters believe he not only could, but is even likely to win, with the information only a few keystrokes away for anyone that cares to look?

It’s the #momentum. And the propaganda. Same same.

The Sanders supporters are a herd, driven by frustration at increasing inequity, voiced by Bernie’s rhetoric. In a running herd, when you hear “Go left!” you don’t have time to think, you just go left or you get trampled.

We are winning

You say you want a revolution? I have two requirements before I’ll consider joining. Just baseline stuff.

  1. What are we going to accomplish (goal)
  2. How are we going to accomplish it (strategy)

Bernie’s said plenty on the first point, but I hear little on the second. The will of “millions and millions” of people isn’t a strategy, it is a mob. It is power.

The Progressive agenda won the culture war. Now we are coming for the political machinery. Bernie has helped voice what we want and agitated a massive base of supporters, ready and willing to act toward a better world. A more fair and equal world. A world I truly believe is within reach. But as we approach, as we begin to win more than just hearts and minds, as we use this power, we must ask ourselves the difficult questions that only come from wielding it in a ruthless world of no-win scenarios. Questions that you don’t have ask when you are under the heel, but have to ask as you become the heel.

If you think this is premature, I ask you:

Are we really so goddamned enlightened? Why is Bernie’s base so young, so white, so male, and so sexist? What is the relationship between privilege and risk?

At what point in a movement do we ask ourselves what kind of world we are building — not by believing our own shit smells like roses, but by listening to our critics? Is the American left so far beyond reproach that even an angry mob can’t misstep?

Contribute To Bernie Sanders

And though this newest voice of the people, as always, tempts us to lose sight of the values that got us this far in the first place (such as tolerance for dissenting opinions and nuanced, evidence-based, critical thought), this imperfect, sustained pressure from Bernie Sanders and his supporters is reshaping our political landscape for the better. Support Bernie financially to demand that Hillary hear the Progressive agenda over the current din of corrupt neoliberalism. Criticize the movement to strengthen it, to show that it is politically viable. Hold it accountable for its increasing power and influence. Demand a more coherent Progressive strategy.

Don’t worry, she doesn’t need our money to get the nomination.