For months now, the Ready for Hillary crowd has been berating Sanders supporters about their votes in November. “Remember 2000!” “Do you really want President Trump?” “What about the Supreme Court?” And those are the less offensive arguments. What the Hillary supporters really think is that it’s just sour grapes for any Sanders supporter who won’t vote for Hillary.
Part of the problem, of course, is that they themselves are so fond of Hillary they can’t relate to how repulsive Hillary is to many Sanders supporters.
But put that aside.
There are two subgroups of Sanders supporters who likely will stay home or vote Green in November: the “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd and the “Democratic establishment needs to pay a price” crowd. I’m a member of the first group, but, if I weren’t, I might well be a member of the second.
The “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd had no intention of voting for her in the general even when she appeared to be a lock to win the nomination — that is, before Sanders entered the race. She was just too distasteful. Personally, I didn’t need a Bernie Sanders candidacy to figure out that Clinton was a bank-owned, war mongering shape shifter whose sole reason for running for President is that she wants to be President. I think she’ll be a disaster as President and have no desire to be complicit in putting her in office. Do others feel the same way? Absolutely. But we’re not the only members of this crowd. Some folks in the “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd simply don’t find her inspiring enough to go out and vote for her. She just doesn’t motivate them the way Bernie does.
The “Democratic establishment needs to pay a price” crowd might have voted for Hillary, but they have trouble with the manipulations by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and others to tilt the playing field substantially in Hillary’s favor. Their intention not to support Hillary is not sour grapes. Rather, it’s a rational feeling that if the actions of the Democratic establishment does not cost its candidate any votes in the general, there’s no logical reason why the same thing won’t happen in 2020 or 2024.
This reality is causing Hillary supporters to set their hair on fire, as they fear it will lead us to a President Trump or President Cruz. The hostility to Sanders’ supporters, and even Sanders himself, is palpable, including on the pages of this blog.
But they needn’t feel so angry. When Sanders blew it back in July at Netroots Nation, I was rather brutal in my criticism of him, even though I support him. Turns out, my criticism was dead on. By not being more receptive to the BLM protestors, he threw away an opportunity to make huge gains with Black voters. The failure to make those gains has haunted him throughout the primaries, especially in the South.
Sanders, however, is not the only candidate who has stumbled in this primary season. They all have, including Hillary. Her supporters should recognize first that she’ll likely win in November even without the help of many Sanders supporters. But, if she loses, they need to recognize that it will be because of her own shortcomings and stumbles, not anything Bernie Sanders or his supporters did or didn’t do. Whether illegal or not, Hillary’s decision to house government communications on her own server was moronic. It will cost her votes, for which she has only herself to blame. Similarly, her decision to keep the content of her speeches to Goldman Sachs a secret was her own. It also will cost her votes, as will her rant at the AIPAC Convention this week and her repeated failures to rein Wasserman-Schultz in.
I’ve received plenty of heat for my intention to vote for Jill Stein if Sanders is not the Democratic nominee. I’ve had dweebs I worked with decades ago use the comment section to explain to me how much I don’t know about politics. I even had the concern expressed to me on Facebook that I could cause Clinton to lose Ohio, since I’m so widely followed.
All that criticism woefully misses the mark. Clinton has not won my vote. If I were an average American who is guided exclusively by 30 second TV spots and water cooler conversation, that might not be true. And perhaps that will change between now and November. If it doesn’t, it’s not my shortcoming. It’s hers. Just as it was Bernie’s shortcoming that he couldn’t get Donna Gratehouse to support him. And, yes, as it was Al Gore’s shortcoming that he couldn’t win the votes of a handful of Nader voters in Florida.