Today, the Associated Press announced that Hillary Clinton will be the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party. And today, the Democratic party became more divided than ever.
The #bernieorbust hashtag surfaced a while back, where voters vowed to never vote for Clinton even if she became the nominee. I came across an article recently explaining (or rather, attempting to explain) why the “Bernie or Bust” movement is not based on privilege, but I just cannot agree. It addressed concerns in a question-and-answer style, so I’ll respond to those below.
Q: First off, why wouldn’t you support the Democratic candidate in the general election?
A (from source, edited for brevity): The working class has suffered from America’s corporate agenda, which has killed our economy, our environment and has been leading us closer to destruction, and Bernie Sanders represents the radical reform that we badly need. Hillary Clinton opposes them (i.e. opposes FEC v. Citizens United, yet has a super-PAC, gets paid for Goldman Sachs speeches, etc.) Hillary Clinton doesn’t come close to representing progressive values, and I won’t vote for her.
Me: Sure, Clinton is quite far from being a perfect candidate, but click here to see where Bernie and Hillary stand on the issues. Certainly, their ideas for the future of healthcare, our involvement in the Middle East and a few other economical issues differ, but certainly there are more in common between the two than, say, Bernie and Donald Trump (click here to see that). Clinton may not bring about all the necessary changes we need, but at least she won’t send us tumbling into a hell-hole. Which brings us to the next question…
Q: The problem is, if enough people are like you, the Republican nominee could win the general election. Do you want Donald Trump? Wouldn’t that be worse?
A: No. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have abysmally low national favorability ratings. Combined with the polarization of our nation and the collapse of the Republican party, Trump’s presidency will fail miserably.
Me: HOLD UP THERE FOR A SECOND. Here we have a Congress that is controlled by Republicans, and whether they like it or not, several major Republican leaders have endorsed Trump. Should he become president in November (and if Republicans still have a majority in Congress), Trump probably can achieve his goals. Worse, this is a man who doesn’t even play by the rules and doesn’t respect our Constitution (minus the 2nd amendment), and whether or not the Republican party is behind him or not, he doesn’t seem to really care. This is a racist, a misogynist, a bigot, a xenophobe and a homophobe. He’s borderline crazy and completely ignorant, someone who has based his platform 100% off of hateful rhetoric and 0% off of compassion and diplomacy. Will he be a terrible president? Hell yes. Will he get at least some of his policies passed? Probably.
Q: Fine, but if either Clinton or Trump are going to fall flat on their faces, wouldn’t you rather live with the failure of a Democrat rather than a Republican?
A: Oh hell no. Who do you think would benefit from four years of a failed Clinton presidency? The answer is the right wing, and the candidate they cook up for 2020, on the heels of her failure, could make Donald Trump look like Walter Mondale. Local and state officials may also swing to the far right. On the other hand, a failed Trump presidency would do the exact opposite.
Me: Time out again. This time, we disagree on a very fundamental issue. I do not believe that Hillary Clinton will have a failed presidency. I’m not a huge fan of her, but I cannot ignore the fact that she was Arkansas’s first Lady for over a decade, the nation’s First Lady for four years, a senator from New York for nine years and the Secretary of State for four. Yes, her career has been marred by scandals (more recently, emails and Benghazi — both of which, Kevin McCarthy has revealed, were first and foremost meant to damage her poll numbers), but I do not believe that trumps the fact that she is an extremely well-qualified candidate. As for the failure of a Republican, who knows who else Trump will drag along with him as he falls (and see above answer.)
Q: Fine, but what happens to everyone who suffers for the next four years under a Republican president? You might be fine, because you’re not struggling like so many poor people and minorities, but don’t you care what happens to them in the short term? What about all the women who will suffer if abortion is banned, and who may even die from back-alley abortions gone wrong?
A: I believe that the consequences of a failed Clinton presidency, which entails total Republican control, will be far, far worse for everyone—but especially the poor—than four years of Trump.
Me: A) See above for comments regarding “a failed Clinton presidency.” B) ***NO. NO. NO. Earlier you say that voting for Hillary Clinton communicates to the Democratic party establishment that they can ignore progressives, because we’ll support the status quo when they really need us. But that’s not how it is: with Trump as the presumptive Republican nominee, the very status quo that you want to make more progressive is at stake. Like you said, the country is extremely divided already: if we allow Trump to destroy all we have accomplished so far, it will take us even longer to clean up the mess.
Whether or not he actually builds a wall, Trump represents everything America is against. And And for those who say they cannot, with a clear conscience, vote for Hillary, who they call a liar and a puppet, I ask this: can you, with a clear conscience, allow America to fall into the hands of a racist, a misogynist, a bigot, a xenophobe and a homophobe — someone who is borderline crazy, completely ignorant and has based his platform 100% off of hateful rhetoric and 0% off of compassion, diplomacy and goals meant to improve our futures?