There’s been a long discussion about Bernie v Hillary in the “This Is Just Sad” comment thread, and while I’m sure everyone is sick of the conversation, this is my blog, so I get to have the last word. Tee hee.
Bernie has obviously lost the nomination, but there are still some true believers out there, the folks I call the Stalwarts. Most of those, I maintain, are people who never intended to vote for Hillary anyway and probably never will. They call themselves #NeverHillary for a reason. Alrighty, then. I really don’t see the need to play nice and give Bernie all sorts of concessions and basically coax and coddle the Stalwarts along. They call themselves #BernieorBust for a reason, too.
But here’s where I get to tell those folks why they’re wrong.
I’ve seen the Berner arguments against Hillary here, there, and everywhere. It’s all the same exact stuff, verbatim, whether it’s on my blog, on Bernie Twitter or in Facebook groups. So, let’s unpack this, shall we?
The Stalwarts’ main arguments come down to three basic things:
1) Hillary is corrupt/a corporate puppet/Wall Street whore;
2) The system is corrupt and only a “non-establishment” person can overhaul it;
3) I live in a Red State so my vote doesn’t matter anyway, so I’ll lodge a protest vote.
These are the most common arguments; I know there are others. Some Stalwarts may have a pet issue they deeply care about — Keystone XL, pensions, Wall Street reform, Israel, etc. If you are one of those people, then you do not want to vote for Bernie. You want Bernie in the Senate where that stuff actually gets addressed. I would maintain that Bernie has a very poor record of accomplishment during his tenure in Congress, but YMMV. The point is, Congress makes the laws and holds the purse strings. Not the White House.
Let’s look at the other arguments.
• Hillary the corrupt/puppet/whore. Facts not in evidence. And can we please stop calling powerful women “whores”? That is some sexist shit, and it needs to stop. Now.
These are the same Republican arguments I’ve been hearing for decades. I find it really amusing that people who call themselves left-wingers are so eager to parrot Breitbart/Broadside Books when it suits their needs. But I’m not surprised. The right-wing has turned hating the Clintons into a cottage industry for over 20 years. Remember “what will we tell the children?” This is what they told the children: the Clintons are sleazy, corrupt, whores, thieves, yada yada. This is how the conservative machine delegitimizes successful Democrats. I eagerly anticipate the coming smear campaign against Barack and Michelle Obama. God forbid either of them should aspire to achieve anything beyond the White House, right? Gotta poison that legacy.
Many of the Stalwarts were in grade school during the Clinton impeachment hearings. They internalized this messaging without even realizing it; it was fed to them with their morning Fruit Loops. So they drank the right-wing Kool-aid without even being aware of it. No wonder.
(Let me say: I am relishing how all of the main players from the impeachment days have finally gotten their come-uppances. The Clintons, however, have done just fine. Interesting, that.)
• The system is corrupt and we need a “non-establishment” person to overhaul it. Ah yes, this is a very popular talking point among the Stalwarts. After all, “I voted for hope and change and all I got was the same old stuff.”
Well, that’s not EXACTLY true, we did get the biggest advance on healthcare coverage in my lifetime. Obamacare has actually saved lives. We also got marriage equality for my gay and lesbian friends. We got pulled out of the worst economic depression in my lifetime. We got a lot of stuff: a changed relationship with Cuba, a deal with Iran, etc.
But if you’re one of these purity trolls who thinks that wasn’t good enough, that it was only half an enchilada not the whole enchilada, then pay attention: Obama ran for president because he wanted to change the way business was done in Washington. That was the big theme of the 2008 campaign. And he failed. He concedes that he failed. He promised what he could not deliver. And Bernie, too, will fail at this.
A big reason why is because the damn young people failed to show up to vote in 2010. Until the whiners and complainers remember that change happens when people show up to vote IN EVERY ELECTION, not just every 4 years, they will always be disappointed and change will always be a pipe dream.
The other reason is that these are deeply entrenched, long-established systems and institutions. Changing them will take a long, long, long time. No one candidate, no one president, no one election will do that. Change happens slowly and incrementally. That is reality on earth. Your not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. Take it from an old person who knows.
But the main point is, if you were disillusioned by Obama because reality didn’t match up to the campaign promises, then you would be extremely disappointed in Bernie. He cannot deliver on his promises. Obama couldn’t, and he can’t, either.
• I can lodge a protest vote because I live in a Red State. Just, no. Oh, how tired I am tired of hearing that. Yes, my state is deep red, but every vote still matters. Excuse me for pointing this out, but Donald fucking Trump is the Republican candidate, in case you hadn’t noticed. The Republican Party’s weakest, most divisive candidate in a generation. Republicans are fleeing the “look at my African American over there!” guy like rats off a sinking ship (a tired metaphor but unfortunately apt).
Trump is poised to give the Republican Party its final shiv, something which has been coming since the disastrous W presidency. This is an electoral game-changer, and there’s no doubt that some Red States could turn Blue this time around. Et tu, Utah?
This is truly unprecedented. The fractured Republican party has handed Democrats a big opportunity. Anyone who thinks they have the luxury of a protest vote at a time when any state could flip is a selfish idiot that I have no time for. Also, too, those “Clinton is the same as Trump” people. That is too stupid for words. If that is what you think, then crack a book sometime. Maybe read up on what happened in 2000 when 500 Stalwarts could have kept George W. Bush out of the White House.
So yes, I am right and you’re wrong. It’s my blog after all. Also, I’m going to be super busy the next week or two so this may be my last post for a while. Thought I’d make it a meaty one.