An Open Letter to the #BernieOrBust Movement

bern_hill
Credit: commondreams.org

Dear #BernieOrBust supporters,

I voted for Bernie Sanders. I donated to his campaign. And in November, I will be voting for Hillary Clinton.

I’m not a walking contradiction. I’m not betraying my beliefs. In fact, it’s the other way around.

Don’t think I don’t get it. I still think Bernie lines up more with my values than Hillary does. Bernie fought a long and hard race, based around issues like income inequality, environmental protection, and election reform. Those are values I will never let go of.

But the time has passed.

Bernie is out of the race. Hillary Clinton has received the support of the necessary amount of delegates to become the presumptive Democratic nominee. That puts us, the millions of people who supported Bernie and his political revolution, at a crossroads. Do we sit around and pout, just because Bernie didn’t get the nomination? No. We fight like hell. For Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States.

We’re not so different, she and I. I took a poll at ISideWith.com, a political analysis site that matches you with candidates based on the issues.

NEW I SIDE WITH
My results from ISideWith.com

My top match was Bernie Sanders. But if you look right below, Hillary Clinton is right there. We agree on 98% of the issues. Doesn’t it seem a little silly to say that you’d never vote for someone that you agree with 98% of the time?

If you still don’t agree with me, just look back to 2008. Hillary Clinton supporters were in the same situation that we find ourselves in now. Their candidate, the person who they believed spoke for them, was no longer an option. Their supporters were saying the same thing as many of you. In fact, one poll from May 2008 found nearly half of Clinton supporters would not support Obama in November if he were the nominee. In the face of that, Hillary campaigned for Obama, not only because it was the right thing to do, but because she knew it was the only way that she would be able to work with him to create a unified Democratic platform for the general election. Because it was the only way to get a Democrat into the White House. And therein lies my next point.

hillary-clinton-barack-obama_850_598
Hillary Clinton and then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Credit: inthesetimes.com

Deciding not to vote for Hillary says that you are willing to let Donald Trump become the president. To let him declare racist or otherwise discriminatory executive orders. To let him have the nuclear codes.

You may say that a Trump presidency is the only thing that will wake up the political establishment. But that has never happened. In fact, newly elected presidents with sharp ideological differences than their predecessors tend to shift the center of the political spectrum in their direction. Ronald Reagan’s election in 1980 swung the center of American politics to the right, leading to the end of Second Wave Feminism, and creating the modern conservative movement as we know it today. A Trump presidency would mean that the entire political system would likely shift towards him, whether we like it or not. In fact, it’s already happening. You don’t have to look any further than the consistent refusal of Republican politicians to denounce his bigoted remarks. Is that something you would like to have a hand in?

Unfortunately, the last half-decade has seen many political figures unwilling to negotiate with those who do not share their views. Specifically, the GOP in the wake of the Tea Party movement has seemingly made it okay to refuse to compromise in politics. But this is not an example worth following. If you have at all complained about the obstructionism of the Republican-held congress, then using the #BernieOrBust makes you a hypocrite. You are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to ignore all others, especially when they outweigh your own.

Democracy is a grand compromise (not a great compromise, which tends to lead to a civil war). You don’t have to like somebody or agree with them to acknowledge that you can accomplish much more working with them than against them.

Just because Bernie Sanders is dropping out of the race, doesn’t mean that you get to. Quite the opposite. Hillary doesn’t need to win her supporters over during the next few months. They’re already on board. She needs to convince you that you can trust her. But how will she be able to do that if you hide behind your keyboard?

I voted for Bernie Sanders, just like you. I donated to his campaign, just like you. And I’m voting for Hillary Clinton in November.

I’m not a traitor. I’m not a sellout. I’m a Democrat. And as we saw from last night’s filibuster, Democrats can do some pretty amazing things when we work together.

In Solidarity,

Raphie

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