I am 99% sure that every outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders has received a variation of the following at least once in this primary election:
When Hillary wins the nomination, you’ll vote for her in the general, right?
The question reeks of either desperation or condescension, depending on who you’re talking to.
Listen, it’s not about who I’m going to vote for in the general election. I’m happy to have that conversation once we’ve got our general election nominees in place. This is about a fear-mongering power play on the part of the Clinton campaign who have (without facts), convinced some voters that Hillary is our only hope to defeat the Republicans in November.
Despite the fact that every single poll consistently shows that Bernie Sanders outperforms Hillary Clinton in every single head-to-head match up against the Republicans, some voters who would normally vote for Bernie in the primary have internalized the myth that only Hillary can win. If you’ve ever wondered if mainstream [read: corporate] media uses its power to plant its biases in your psyche, wonder no more. You’ve got your answer.
Whether their urgency is driven by fear or condescension, Hillary-splainers have somehow forgotten that we’re still in a primary election. As far as I’m concerned, the nomination is still up for grabs–for another two months. Hillary-splainers also seem to be clueless that Bernie is steadily cutting into Hillary’s pledged delegate lead, and that he only needs to win 56.5% of the remaining pledged delegates to overtake her completely. I’m particularly amazed by the conversations I have with my fellow California residents who aren’t voting until June 7th but have already decided that they will support Hillary in the primary because they are convinced that she’s going to win the primary. If that isn’t sound logic, I don’t know what is.
As I said earlier, it’s a nasty and manipulative power play on the part of the Clinton campaign to use the mainstream media and gaslight undecided voters into questioning and minimizing the power of their own vote. If Hillary is going to win the primary anyway, why try? What I find most ironic is that the repeated attempts to portray Bernie supporters as “Bernie Bros”, or intolerant, flaming, White liberals who “Bernie-splain” to minority voters, have circled right back around to the Hillary camp. When you Hillary-splain to me why I should vote for her in the general election when we’re still in a primary, you are being as condescending and dismissive as us “self-righteous progressives.”
Let me just point out that this Hillary-splaining, which is what Hillary supporters do when they tell me I have to vote for her in the general or else, is a one-way street. I have never heard a Bernie supporter say to a Hillary supporter, “When Bernie wins the nomination you’ll vote for him in the general, right? RIGHT?!?!” That’s because we don’t presumptuously assume that he’s going to be the nominee. We understand that he’s up against an entire political machine, a world-famous brand name, and a ton of corporate special interest money, and we understand that every vote needs to be earned. You might describe the overall attitude as “humble.”
Furthermore, as a dedicated volunteer for the Sanders campaign, I find it even more ironic that a self-proclaimed, staunch Hillary advocate who puts no time into campaigning for her thinks it’s ok to tell me that nothing I do will change the outcome of this election. Oh, really? First of all, tell that to the volunteers that organized the Nevada precinct delegates in time to turn out for the County Convention, which flipped the state in Bernie’s favor. Second of all, if you had even a shred of understanding of what it takes to volunteer 15+ hours of your time every week and make several hundreds of dollars worth of small dollar contributions to a campaign that shakes the very foundation of your soul, I doubt we would ever have a conversation that began with “When Hillary wins the nomination…”
Here’s the truth, and I believe I speak for many ardent Bernie supporters when I say this: I had nothing against Hillary Clinton until I watched the way she campaigned in this election. When I watched her twist Bernie’s votes and policies out of context, when I watched her launch her Super PAC money against him in a primary, when I watched her slander Bernie through the same media outlets that offered him 80 seconds of free screen time compared to Donald Trump’s $1.9 billion, I became angry by the insincerity of it all. And in the same way that Hillary has alienated young voters by attacking an honest man in dishonest ways, in the same way that media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have alienated us by portraying Bernie as a crazy, idealistic, Communist grandpa, Hillary supporters are further alienating those of us who dedicate ourselves to the cause when they suggest our efforts are futile.
I am aware of the #BernieOrBust movement that refuses to “vote blue no matter who” in an effort to stick a giant middle finger up to the media for poor journalism, and up to the DNC for becoming the same corporatized war-mongering party that looks oddly like the Republicans. And I have to say, if Hillary supporters who are voting simply out of fear of The Donald, have to beg Bernie supporters to forgo their #BernieOrBust pledge to vote for Hillary in the general, take a moment to stop and think: who is the stronger candidate?
Many a time I’ve heard some Hillary supporters accuse the #BernieOrBust crowd of being privileged and selfish. It would be the voters’ faults, with their “White privilege” (even those of us who are not White), for allowing the rise of Trump–but the media that made him into a reality TV star or the DNC that severely compromised its progressive roots are off the hook. Well, all I have to say to that is, when proponents of “incremental change” Hillary-splain their logic to me while I walk past homeless men, women, and children every single day, I have no words for them. Except, maybe, “privileged.”
As Susan Sarandon bravely and accurately articulated, some of Bernie’s most fervent supporters believe that a President Trump will immediately bring the revolution because he would be an overt symbol that our country is going to Hell. I’d rather have that knowledge out in the open than cushioned in the false promises upon false promises of the dear old Establishment and the political elite.
But, let’s not make any assumptions here. If Bernie becomes the nominee, we won’t have to worry about a President Trump at all.