There are two movements in the 2016 election and both have generated more attention and caused more impact than anyone could have predicted. With Donald Trump now the GOP’s presumptive nominee and Bernie Sanders driving the DNC to a contested convention against Hillary Clinton, our political parties will not be the same by 2020. What both movements have shown us is just how tired Americans are of giving more and receiving less. From taxes to healthcare and wages to crime, once thing is very clear, Americans are fed up. Both Sanders and Trump were eager to tap into this restlessness after witnessing America struggle for seven years with the near stalemate that has been Obama administration. Not that this is solely on Obama, but those of us who have paid even minimal attention since 2008 have witnessed the most unproductive time in the history of Washington. With Americans wondering what they should do with all of this anger, it should have been expected that a broad line would be drawn between those who blame the system and those who blame minorities.
Now, I can surely go into a rant about Donald Trump and attack his integrity and incompetence when it comes to politics, but really, what am I going to tell any Trump supporter that they haven’t turned a blind eye to already? Nothing. Instead of fanning the flames of Trump’s ignorance, I believe the more important topic that needs discussion is how we are going to defeat him later this year. Well, in order to defeat Trump, we need to address the other man responsible for a movement this election.
Bernie Sanders hit the campaign trail last summer and has won the hearts of many Americans from all walks of life. The Sanders campaign quickly rose out of hotel meeting rooms and began filling large sporting arenas in what seemed like just days. While we know the DNC and the media wrote him off early, calling him “the Socialist” who is “nipping at Clinton’s heels”, it was obvious that something incredible had happened. It appeared at the time that both sides of the aisle were experiencing the exile of establishment politics. With Jeb Bush creeping further and further from the middle of the debate stage and Sanders gaining momentum as he attacked the DNC’s establishment candidate, a Sanders v Trump election seemed very likely. However, as of late May, 2016 it looks like only the GOP will be seeing a dark horse nomination.
All of this leaves many Sanders supporters across the country completely dissatisfied with the DNC, and the corruption from those like Debbie Wasserman Shultz has not gone unnoticed. The problem with this isn’t just the fact that many will now turn away from politics altogether, but as I mentioned earlier, anger creates division. The corruption that has been displayed by the DNC has told its voters that the Democratic Nominee was chosen before we saw our first debate. This kind of disregard for the voice of the DNC’s own voter base has lead to so much resentment of not only their establishment, but their decided nominee herself, Hillary Clinton. But perhaps the biggest problem the DNC created for itself is the idea of “Bernie or Bust”. The “Bernie or Bust” idea is the emotional reaction of the anger caused by the DNC not giving Sanders a fair shot at the nomination. So what are these disenfranchised Sanders voters going to do now? Vote for Sanders no matter what.
Now, to be fair, I have myself have struggled with this decision and we have discussed the pros and cons of “Bernie or Bust” many times on the show. But there is something I just cannot wrap my head around and that is the enormous risk we are taking. The risks that I hear many supporters of Sanders say is that we are risking the one shot we have at fixing our nation’s issues. Sanders has promised free public university tuition, real affordable healthcare and an overall widening of the middle class, among many other initiatives. These are all large steps forward in the right direction, however I do not get the sense that these supporters fully grasp the magnitude of the giant leaps backwards that will be reality under Donald Trump. But before we get into what’s at stake, let’s take a look at whether or not a Sanders presidency is even possible if he does not leave the contested convention as the 2016 Democratic Nominee.
Honestly, the odds of a Sanders presidency without an official nomination does not look likely. Keep in mind that 3rd party candidates, like Bernie would be, will not be allowed to participate in debates, thus allowing the media to further doom him as a sore loser and a divider. This will put the media at an even more superior position than they have been over Sanders thus far in the election, and they will ignore him completely. In addition, and most importantly, we need to consider the math of the election. While Sanders will inherit the majority of Independent voters, unlike in the closed primaries, taking votes from Trump will likely be a futile attempt. Remember Nator gave us Bush in 2000. While this seemed possible just a few months ago, Trump has officially been invited into the GOP, killing the idea of #NeverTrump for most of the establishment. This means that Bernie will only be able to take votes from Clinton and what we risk is both of them splitting the votes while Trump surges ahead with the GOP voter base all to himself. The fact is, the “Bernie or Bust” idea is one of anger and emotional responses often lead to regret. We should all remember Sanders’ unofficial slogan: “America, don’t f*** this up!”. How is handing Trump the White House not doing just that? Speaking of “F*** ups”, we need to really consider those giant leaps backward I referred to earlier.
I have been told that there will be little difference between a Trump or Clinton presidency. This is quite possibly true when speaking about foreign and economic policies, but socially, Clinton is on the right side of history. (I know, I know, now she is!) But regardless of how many times Clinton has flip flopped on gay rights I do not expect her to abolish it. Just like I don’t expect her to change her opinion on a woman’s right to choose, or whether or not we should completely privatize our healthcare system. She is for tighter gun laws, for decriminalizing drug addiction and fixing our mass incarceration agenda. (Which her and Bill helped build in the 1990’s) So yes, she is corrupt, untrustworthy (As is Tump) and we really do not know who Hillary Clinton is. But we know who she is trying to be… Bernie Sanders.
It is my opinion that each of us should weigh our options, both the good and the bad. It has become very obvious that the fight against the DNC that we are having right now is a fight that we should have started years ago. The problem isn’t that the DNC wasn’t ready for Bernie Sanders, it’s that WE were not ready. We should have all learned by now that sticking our heads in the sand, not paying attention, not voting, not standing with those who are oppressed even if we are not directly affected, lead to our current circumstances. We need to take responsibility for whatever happens in November. If Trump is elected, people will die as a result of his policies, whether it be another war or the full privatizing of our healthcare system.
So for the “Bernie or Busters”, seeing as how we are all here, united on top of the foundation of ideals that we have believed in since the day an old man from Brooklyn told us that WE can stand together, healthy and educated, and deliver a new deal to the old establishment, we might as well make this revolution happen. But in order to do that we have to stand together. We have to continue to stay involved for more than one out of every four years. We have to take our congress out of the hands of those who campaign on the ideas of bigotry and intolerance. We have to remove control from those who blatantly show their corruption. We must take the steering wheel away from those who choose to do nothing and then blame the idea of government for not getting anything done. The RNC and DNC can continue to crumble, but that is after we for once continue to strive towards our goals after the excitement has worn off.
That’s why we need to begin thinking about 2020 now. By all means, continue to send our progressive message to Clinton. If the DNC succeeds in blocking us from having a Sanders presidency, fine. But let them know that this is the last time they will choose our candidate for us. Let Clinton inherit four more years of gridlock while we lay the ground work at our local and state levels to ensure that a rise of a 3rd party will be a reality. We will still be the largest generation by 2020 and with more of us turning 18 every year the numbers are on our side. Spread our message and exercise the first right we are guaranteed which is speech. Lastly, remember the names of the people, companies and the organizations that stood in our way and do not support them.
In closing, Sanders has corrected us time and time again, it is “WE not ME”. So if you are still pondering the idea of “Bernie or Bust” remember that it is purely an emotional decision and the negative impact to our social liberties and civil rights are at stake. Your emotional decision will send a message of anger and your vote will be wasted to prove a point that the DNC does not care about. Let’s not nuke our own progress. If Sanders is unsuccessful in changing the minds of the Super Delegates at the convention, let’s elect Hillary as a place holder, a paperweight, just a figure head who is more likely to not revert us back to the social policies of the 1950’s. I’m sure Women, Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians, the LBGTQ community, the Poor and everyone else struggling to get by in this country will appreciate it. So by 2020, we will be ready for the next man or woman, from Brooklyn or San Fransisco who is also ready for us and shares our vision for 2020.