A growing movement is gaining steam over the notion populist hero Bernie Sanders won’t win the Democratic nomination. Die-hard Sanders’ fans are vowing to “Bernie or Bust” if he loses, going as far as to write his name on the ballot or cast their vote for a third party candidate or (yikes!) even a Republican.
Now the action seems outlandishly brash and woefully troubling. Sanders’ supporters are smarter, right? A progressive individual would defensively assume that the defiant hashtag is merely riddled with inaccuracies and warped by mainstream media since corporate news has so aggressively manipulated Sanders' campaign. Yet after scouring liberal sources like Salon and Daily Kos, the writing is on the wall: “Bernie or Bust” is terrifyingly real.
Susan Sarandon launched the frightening trend into the public sector after making eyes widen at the outrageous thought she would sway right if Sanders lost.
“Some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately if he gets in then things will really, you know, explode,” Sarandon ambiguously told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, insinuating she may very well vote for Trump because he might propel the revolution?! Oh, dear God.
The argument against supporting Hillary Clinton is not horrendously baseless as she does symbolize a rigidly capitalist, monolithic structure that would certainly not overhaul change on our political system, but as Sanders has said himself, “on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and president than the Republican candidate on his best day.”
Yet some Berners are not so convinced Clinton is the best alternative to Sanders. A McClatchy-Marist poll found 25 percent have promised to not support her if Sanders loses and a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll indicated that one third of his supporters could not see themselves voting for Clinton in November. And over 75,000 of his supporters have pledged online to write in Sanders’ name or vote for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein if Sanders is not the nominee. These numbers are significant enough to cause concern.
Political activist Shaun King reiterated this #BernieOrBust sentiment writing: “I have dozens of Bernie Sanders supporters who tell me that if Bernie Sanders loses the primary to Clinton that they would rather somehow see him run as an independent or that they would even consider voting for a third party candidate such as Jill Stein of the Green Party before they would support Clinton.”
And some supporters are going as far as to switch ideologies completely.
“I would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat,”Patt Coltem of St. Paul, Minnesota told The Huffington Post. “She’s just too shady. She’s a pathological liar.”
A Florida man said he would take Trump over repeating the same pattern of politics.
“I would rather see Donald Trump in there than anyone that keeps the status quo. Yeah, I could get financial non-existence then, but I’m willing to take that chance,” User PoorGene commented in the New York Times.
This all or nothing mentality is alarmingly reminiscent of Republican front-runner Donald Trump fans’ undying support.
Yet writing in Sanders’ name (or daringly voting for Trump!) certainly doesn’t create the systematic change Sanders is encouraging. Sure, you make a bold statement, but you guarantee a conservative in office, and in our volatile era that is finally waking up to LGBTQ rights, gun control, and police brutality, a Republican will stall or even reverse progress. Your protest vote is not worth risking this pivotal election.
The Vermont senator represents a revolution and his supporters naively believe they are carrying that torch by rejecting Clinton. Yet Sanders has emphasized the revolution does not come with the president alone, but rather lies in the masses of people willing to push it forward.
“The only way you transform America is when millions of people are standing behind a progressive agenda,” the candidate said in an interview with Little Village. “The president can’t do it alone.”
His campaign has proven that support for a radical agenda is not fringe, as previously perceived. He has mobilized young progressives and made controversial issues like campaign finance and free college mainstream. He has built a movement that has dramatically impacted the 2016 election, and can retain the power to direct politics — only if his supporters think pragmatically. A political revolution is centered on evolution and compromise — not brazen rebellion.
And Clinton — the conniving, self-serving politician she very well is — understands the vital importance of catering to the revolution’s momentum. Her inconsistent political record and corporate ties suggests she isn’t flexible, yet she has already changed her language and policies to mold with this progressive shift. So even if Sanders’ campaign dies before November, she will logically try to grab the Democratic Socialist’s votes and continue to swing left.
Sanders has asserted he would support a Democrat if he lost, and Berners should follow his lead. Not doing so would be counterproductive and will derail progress.
Because vowing #BernieOrBust is a dangerous move. While proving your unwavering support for a darling progressive, you are in turn committing to a Republican government.
As the New York Times poignantly encapsulates:
“While there are meaningful differences between Clinton and Sanders, either would be a far better choice for president than any of the remaining Republican contenders.”
Don’t make that crucial mistake.
Banner image credit: Reuters