I have made it abundantly clear that I am a Bernie Sanders supporter. Before Bernie Sanders announced that he was running for the Democratic nomination, I reluctantly decided that if Hillary Clinton was the party’s pick, I would vote for her in the general election. As much as I was not all that excited about her candidacy, even my dog Peanut would be a better pick than anyone that the Republican Party could come up with.
The first primaries are still months away, but I’ve already been seeing Bernie Sanders supporters torching Hillary Clinton supporters and vice versa. There are other Democratic candidates, but all the attention has been on Hillary in the media until recently. It’s understandable that some call Sanders supporters the liberal version of Ron Paul fans, but they’re dismissing the very real fact that many of us are unhappy with what we see as the coronation of a candidate without her going through the primary process like everyone else.
I went to the Bernie Sanders rally last month just outside of New Orleans. At least 4,500 people packed into a civic center normally reserved for wrestling matches and small trade shows to hear Bernie Sanders speak. All of them almost unanimously cheered when he spoke about institutionalized racism, income inequality and many other issues that many blue state liberals might think red state voters are brainwashed against.
Through the entire speech, and throughout most of his campaign, Bernie Sanders did not make one disparaging remark about Hillary Clinton – because giving ammunition to Republican critics and hurting Democrats’ chances isn’t what he is trying to do.
Sure, Hillary Clinton has better name recognition than Bernie Sanders, but that is slowly changing as more and more voters discover his campaign. Some uninformed liberals have started repeating the hand-wringing talking points that he would cost her the election by splitting the vote, even though he has stated that he has no intention to run as a third-party candidate, unlike Donald Trump with the GOP.
So long as the Republican Party has politicians claiming that Mexicans are rapists or suggesting nuclear war against the Muslim world, Democrats have the upper hand. There is no reason to make their campaigns any easier.
Complicating things slightly, there are potential candidates like Joe Biden who haven’t even decided whether or not they will enter the race. So why this early in the game are people bickering over whether Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton needs to be the nominee, and trashing the candidate they don’t like on social media before voters have even gone to the polls?
Like Bernie Sanders, I am not here to trash Hillary Clinton, and I strongly urge Bernie Sanders supporters not to do that either. Trashing the other candidates and trying to score political points in a game of who is the most ideologically pure is what Republican pundits are doing, and tearing their own party apart in the process. The GOP is engaged in a civil war with the Tea Party potentially causing establishment candidates their chances of reelection, so why does the left need to copy their losing strategy?
I will wholeheartedly support Bernie Sanders in the primaries, but I will also wholeheartedly support whoever the Democratic nominee is in the general election. All I ask is that the Clinton supporters out there do the same.
Featured image via Formidable Republican Opposition on Facebook.
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