Dear Bernie Sanders Supporters: I Need You All to Clarify a Few Things For Me

It’s no secret that I’m a supporter of Hillary Clinton. While I have been critical of Bernie Sanders on a couple of occasions, typically my issues have been with the group of his supporters who’ve become famous (or infamous, depending on how you want to look at it) for being rather rabid, hostile and aggressive in supporting him and bashing Clinton. I know most of his supporters are rational and great people, but there is a small (very vocal) group that backs him that’s been an issue his entire campaign.

As for me, while I frequently get bashed by these folks for supporting Clinton, my stance all along has been to support whoever won the Democratic nomination because I like both candidates (yes, that’s possible) – I just prefer Clinton.

But now that we’re headed toward the end of this lengthy race for the Democratic nomination, there are some things coming from the Sanders camp (and from some of his supporters) about which I am confused. I’m not here to “bash Sanders.” These are legitimate questions I have based upon what I’ve been seeing and hearing after Clinton won 5 of 6 key states in April, which all but sealed up the nomination.

Such as, how does Sanders’ recent superdelegate logic work? He’s been saying that superdelegates should side with the candidate who won the state, right? Well, even if they did that, Clinton would still have a huge and almost insurmountable lead over him. So I’m not entirely sure how that argument makes a whole lot of sense. Clearly the candidate who’s won more states, has over 3 million more votes and around 290 more pledged delegates would be the same candidate awarded more superdelegates based on how Sanders believes superdelegates should act when supporting a candidate.

Building on that question, how is it rational to talk about “political revolutions,” voter turnout and complaining about closed primaries – while simultaneously arguing that even if Clinton leads in overall popular vote and pledged delegates at the convention (which is very likely to be the case), superdelegates should ignore the majority of voters and nominate him instead? Plus, how can someone rationally claim that superdelegates should side with the candidate who won the state (which has been Sanders’ argument), while also publicly contradicting the very policy he says Democrats should follow by claiming superdelegates should choose him over Clinton based on his claims that he’s the better candidate in November?

I don’t know if you notice, but Bernie Sanders and his campaign have literally been talking out of both sides of their mouth when it comes to superdelegates.

Then there are his comments about open primaries and how he feels they “disenfranchise voters” because independents aren’t allowed to vote in these contests.

First, it’s a Democratic primary – so the nominee should be chosen by Democrats. But even if you want to ignore that fact for a moment and simply say we should have a primary process that encourages as many people to vote as possible, his main gripe shouldn’t be with closed primaries – it should be caucuses. If there’s one process for selecting a nominee that heavily suppresses the vote, it’s caucuses.

I don’t see Bernie Sanders complaining too much about those and how they disenfranchise voters. I wonder if his silence on caucuses has anything to do with the fact that many of his biggest wins have come in states that have caucuses? This makes it rather hypocritical for him to complain about closed primaries (because he doesn’t do as well in those contests), while remaining silent when it comes to caucuses. If you want to get right down to which process suppresses the vote worse, it’s caucuses – and it’s not even close.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad Sanders is staying in until California. I even wrote as much a couple of weeks ago. Based upon his success and what he’s done this past year, he’s earned the right to see his campaign through all the way until the end.

But I’ve just been a bit confused by some of his comments since I wrote that piece. Complaining about a nomination process based on rules that have been around for decades and that he knew about going into this thing just comes off sounding like sour grapes. Especially when he only seems to be complaining about the processes and rules that haven’t benefitted him, while almost never complaining about the processes and rules that have. You know, like caucuses.

And can someone please explain to me how he seems to be getting away free and clear with only releasing one year’s worth of tax returns? This is something liberals crushed Mitt Romney on in 2012. Heck, this is something I’m sure we’re going to crush Donald Trump on during the general election. And I can promise you that if it were Hillary Clinton refusing to release more than one year’s worth of tax returns, many pro-Sanders folks would be losing their minds saying she clearly was trying to hide something. Presidential candidates releasing their tax returns has a decades-long precedent. So it seems a little strange that Bernie Sanders, a man who seems to be all about transparency, is more or less refusing to show more than one year’s worth of his.

Not that I care all that much. The only thing that actually bugs me about this is just the fact that I know if the situations were reversed, and it was Clinton refusing to release hers, the attitude from the Sanders camp and his supporters would be much different.

I know this sounds like I’m bashing Bernie Sanders, but I’m really not trying to. These are legitimate questions I would love actual answers for. Not talking points or something you read from a pro-Sanders blog that are often just feeding Sanders supporters what they want to hear for cheap clickbait and easy revenue. I am legitimately confused by the things I’ve listed in this article. So, again, please don’t take this as an attack on Bernie (though I know that’s what many of his supporters will do – just go look at the comment section). I would just love some answers to these simple – and I think reasonable – questions.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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