I have spent countless hours debating on Facebook, Twitter, and in real life with former democrats who staunchly refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton. Some are voting third party and some refuse to vote at all.
The arguments from these Bernie supporters are powerful – they just happen to be wrong. Like, cataclysmically wrong. As someone who supported Sanders in the primary but now stands with Clinton and the democratic party, I’m tired of going back and forth on social media so I’m just going to counterpoint every argument I’ve heard and leave it here to be dissected by whoever chooses to dive in.
- “Clinton and Trump are the same. Birds of the same feather.”
Not. Even. Close. Bud.
Clinton and Trump strongly disagree on almost every political issue – economics, foreign policy, social issues. Here are some basic bullet points to make that crystal clear.
You know what else is not the same? The official Democratic Platform and the official GOP platform. One has a clear and specific plan to get 50 percent of our electricity from clean energy sources within a decade. One wants to cancel the Clean Power Plan, kill fracking regulations, and abolish the EPA as we know it. Also, one claims that one of the most pressing issues in our society right now is porn. Not gun violence. Not poison water. Porn.One more thing that’s not the same – the supreme court justice picks. Those people don’t just fade out after the so-called revolution (more on that later). They stay for DECADES and are the final say on the most pressing issues in our country.
So, to recap: Not the same. Different.
- “But Hillary is a liar and a criminal and I can’t in good conscience vote for her.”
The FBI concluded that Hillary Clinton was careless in her use of a personal email server, but that’s all. In June 2016, the committee on Benghazi issued its final report, finding no evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton.
Name me one major politician I could Google and not find some kind of scandal, accusations, attacks by other political parties? And, YES, the fact that she is a woman has absolutely held her to another standard. Call it that “woman card” – deep down, you know it’s true.
- “Hillary wasn’t always for gay marriage, you know? And did you know she was a huge proponent of fracking?”
Well, I used to be a huge proponent of tying a flannel around my waist. Shit changes. Before I had my environmental awakening (thank you Al Gore, who really was robbed of the presidency), I was of the mindset that recycling was pointless, informed by routine by Penn & Teller. People evolve and minds change. That’s the beauty of being an open-minded human being. If people judged you on the shit you used to believe, your circle of friends would probably look pretty different.
- “Bernie was robbed of the nomination and the emails prove it. I won’t vote for someone who won unfairly.”
Yes, there were some people in the Democratic establishment plotting against Sanders. Hold my hat while I faint. There were also, most assuredly, people in the GOP establishment plotting against Trump. But his popular vote was too strong. Sanders’ wasn’t. He lost the popular vote in the primary by millions. And the states he lost, he lost huge. Sanders would not have won even without the Superdelegate system. I was disappointed, too, but I can accept that as fact. So can Sarah Silverman. And so can Bernie Sanders.
- “Bernie only gave in to pressure to endorse Clinton because he had a ‘political gun to his head.'”
Bernie Sanders is about to turn 75 years old and I assure you the man has no fucks left to give. Do you think he’s worried about his political ambitions within the Democratic party at this point? If he really felt strongly that Clinton would be unfit as president, he’d have run as an Independent, or simply stayed home like many of the GOP primary candidates who lost to Trump. Sanders is speaking out because he is rational, pragmatic, and knows that the only way to see progress is with a party that leaves the door open for change.
- “A vote for third party candidates will send a strong message to the Democratic party.”
No it won’t. What sent a strong message to the democratic party was the strong support of Sanders in the primary. The democratic platform is the most progressive in history, likely in no small part due to the surge in advocacy from Bernie’s supporters. This was a good thing. Clinton vowed to overturn Citizens United and the party has vowed to take sweeping steps for social and environmental progress. A vote for a third party candidate now will do exactly one thing: empower Donald Trump.
- “I will not vote out of FEAR. You are fear-mongering and can not scare me into voting for Clinton.”
It must feel good to be so brave. But this isn’t like jumping off a cliff with a bungee cord and being fairly confident that the rope will support you. This is like jumping off a cliff. You should be scared. If you aren’t, you’re probably not paying attention.
- “I don’t care if Donald Trump wins because it will bring the revolution.”
From Dan Savage: “People supported Ralph Nader in 2000 and said there was no difference between Al Gore and George W. Bush, therefore we could all afford to throw our votes away, protest-style, on Ralph Nader, who had no hope of getting elected, because there was no difference between Bush and Gore. These same people, at the same time, said that George Bush was so manifestly obviously terrible that he would bring the revolution if he got himself elected somehow….It’s bullshit. The revolution did not come in 2000 when George W. Bush got close enough to winning to steal the White House. It will not come if Donald J. Trump gets his ass elected. Disaster will come. And the people who’ll suffer are going to be people of color. People of minority faiths. Queer people. Women.”
But, hey, maybe there will be a revolution! Maybe even a civil war! I mean, that turned out awesome in The Hunger Games. Maybe we can divide into districts and fight for food while the revolutionaries fighting with their art can die in battle against all the guns! But it’s all OK because after 75 years of strife, Katniss will come with her bow and arrow and we can all return to the land. Or maybe, this will happen.
- “The two-party system is rigged and unfair – we need viable third party candidates!”
Yes, we do. But Jill Stein ain’t it. She may be as green as a four-leaf clover, but my six-year-old has more foreign policy experience. That said, we need to be electing more third party candidates from the ground up. There have been some excellent third party candidates voted into office in smaller elections throughout the country – but not enough. Let’s take a cue from Bernie to fight for those progressive third-party candidates in our state and city elections – even congress should a viable candidate arise. It may not be easy to accept that the revolution will not come overnight, but that was never going to happen – not with so many hardline GOPs still in power. Slow and steady, my friend. We will get there.
- “I must vote my conscience.”
Sleep tight on a pile of rubble.