So, you are a Bernie Sanders supporter and you feel the Bern! I salute you, informed voter. You like your man’s chances of winning but in the recesses of your consciousness a frightening scenario continues to play out. What if Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination? With Donald Trump seemingly inevitable as the Republican nominee what do you do in a Clinton v. Trump presidential contest? Do you swallow hard and vote for Hillary? Write in Bernie? Or do you just stay home on election day? All around you self-professed ‘Democrats’ are telling you that you are obligated to “unite blue” and vote for Hillary if she is the nominee. “We cannot have a President Trump!” they say. So this becomes your conundrum. Speaking in the language of hashtags in this Twitter fueled election, are you #BernieOrBust, or will you #UniteBlue?
“Donald Trump is a racist”
There is no denying that the Trump campaign has operated unflinchingly within the theater of the bizarre, a grotesque sort of performance art for the hate filled among us. His undisguised racism, xenophobia, misogyny, and general bigotry matched only by a flamboyant stupidity. But there is only one presidential candidate with a history of calling black youth “super-predators” needing to be “brought to heel”. This would be the same candidate who used public and political prominence to oppose LGBT rights for decades. A candidate who voted to build a 700 mile wall along the Mexican border, and wanted to deport Central American children fleeing violence to “send a message” on the geopolitical stage. Yes this is the same candidate who laughed heartily when reminiscing about helping a man who had raped a little girl escape punishment. And it is the same candidate who has consistently supported and promoted military excursions which have led to the slaughter of countless men, women, and children. Of course if you haven’t guessed by now, this villainous mystery candidate is Hillary Clinton.
You see my friends, bigotry and hatred can manifest themselves in many different ways. For Trump it is like poetry, for Hillary Clinton more like prose.
“The GOP’s policies are terrible”
Policy positions that make progressives cringe (an abbreviated list):
- Opposition to the reinstitution of Glass-Steagall
- Support for fracking
- Opposition to GMO labelling
- Opposition to $15/hour minimum wage
- Support for capital punishment
- Support for the Patriot Act
- Warmongering – e.g. Support for ground troops and a no fly zone in Syria
- Opposition to legalized/decriminalized marijuana
- Opposition to single-payer health care
For more on these policies you may want to check out HillaryClinton.com. Yes this is a platform straight from a Republican’s wet dream, but it is also the platform of Hillary Clinton. Throw in the fact that she has received more Super PAC money than any other presidential candidate, and her half-decade as the global champion and salesperson of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and it may be fair to wonder if she is running for the correct party. If you are a person who doesn’t want to vote Republican because you disagree with their policy positions, well then perhaps you shouldn’t.
“But the Supreme Court!”
This is the, *ahem*, trump card of ‘unite blue’ apologists. And it is certainly a fine point in theory. With three Justices nearing or cresting above 80 years old in a presently 4-4 (conservative/liberal) split Supreme Court we are told a Republican President may be able to nominate their way to a conservative majority. For liberals this most specifically means a threat to abortion rights, and gay marriage. But here is the hole in this rationale. Assuming the Constitution of the United States still means something, President Obama will do his mandated duty and nominate a replacement for Justice Antonin Scalia before the end of his presidency. This presumably liberal judge will tilt the balance of the Supreme Court further than you may think. This is because Justice Anthony Kennedy, nominated by Reagan, voted for gay marriage, and has voted to uphold Roe v. Wade (Please feel free to insert a #ThanksReagan here). In other words, liberals will have a 6-3 majority on these issues. In a Republican fantasy, and yes the death of liberals is something I imagine Republicans fantasizing about, perhaps more than one Justice will die over the next four years. But this dubious possibility doesn’t have quite the same headline grabbing pre-eminence as ‘imminent loss of women’s and LGBT rights possible!’.
“So #UniteBlue, or #BernieOrBust?”
If you are a sports fan who feels obliged to support a team regardless of the quality of the product they provide, you may find yourself a long suffering fan of the New York Knicks, or Chicago Cubs. Similarly it is the perceived obligation to unconditionally ‘unite blue’ which has led to the neoliberal, corrupt, vote-suppressing, faux-GOP reality of the Democratic Party today. It is ironic that so much of the Hillary Clinton campaign itself has been about obligation; the obligation of women to avoid a “special place in hell”, the obligation of African-Americans to support Hillary because her husband played saxophone on the Arsenio Hall Show 25 years ago, and of course Hillary’s own obligations and whether they are to the millions of corporate dollars funding her or the millions of votes she intends to receive. I am not here to tell you how to use your vote, dear reader. But if Hillary Clinton leaves you worried about getting burned, perhaps it is simply time to irrevocably #FeelTheBern.