First – I am one of you. It took me 2 other candidates to get here, but I am now on board with Senator Sanders and sincerely hope he gets the nomination. Having said that, I wish that getting to this point would have been a little less contentious and I still feel that Senator Warren had the best coalition building power in the race, but it is a new day. A day for revolution.
Now that I am certain I have turned off a majority of the moderate Dems that will be voting “blue no matter who”, we can talk more candidly about what I came here to say.
I do not believe it is a surprise that I support Senator Sanders, considering my far left viewpoints on nearly everything, and at this point, my support is moot since I already voted in a primary (for Senator Warren – although I was still tempted to tick that box for Senator Harris) but I would still like to talk about what is to come. I am hopeful that you, as a Sanders supporter, would see that no matter what happens in this primary season, we will eventually need to unite as one to make change happen.
All this back and forth in the primary season is just a build-up for the real fight. November. The general election. The country is in dire need of a change to both the office of the Presidency and down-ballot races in key States where we either need to pick up or retain Democratic seats. Without a majority in the Executive and Legislative branches of government, we will have a stalemate throughout the next 4 years. This could be good if we flip the Senate and retain the House and still have Trump as POTUS*, but it would be VERY VERY bad if it goes the other way and the Republicans gain control of the House, retaining their hold on the Senate and Presidency.
That outcome would spell the end to every progressive policy that we want to put in place. It would set our country back hundreds of years since they could institute even more conservative (religious right based) policies that would restrict the rights of nearly everyone except the extremely wealthy, white, cis, straight, dudes.
As a Sanders supporter, I am pretty certain that you already know all of the above and that is why you are so adamant to elect Bernie in November. And again, I am with you, but here is the caveat. I have voted in every general election since 1992 and what I can say with certainty is, when you don’t unite behind the candidate that is put up for the nomination and come out in BIG numbers to vote, you lose.
And that is why I want to BEG you to please – if the candidate isn’t Bernie – still go vote. You may not want to pull that lever or tick that box for Biden, but the alternative will keep Trump in the oval office for 4 more years and inflict permanent and lasting damage to our country and the life that we all want to be living. The lives we all deserve. The freedom and rights that we should be able to take for granted and not have to continue fighting our whole lives to obtain.
The progressive (and even radical) ideas that we want to move forward will NEVER get legs if we don’t get rid of the current administration. 4 more years will give them more power than any administration should have and I don’t think our democracy can survive that. I am not being hyperbolic when I say that – I am being real.
And I know, from experience, that voting for a third party or write-in candidate causes the same thing to happen. I voted for Perot. I voted for Nader. I am not ashamed to say that I cast ballots for the third party, but I am disappointed in my former self that I didn’t see the writing on the wall. I told myself that I lived in a State (New York) where it didn’t really matter because the Democrat was going to sweep no matter what. I at least went to the voting booth and cast a ballot, but I still wish I would have united behind the party pick during those elections. In voting for the third party candidates I was setting a bad example for future generations. I was showing future voters that it would be just fine to vote for whomever you wish without any consequences.
Don’t get me wrong – when I voted for Nader it was because he was my parties pick, as I was registered Green for many years, but I still regret making those decisions because of the stir that they caused in future elections. The decision to vote for Nader, when he wasn’t the Democratic nominee set a standard for Clinton to lose in 2016. I can see a direct line from the 2000 to the 2016 election and I feel complicit in that decision.
So, having said that, I implore you, please, if Senator Sanders does not win the nomination, vote blue anyway. Don’t stay home and sulk (as I would have if I didn’t have Perot or Nader to fill that void) and don’t write in Sanders. Please, go vote for Biden and then vote in the down-ballot races as well, because they are SUPER important. I don’t think we are really stressing that fact enough in the media. The Senate needs to be flipped and we need to retain the House to continue this Sanders revolution. It might not be led by the person that we want to lead it, but it will happen if we get our country back from the clutches of the far right. Voting blue, down the whole ticket, is the only way to make this happen.
Thank you for listening to my ramble. I just really don’t want to see my fellow Sanders supporters do what I did back in the day and vote from a space of disillusionment. This race is TOO important to do that. No matter how sad, mad, frustrated, or angry we feel that our candidate isn’t the nominee, we have to set those feelings aside to do what is best for everyone in this country. We can grieve the loss of that particular form of radical action, but then we must get up and do what we need to do to continue fighting another day. This election could seriously determine whether we have the capacity and the ability to continue fighting in the next 4 years and beyond. Don’t make the same mistakes I made back in the day – vote Blue no matter who and move our country forward together.
PS – After all is said and done, we need to have a SERIOUS talk about sexism and racism and homophobia in the electoral process and American politics in general. Starting with the most diverse field of nominees and landing with the two White, Cishet, dudes in the final primaries (I know that Gabbard is still in it, but I just cannot with her) is abominable. Dems can certainly do better, but we need to discuss how and make it real for the next cycle in 2022. A great start would be to LISTEN to people from marginalized communities and have constructive conversations led by those who are directly affected by bias in politics. Just a thought for the future.