Dear #BernieOrBust supporters,
The past few weeks have probably been pretty disappointing for you all. A string of tough primary losses followed by a mass layoff of campaign staffers has signaled the beginning of the end for your beloved democratic socialist. Although Sanders has promised to stick it out until the Democratic National Convention this summer, at this point there is really no foreseeable road to the White House for him. Sanders has also pledged to fight through a contested convention if Clinton does not gain the delegates needed for a majority, but even this would be unlikely to pan out in his favor considering Clinton has both the popular vote and an overwhelming majority of unpledged superdelegates backing her.
Before I continue, let me just state outright that I don’t believe Sanders should feel obligated to drop out at this point. The fact that he’s made it this far despite being written off as an insignificant candidate for the majority of his run is a testament to the enthusiasm behind his ideals. By staying in the race, Sanders will continue to push the Democratic Party to the left, and have the opportunity to keep some of the issues he’s championed on the table when the party’s platform is rewritten. With that being said, Sanders supporters, you need to realize that Bernie’s time in this election is coming to a close, and he is no longer a serious contender for the presidency.
Sanders’ campaign was built on the promise of a political revolution, and even if he isn’t successful in winning the nomination, in a way he’s still achieved his goal. He’s mobilized a significant portion of voters who traditionally have not shown much interest in our political system. He’s put pressure on Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who was formerly perceived as a shoo-in for the job and pushed her to do more to earn votes. He’s opened up conversations about income inequality, the prison industrial complex, and corporate influence in politics that were previously untouched. These are big strides for a virtually unheard of senator from Vermont.
You all still have the opportunity to create the type of change you hoped to see from the start, but now instead of infiltrating the White House with an “outsider” (a term I personally disagree with considering Sanders is in fact a career politician) you’re going to have to figure out how to initiate change from within the system. Unfortunately for you the only realistic way to build on the momentum created by the Sanders campaign and inch closer to implementing the reforms you’d like to see is by getting Clinton in the White House.
As much as some of you may hate Clinton for being “bought” or “dishonest”, she’s the only real chance you have to implement progressive reforms. The fact of the matter is, Clinton supports a lot of the same issues as Sanders does— cracking down on wall street, making public colleges more affordable, overturning citizens united, protecting social security, increasing use of renewable energies, providing more Americans with health care, abolishing private prisons— but she just has a different way of accomplishing these aims. Even if you don’t think she’ll do as good of a job as Sanders, at the very least you have to admit she won’t stand in the way of your progress. This is certainly more than we can say for Donald Trump who plans to undo all the work of the Obama administration in his first 100 days. Additionally, just having a democrat in the White House will increase the chances of electing a Democratic, reform-minded congress, and help to ensure that the vacancy on the Supreme Court will be filled by a more liberal justice.
Continuing to falsely frame Clinton as some sort of “closet Republican” who rigged the primaries in her favor is extremely dangerous at this stage in the election. This type of behavior serves no purpose other than to give the real GOP more mud to sling at the presumptive Democratic nominee. I’m not saying that Clinton should be free from critique on her own side of the aisle, but just be aware that she’s really no longer your competition. By spreading the idea that Sanders still has a chance as a write in candidate, or that his more liberal counterpart from the Green Party, Jill Stein, could be a realistic alternative in the general election, you are simply deceiving your fellow citizens.
You may think you’re being morally righteous and standing up to the system, but in actuality you look like sore losers throwing a tantrum after not getting what you wanted. Normally this type of behavior wouldn’t be too harmful but considering that an authoritarian demagogue is running on the other side, it heightens the stakes a little. Do you want to be remembered as those who allowed a malicious leader to come into power out of spite, or those who rose to the occasion in order to continue on the path towards progress. Ultimately, only you can decide which side of history you’d like to be on.
A concerned citizen.
*This article does not necessarily reflect the views of Her Campus Stony Brook or Her Campus Media.*