Bernie or Bust? Prepare for a Bust

As Hillary Clinton’s delegate count creeps up, it is looking increasingly likely that she will beat out fellow candidate Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination. Clinton’s probable victory has angered Sanders’s passionate fans, many of whom have declared Sanders as a write in candidate. This movement—unofficially named “Bernie or Bust”— has quickly gained traction among Sanders’s supporters. A pledge bearing the “Bernie or Bust” name has received over 64,000 (and counting) signatures, and the “BernieOrBust” hashtag has taken off on Twitter.   While these voters’ commitment to their candidate may seem admirable, those who choose to write-in Sanders in the general election are actually acting irresponsibly. By doing so, Bernie supporters would effectively split the liberal vote, paving the way for a Republican to take the White House.

The main argument Sanders supporters use to justify not voting for Clinton is that she is not very liberal, especially when compared to their candidate.  There is truth to this argument: Clinton supports fracking and the death penalty—hardly liberal policies.  Additionally, there is no denying that Wall Street exerts a strong influence over Clinton and her campaign. Because of these conservative positions, advocates for the “Bernie or Bust” movement believe that a Hillary Clinton presidency would harm America and that the only solution is to write in for Bernie Sanders for president.

The problem with this strategy is that Sanders could not win by the write-in campaign. For one, he does not have enough name recognition to win over those outside of the “Bernie or Bust” movement.  Moreover, his base —  the youth vote — does not traditionally turn up at the polls. These factors make it virtually impossible for Sanders to beat Clinton in the general election, rendering the “Bernie or Bust” movement not only useless but also pernicious. Although Sanders does not have enough voters to win the election, he has enough to make a significant dent in Clinton’s tally–and therefore, facilitate a Republican victory.

Even Bernie Sanders himself realizes that he could split the Democratic vote, which is why he does not plan to run as an Independent candidate.  As Sanders told the U.S Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, “If it happens that I do not win that process the Democratic primary, would I run outside of the system? No, I made the promise that I would not and I will keep that promise. And the reason for that is I do not want to be responsible for electing some right-wing Republican to be president of the United States.” Unlike many of his supporters, Sanders understands the consequences of splintering the Democratic Party in such an important election.

The sad truth is that Democratic voters must sacrifice some of their progressive ideals for the greater good of the party. Whether you support Hillary Clinton or not, the only responsible choice is to vote for her in the general election. America is currently facing a potential Donald Trump or Ted Cruz presidency. Both of those candidates are indisputably less liberal than either Clinton and Sanders alike. When Democrats are up against such adversaries, they cannot afford to be picky. Both Trump and Cruz  support defunding Planned Parenthood, repealing Obamacare, and building a wall along the U.S-Mexico border.  If you are a Democrat who would risk having either of these men as president just to vote for Sanders, you are betraying your party—plain and simple.

2 Comments

  1. I signed the Bernie or Bust pledge. I guess that means I’m not really a Democrat. But neither is the Republican toad former co-president who is likely to get the nomination. I voted for Nader in 2000, afterall. Just like Nader supporters took the election away from Gore then, we’ll take it away from the former co-president in 2016.

  2. Quality stuff

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