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Saying “Trump Is Worse” Won’t Sway Sanders Supporters

Bernie Sanders at a rally


Sanders supporters booed Bernie Sanders when he called them to unite behind Hillary Clinton during a speech he gave to his delegates at the Democratic National Convention. They instead chanted: “Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.” Many Clinton supporters were dismayed, including Ian Millhiser who called these die-hard Sanders backers “garbage people.”

I understand why Clinton supporters feel this way. They cannot comprehend how some Sanders supporters are willing to shun Hillary Clinton, with the risk of giving Donald Trump a chance of becoming the next president of the United States. They feel that Sanders supporters are “privileged” and put the lives of people of color, undocumented immigrants, and poor people at risk if Trump is elected president.

I sympathize with the views of Clinton supporters. However, I would like to defend the views of those who choose not to vote for Clinton in the General Election, and address the fears of a Donald Trump presidency.

Many Sanders backers do not trust Clinton and think that she is an utter liar, a corrupt person and whose positions are phony and will fake left and turn right. This is the honest opinion of many Sanders supporters. Now you may very much disagree with this, but until you’re able to convince a voter that this is not the case, you are essentially telling people that electing a person that they believe is a corrupt liar is acceptable out of fear of a Trump presidency. That’s not what democracy is about.

Many Voters Don’t Understand How Government Works

Clinton supporters often warn that Trump is dangerous, and I agree with them. I’ve said before that Trump is a clown, a misogynist, a jerk, a xenophobe, a fascist, a sexist, a racist, a phony and a loser. Trump doesn’t believe in climate change and wants to cut taxes for the richest of the rich.

At the same time, I am dismayed how many people forget that the United States has something called “checks and balances.” This means that many of his dangerous ideas won’t see the light of day no matter how much he or his white supremacist supporters want to. The Supreme Court will never approve his proposals that would undermine the Bill of Rights.

This doesn’t mean that Trump is not dangerous. He definitely is. But I worry more from Paul Ryan, who actually will issue right-wing legislations that would be approved by a Republican president (any Republican president) such as repealing the Affordable Care Act. That’s why Sanders supporters intend to help Democrats down the ticket get elected so that right-wing agenda won’t get passed in Congress.

Clinton supporters will then point how Trump would nominate a right-wing conservative Justice to the Supreme Court. That’s a reasonable issue, but again, if we learned anything from this year, Congress wouldn’t confirm a judge unless that Judge gets the support of 60 senators to avoid a filibuster. This means that Democrats and Republicans will have to reach a compromise, and Trump won’t be able to nominate whomever he desires. He’ll have to nominate someone that some centrist Democrats like Tim Kaine will approve.

Revolt against Political Abuse

Democrats are better than Republicans. I will not debate this. However, the Democratic Party has implemented policies that are pro-corporate, pro-Wall Street and anti-union. The Democratic Party passed NAFTA that led to the loss of 700,000 manufacturing jobs to Mexico. It was Democrats who revoked the Glass-Steagall Act thus creating the conditions for the 2008 financial collapse. Democrats are heavily influenced by special interest groups and lobbyists. They also supported crime laws that led to mass incarceration. Many Democrats, including President Obama, are championing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is opposed by the vast majority of unions. You get the point. The reason Democrats do this, it’s because they can. For the longest time, the Democratic Party has been using the excuse of the bogeyman (Trump in this case) to tell its progressive constituents that they should give up their ambitions for single-payer Universal Healthcare. All they have to prove is that they are better than their Republican counterpart.

That’s not what democracy is about. That’s what infuriates Sanders supporters. They feel that Clinton chose Tim Kaine, who supports the disastrous TPP trade deal because she decided to ignore them. In fact, Clinton chose Kaine because she wants to try to win “moderate Republicans displeased with Mr. Trump.”

Related: Thanks to Tim Kaine: I Endorse Jill Stein

Sanders supporters argue that Clinton is not earning their vote which is a democratic right. Their argument is simple: “We’ll vote for you if you can prove that you can represent us.” It should be considered a standard relationship between a candidate and voters in a democracy.

Yet the way the Party answers can only be seen as abuse; they expect a relationship where the Party can ignore the electorate without consequence. However, without consequence, there will be no change. That’s just human nature.

Now many may disagree with this, and I respect their view. At the same time, I respect the views of those who want to vote their conscience, who don’t want to endorse Clinton, who feel Clinton is even more hawkish that Trump.

Many may argue that protest votes are wasted votes. This is generally true. However, Sanders supporters believe that this is a strategy; a strategy that worked before for evangelicals. They punished politicians who didn’t support extreme right-wing conservative views. Their consistency and reliability at the polling stations election after election has made them the most efficient voting bloc in the United States. As a result, Republicans ended up catering to the demands of extreme evangelicals. Progressives want to do the same with a political revolution that calls for change.

My advice to Clinton supporters is this: try to address the concerns of Sanders supporters. Telling them that Trump is worse won’t cut it for them. Instead, tell them how endorsing Clinton will help advance their progressive views in the long term. It will be a hard argument to make because Clinton flip-flops a bit too much, but that’s your only argument if you want to win some of Sanders supporters. Good luck!

Written by Salam Morcos

Salam Morcos is a Managing Editor of Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

Political activist for democracy, social justice, racial justice, women's right and human rights.


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  1. Hillary “flip-flops a bit too much”? The latest CNN poll shows that 68% of voters say Hillary is not honest and trustworthy. They’re right! She can’t be counted on to advance progressive agendas AT ALL. After watching Clinton Cash, I now know that the only thing Hillary can be counted on to do is advance her own wealth and those who help her build it. Trump’s wrongdoings are minor compared Hillary’s global network of corruption.

    Furthermore, the Wikileaks DNC emails and statistical analyses of exit polls have both shown that the primaries were rigged. Bernie would have won otherwise. In a democracy, election fraud is the most heinous crime imaginable. I cannot vote for a candidate who won the nomination through such means. On the GOP side, the exit polls closely matched the election results throughout the primaries. Trump won fair and square.

    The Democrats’ only hope for victory is to nominate Bernie. When Hillary loses in November, it will be the DNC’s fault for force-feeding us the most corrupt candidate in history.

  2. Not voting for Hillary Clinton isn’t sending a message to the Democratic party or Hillary Clinton, it is sending a message to every other progressive that you’re activily and willfully choosing to abort the very movement you’re fighting for. Sanders key point is that anybody who objectively looks at the circumstances presented to them, inferring those who are stubbornists in the progressive movement, aren’t being rational.

    You can bitch and moan about both candidates all you want, but those are your options. Sure, waste your vote on Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, good job, you made your point- to nobody listening. Meanwhile, the country will move on to whatever the electoral college majority is.

    We don’t live in a true democracy, we never have, we live in a two party system. You can cry idealism all you want, but the United States has never been truly ideal. If you can objectively decide Donald Trump is the best candidate that’s available to push progressive agendas, I’ll look forward to watching this with my bowl of popcorn.

    • @kendall gilbert no, this is about standing by your principals and not giving them up for the sake of party loyalty. Many of bernie’s supporters are first time voters – they don’t have any connection to the democratic party itself – hillary represents the opposition of bernie’s platform or at least some of the ideals that drew many to him. They have ZERO reason to vote Hillary – bernie and trump were essentially using the big parties as stepping stones. Bernie failed, and part of that was due to a rigged system. People are angry and they have every right to be.

    • The DNC is the antithesis of democracy… fuck ’em all to hell! I heard a goddamned sandwich could beat Trump! If Hillz can’t get it done that’s her own damn fault.

  3. Anyone who actually supports the Sanders platform and understands US politics sees Clinton as the obvious choice. If you don’t, you’re missing at least one big piece of the puzzle. Try asking someone over 25 years old on a discussion venue other than Reddit.

    • Your entire argument is based on an ad hominem attack and a No True Scotsman fallacy.

      “The obvious choice” you say. Choosing between Bane and Two-face is not really a choice at all. I’d really rather not.

    • Kendall Gilbert and once again, the reason to vote for Clinton is “First Female President”. How about voting for Bernie so we can get our “First Jewish President”? Does that sound logical to you?

    • Alex Thompson You’re right… Jews in America are struggling for equal wages, opportunities, and so on. In fact, I remember a time in American history when Jews couldn’t even vote. Where men were expected to come home and have dinner on the table cause of their Jew. I keep forgetting about the important ruling of a Jews right to choose as well.

      Good call.

    • You’re not voting for a messiah. You’re voting for a chief executive, a policy platform, and a political party. This is what so many Sanders supporters don’t seem to get. If you actually believe in the things Bernie advocated, it is indisputably in your interest to vote for Clinton.

    • Kendall Gilbert And you’re saying that because Hillary has a vagina, she should worship it? Voting for Hillary because she’s a woman is just as neanderthal as was voting for Obama because he is black. Oh, wait….nevermind…

    • Colleen Holbrook my bad… I guess all the years we’ve been voting for old white men was simply because of ideological purity, I didn’t realize… I’m glad they have all been such champions to social change. And all the little white boys who can finally look up to them as a role modelso now and how that might shape the political future of this country, would have been a pItty to put racial and gender bias on those great white men.

      You’re right, we shouldn’t have to vote because of gender or color of somebody’s skin… but the fact that it’s even a thing is exactly why people should if they really want to address America’s issues.

    • Brendon Rogers thanks, I said nominated, as in by a major party… not run. You have a keen attention to detail, particularly since she wasn’t even alive in 1827. She also didn’t get any votes since she wasn’t of legal age to be President and wasn’t even on the ballot.

      But let’s not have facts get in the way of your awesome post. Way to go Trumpian with the fat old man with no friends comment as well, whoever that was for. Not really sure if you know what a fascist is either. Keep living the dream I guess.

    • Michael Baker, excuse me, but I am a Baby Boomer, and I am very much older than 25! By stating that “Clinton is the obvious choice,” and by denigrating those who strongly disagree with you, you are being insufferably arrogant. Many of us Bernie supporters cannot vote for her due to conscience. You need to respect everyone’s right to vote for — or against — whomever they choose. Many of us view Clinton as not only completely untrustworthy, but also as a bald-faced liar and hypocrite. Given that, why would we possibly vote for such a person?!

    • David Davis you mean like Bill was when he was impeached? lol

      lets face it – the GOP would hate her more than they’ve hated Obama (WHICH IS A LOT).. so you know that literally EVERYTHING SHE DOES will be under intense scrutiny. the country is far different and more divided than it was when Bill was president

  4. Voting for Trump myself (if it was bernie vs trump I would have had a hard time deciding. I wish it was) but if the Hillary camp wants to win over sanders voters, here is a real simple solution: Treat them with respect and show the same nepotistic favoritism you’ve shown to officials like Debbie Schultz who have proven far more divisive and corrupt. Not sure why she hasn’t shown a willingness to consider Sanders for some cabinent position that would let him be able to put the muscle on Wall-Street. Yeah that might be illegal quid-pro-quo-ing for his support. It being illegal, nearly so but not quite, or just highly immoral didn’t stop Hillary in the past so why should it here?

    Worth noting how Trump has never gone after supporters of Cruz or Kasich or Jeb. Worst I can think of was a twitter post of one of his workers deriding Iowans. He was always targeting the politician, not their followers. Partially because folks like Jeb had no followers to begin with 😉 (50 million for 1 delegate, l o l) but it has also facilitated integrating once opponents and detractors to be willing to vote for trump even if they still don’t like him or approve of him entirely.

    You insult followers of Sanders, you mock them, you tell them to shut up and get in line, you start to fearmonger and blame-game that they’ll be responsible for Trump winning – and then act shocked when they aren’t cringing slaves who prostrate themselves and seek forgiveness? How easy it would have been to use the carrot and not the stick. Rather telling that Hillary, for all the talk of being anti-TPP (flip-flopping as it is), didn’t consider to pressure the DNC at all to institute anti-TPP rhetoric. And was willing to pick a pro TPP vice president. And then her acolytes have the audacity to claim they are the ones extending a hand to Sander’s camp.

    Trump was willing (to my chagrin, as I prefer his pro-LGBTism to Pence’s anti-LGBTism) to throw an olive branch to the establishment and evangelicals with VP Pence. Hillary was willing to slap Sanderistas in the face by choosing a VP who represents everything sanders is not.

  5. Being President is really about two things. Character and judgement. In light of serious, damaging revelations and her inept responses to them since the beginning of July, HRC has demonstrated she is deeply flawed in both. Dems have relied for too long on the “but they’re horrible” argument but always manage to avoid actually fighting for Main Street themselves when it come to economic and political reforms. No more.

    The head of DWS and an obligatory “we’re sorry we got caught screwing Bernie” memo won’t cut it. You want to be President? Do something of significance. Have Obama kill TPP now. That will send a real signal. HRC is far too damaged a candidate to win now without Bernie’s people. So, just like you’re so fond of telling us all the time, “don’t let the good (for the middle class) be the enemy of the perfect (for billionaires).” At least not if you seriously want to be President.

  6. As a Bernie or Bust supporter who was never a Democrat but has often voted for Democrats in the past, I am now part of a group that has been the victim of lies and distortions by the Democratic Party and the media.

    This has led me to look more carefully at the lies and distortions they have also directed against Republicans and Donald Trump.

    I simply no longer believe Trump is all they say he is. Considering how Trump drove Republican turnout in the primaries, I also can’t believe that many of my fellow Americans would actually vote for someone as bad as the Democrats and media are claiming Trump is.

    I will not vote Republican, because I believe Republican positions are bad for our country. But I’m not going to stand in Trump’s way, either. And I’m certainly not going to vote for the corrupt criminal Clinton or for the party that is perfectly happy to lie and cheat their way to power.

    I’m not sitting out, either. I’m voting for the progressive third-party candidate Jill Stein (Green). For those comfortable enough supporting our broken two-party system: I won’t call you names, lie to you, or lie about you either. I guess you do get to decide the fate of our country. But I would feel dirty helping either side.

    Let my little swing state third-party protest vote just be a statistic that might, hopefully, help nudge our country away from the corrupt two-party system and towards the progressive left.

  7. I say we (Sanders supporters) adopt a more strategic less emotional position; lose this battle in style, come back and win the war later.

    “I don’t like Hillary. Nobody likes Hillary. She’s the second worst candidate in modern history. But she’s second worst to Trump. We absolutely cannot have a President Trump under any circumstances, so I’ll hold my nose and cast a vote for Hillary.” some guy named Chris Hallen

  8. Of course Trump is worse. That’s now the point. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be kicked around by these bastards on the left OR the right. This was the last straw. Both sides are going to get a hard lesson. The Left will learn not to lie and cheat, and the Right will learn not to endorse extremists.

    So fuck voting for the lesser of two evils, because they just get worse every election cycle. I want this to end sooner rather than later.

    Let’s vote for somebody that NO ONE in their right mind wants, just to fuck with the entire system. Besides, Trump will get voted out after his first term. We can fix the damage he causes. However, the impact from this will also break the system as we know it, and American politics will never be the same for our lifetimes.

    This is about sending a message, and not just to the Democrats.

  9. Trying to address the concerns of Sanders supporters won’t work either because we know it’s all lies. Besides, they’re too busy calling us garbage and worse. What really irks them is that we are capable of independent critical thought unlike the zombie dembots following hrc.

  10. I am a Bernie supporter, loved him long before he even decided to run for the presidency. I can not and will not tolerate or make excuses for his supporters who betray him, humiliate him, or embarrass him. Bernie is a very wise and seasoned man, much like myself. He has shown more love and integrity and clearly only wants the best for all of us. Anyone with an ounce of what he has, wisdom, tolerance, understanding, and has educated us will understand the premise that our movement will thrive when we cast aside the anger and bitterness. Open our eyes and see the big picture. There’s no time for pettiness, the current agenda and priority is to stop Trump. Voting green or for Jill Stein is only a vote for Trump. A shame to waste your good votes, and a shame to expect we ere going to accomplish more with a Trump presidency than we can accomplish with a Hillary presidency. Sometimes in life you have to take the bitter with the sweet. You will lose some battles, but the war is not over. A defeatist attitude will always set you at least 10 paces back. You must restrategize and prioritize if you expect to recover, regroup and come back stronger than ever. If you chose to continue down this path you will divide and conquer our very movement, leaving the rest of us Bernie supporters no choice, but to split off from the rest of you. Our strength and power is only contained when we stick together. Why not vote for Hillary. Bernie had made her a much stronger candidate. She has demonstrated a sense of humilty and willingness to push forward many of our ideals. Look how Bernie fought and worked with Hillary to push our platform through. They commended our supporters for our hard work and dilligence, they respect us and Bernie because we’ve shown we are a force to be reckoned with. Bernie asked us over and over again to stay and stick with him, we’re going to be alright and continue the fight, but not by betraying him and each other and the movement. That is exactly what your doing. We’re fighting extremism from heartless, ruthless, disrespectful people from both sides now, theirs and our own now. I’ll be damned if I’m going to lower myself to those petty standards. I will absolutely not waste my vote. Trump must be stopped first and foremost. I will live to keep the fight going, and come back that much more stronger. However, for now I will do what NEEDS to be done and support Hillary, she needs our support. This thing is bigger than any of us, We are Stronger Together, we need Unity right now, and we will grow from this and grow in numbers, power and strength. Enough is Enough, stop the freakin Madness. Grow the freak Up. Do the Right Thing. Keep us together. Honor Bernie’s fight, remain loyal to our movement by following Bernie’s lead, or chose to fall by the wasteside and lose all respect. For God’s sake, this is a Spiritual War we’re all battling. Be on the side of Right. Right not Might. Not my will, but God’s will be done.

  11. “Instead, tell them how endorsing Clinton will help advance their progressive views in the long term.” Seriously? Hillary is only interested in permanent war, war profits for the arms manufacturers who lobby her and her campaign manager’s company, Podesta Group, the TPP, fracking, GMOs…sure, those things will one day be something we want. If we go insane. Don’t hold your breath.

  12. I am a former BernieorBust believer who has had her opinion swayed by-yes, fear-and plan on voting for Clinton. I was, and still am to some extent, as angry as anyone by the way Bernie was treated, the leaked DNC emails etc etc. I thought, “yeah, I’ll show them. No way I’m voting for Clinton” blah blah blah. Then something happened. Tim Canova got beaten by that hag, Wasserman-Schultz. I felt sick. How could this happen? The establishment wins again! But I realized something too. TPTB do not care and our protest votes would have no impact whatsoever. That’s just the way it is, folks.
    If that orange buffoon actually manages to get elected we are SCREWED! If that happens it stands to reason that the House and Senate will retain their Republican majority and anyone with a brain knows they would love nothing better than to adopt many of Trump’s policies. OMG That idiot plans on cutting pretty much everything except for mililtary spending (of course) by one percent every year. You think Paul Ryan and his ilk wouldn’t jump at the chance to implement that?
    As an elderly and disabled woman living on social security, who barely, and I mean barely, makes it as it is on the pittance I receive each month, I am terrified. Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful for what I receive but then again I worked for many, many years and paid in plenty too. I simply can’t afford to live on any less. When you are as broke as me ten bucks is a small fortune. There are many more Americans like me who are in the same position.
    Trump also plans on completely eliminating things like the FDA. Can you imagine? No more inspection of our food. No more monitoring drugs. Not that they are doing such a wonderful job now but completely eliminating these types of departments would give companies like Monsanto free reign to poison us and big Pharma the same. Yikes.
    More tax cuts for the very wealthy, the rest of us can just get screwed.
    I wish that we lived in a country where it would actually have an impact if we did things like voting third party to show TPTB that they can’t push us around. But that fact is we just plain do not. The only thing that will happen is that pathetic excuse for a human, the orange clown, would get elected. And we would pay the consequences. Period.
    I am not a big fan of HRC, however I have been listening to her speeches, reading up on her positions etc and honestly, my opinion of her has greatly improved. You can call it flip flopping or progressing but she has adopted many of Bernie’s policies and I think that is a very good thing.
    Our only real hope is to work hard now to get Progressives elected to the House and Senate, hold Hillary’s feet to the fire, if elected and stay engaged. I truly believe that the one, and possibly best, thing Bernie Sanders did was to wake many of us up (myself included) and get us active and interested in politics again.
    I truly understand wanting to vote your conscience. I get anyone’s having a problem with Hillary and trouble trusting her. But please, I implore all of you to understand what a Trump presidency would be like. Disastrous!! And the mess he and his Republican cohorts would make would take longer than four years to fix.
    Many of you are banking on pure speculation. That is all it is. Plain old wishful thinking. It would be great, wonderful in fact, but it simply isn’t realistic. Sorry folks, it just ain’t.
    So yes, I am a former Bernie supporter who has been absolutely motivated by the fear of Drumpf to vote for Hillary. No she isn’t perfect. Not by a long shot. But she’s a helluva lot better than the other choice.

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Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine at a rally at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale.

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Bernie Sanders at a rally

Saying “Trump Is Worse” Won’t Sway Sanders Supporters