Photo Credit: ABC.com
O.K., I’m going to go ahead and put this out there; I like Bernie, I think some of Bernie’s ideas are exactly what this country needs. I like the idea of putting corporate America and greed in check. I believe he would have done a good job.
I also think: “It’s about time” and “I’m glad he’s not dragging this out until the Convention!”
What I do not believe, is that his message could have resonated with the older, more seasoned if you will, Progressives, who realize that you can’t bring on change too quickly, and there is another side to consider and compromise with.
Make no mistake, Bernie Sanders is about as Independent as it gets for a Senator. Before this election, in the Senate, he caucused with Democrats because they most closely reflected his views. For the same reason, when he ran for President, he did so as a Democrat. For one thing, this Party was the closest to his positions. For the other, the history of Independent Candidates or Third Parties getting any traction in Presidential Politics is abysmal at best.
I believe, however, that Bernie is a realist if nothing else. I’m sure he realizes that mathematically, the opposition was too far ahead. Not to mention, why would the sitting President come out and, before the Convention, endorse Secretary Clinton. That event, in my mind, was the death knell of the Sanders Campaign.
I think Bernie realizes one powerful fact. If Trump manages to win, Progress in this country will get rolled back 50 years, at least.He’s not ambitious enough, or self-destructive enough to take that chance. Why form a third party, that will only siphon votes from the Democrat, and would have a million to one shot at winning?
But, Bernie Sanders candidacy has had one significant effect. He has managed to push/pull/drag the Party more to the Left than any other has in the past. Like past campaigns, he has had significant impact on the parties Platform. From incorporating the $15 Minimum Wage, adding Universal Health Care, etc. His influence on Democratic Politics will be felt for some time to come.
So where do we go from here?
This case, I believe, is a little different from past examples. In the past, the loosing candidate would concede, then throw his/her weight behind the winner, then on to the National Campaign. The supporters would, usually, fall in line with what their candidate deemed the “right” course of action.
This time, however, Bernie supporters do not fit the mold of typical primary voters. He has done something no one else has done in quite some time, excite the young vote. College age voters, Millennials, voters under 35 years old. These are demographics that, surprisingly enough, latched onto his message and came out by the thousands to see him speak.
Naturally, they are probably feeling a bit dejected, even betrayed right now. So, let’s take a look at some possible outcomes of Bernie’s endorsement with his supporters:
- A few will, realizing whats at stake, come out to the polls and vote for Hillary. They may never admit it publicly though, but reason and common sense will win out in the end.
- Some will have to be convinced to vote Hillary. After almost a year of their candidate bashing her, and questioning her ties to Wall Street, some will naturally be on the fence. It will be up to the Clinton Campaign to craft a message to win these voters.
- I think a large majority will simply not vote. This demographic historically has a horrendous turn-out rate at polling places during every election. It wouldn’t be a stretch for them to simply revert back to what they were likely to do anyways, and just NOT VOTE,
- Another group will be those totally disaffected by Sanders endorsing Clinton, or simply just leaving the race. The “Bernie or Bust” movement is the prime example of this. The biggest question on everyone’s mind: Will this group actually go out and vote for Trump, or Libertarian or Green Party candidates out of spite? Are Bernie supporters willing to cut off their own nose to spite their face? Are they so willing to start a “political revolution” that they would blindly go out and vote for a candidate that is 180 degrees opposite their beliefs? I believe the answer to these questions lie in Bernie’s hands himself. Hillary has quite the job ahead building bridges and mending fences, but this particular subset of “Berners” are going to need the special sort of attention that only Sanders can provide. He is going to need to reassure them, and calm frayed nerves, while making the case that voting for Hillary is in their best interests.
Now, the first three groups are not really going to be an issue for the Clinton Campaign. The first two are bonus votes for her anyways. The third group likely would not have voted anyways, had Bernie not came along. I do not see their “non-voting” as being a factor in this election. Likely, the Campaign wasn’t counting on them anyways.
The fourth group, now that’s the wild card in this season. The Republicans are counting that enough ex-Sanders voters are disaffected enough, or distrust Hillary enough, to actually go out and vote for Trump with a straight face in protest. In fact, they act continuously to fan those flames. Another Congressional hearing on e-mails. Trump’s childlike propensity to call people names (i.e. “Crooked Hillary”).
That is why I cannot stress enough, VOTE! Encourage your like-minded friends to vote. Put people in the car with you and take them to vote! Sport a campaign sticker or sign. When you talk to someone who is “Bernie or Bust,” don’t agitate, try and reason with them. The point is, like Bernie, we should ALL do whatever we can to ensure that Hillary Clinton, like her or not, is the next President. Anything else would be a tremendous step backwards.
If you don’t believe me, or that it matters, take a look at the Republican Platform. Let me know which part you Agree with!
By MaryAlice Parks and Meghan Keneally
US election 2016: Bernie Sanders endorses Hillary Clinton BBC News 12 July 2016
Clinton receives long-awaited endorsement from Sanders AP on MSN 7/12/16