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The Privilege of the Sanders Die-Hard



As it becomes increasingly clear that Bernie Sanders will not be the Democratic nominee for president in 2016, his most die-hard supporters are trying to figure out what to do. They have worked themselves into such a fever that Hillary Clinton is Evil Incarnate that the idea of voting for her is not something they can consider. What they will do when Sanders not only endorses Clinton but works hard for her on the campaign trail, trying to get his supporters to vote for her, will be interesting. Maybe they will say he’s not sincere, maybe they will call him a sellout. But what do HA Goodman, Walker Bragman, and Brogan Morris have in common, other than having names that sound made up by a bad author writing a terrible novel about a boarding school? They are all rich white dudes who are able to say that they will never vote for Hillary because they will not have to personally face the consequences of a Republican president.

If Donald Trump gets elected, how many vulnerable people will be hurt, how many programs cut, how bad will the the economy get under conservative policies? How much damage will be done if Trump, an open racist and misogynist, is empowered to command our military, veto bills, and nominate people to the Supreme Court, impacting life in the US for decades to come?

Trump exhorts his followers to attack protestors at his rallies (“The next time we see him, we might have to kill him,” a follower said after punching a black protestor at a rally.) Trump excuses his followers who attack a homeless Hispanic man on the street, claims that Mexican immigrants are rapists, refused to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan, supports banning Muslims from entering the US, advocates killing the families of terrorists, and is openly sexist. Trump is the worst America has to offer.

How privileged do you need to be to imagine that it’s a good idea to risk the actual lives of vulnerable Americans because you “hate” Clinton so much that you vow to stay home if Sanders doesn’t get the nomination? How protected from the consequences of a Trump presidency do you need to be to think your hatred of Clinton constitutes, as I saw someone say earlier this week, an “inviolable principle,” meaning that it’s more important than the lives of vulnerable Americans? That all applies equally to any Clinton supporters saying the same about Sanders. (We have yet to see the full weight of American anti-Semitism aimed at Sanders, and if he wins the nomination, we most certainly will.)

Vote for whoever you like in the primary. But let’s step away from vicious attacks and hatred. Let’s step away from buying into debunked conservative propaganda about Clinton’s trustworthiness. Let’s look at the candidates’ actual proposals and weigh those proposals’ actual strengths and weaknesses. Let’s respect each other’s choices in the primaries.

And whoever becomes the Democratic nominee, the stakes are far, far too high for us to selfishly stay home because we didn’t get our first choice. I will happily, proudly vote for either Clinton or Sanders, and I hope you will do the right thing and join me.

This of course should be self-evident to anyone who is not an utter narcissist. But alas, the idea of voting as a consumer choice that defines you as a moral individual is a cult that will not go away. In November, you are going to have a choice. One choice will be a Lesser Evil candidate with a lot of problems but who will also do a lot of good things. The other will be a fascist. The choice is yours. There is no other choice. Not voting because the Democratic Party candidate is not your primary preference does not mean you are above the fray or not morally responsible for what happens in this nation over the next four years (or much longer). It just means you are a preening individualist who privileges his (and let’s face it, it will usually be his) own self-regard over the community of people around you–women, unionists, environmentalists, GLBT, immigrants, African-Americans who still want the right to vote, etc. I don’t particularly care for Hillary Clinton. But there is no possible way I will not vote for her in November against Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

By the way, it was Noon who created the above image.

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