A Hillary Supporter Explains How Bernie Sanders Can Become President

bernie-sanders-2016-formidable-republican-oppPolitics and political decision-making should be based on analytical and big picture thinking derived from facts and stats. The problem is, many Americans typically react emotionally and often irrationally when it comes to politics and whatever particular issues or candidates they’re passionate about. One of the most common errors I encounter in my dealings with politics is that people seem to believe that everyone thinks just like they do, and if you’re not 100 percent on board with every ideological stance from whatever “side” on which you claim to lie – you’re a “not a true liberal/conservative.”

That’s a lot of what I’m seeing from those supporting Bernie Sanders. I can’t count how many times I’ve received a message on Twitter or Facebook from someone asking me how I can call myself a true liberal/progressive, yet support Hillary Clinton at the same time. Apparently the only way to be a “true progressive” is to support Bernie Sanders.

Fun fact: Clinton and Sanders are a lot more alike than most people seem to think.

Most people who follow me know that I actually like both Clinton and Sanders. I’ll fully admit that Sanders tends to be more “left” than Clinton, but I still have strong doubts about his chances to win in the general election. While most of his supporters seem to think he can win based on their personal feelings about him, the size of the crowds he’s attracting or a handful of polls from New Hampshire or Iowa, I try to look at the broader scope of the situation.

In national polls he’s still being crushed by Clinton and hasn’t really made any gains on her in a couple of months. Not only that, but a Gallup poll from a few weeks back showed that 41 percent of Democrats said they wouldn’t support someone who describes themselves as a socialist. In a race that could come down to 2-3 percentage points in several key states, that can be the difference between a Democrat or a Republican occupying the White House on January 20, 2017.

Not only that, but he’s going to be 75 next year, a factor that’s only going to cost him votes – not bring him any. Yes, the reality is that there will be some Americans who won’t vote for him because of his age. However, that’s clearly nothing he can change or something that I think should impact him too greatly.

So let’s say for the sake of argument that Bernie Sanders wins the Democratic nomination over Hillary Clinton.

If he wants to win the presidency, he’s going to have to address the socialism label. While he doesn’t shy away from it, it’s also not something he’s really out there actively trying to redefine for many casual voters.

Now, most people who follow left-leaning politics know that Sanders is a democratic socialist, not the stereotypical “socialist” that often brings about gasps of horror whenever the word is mentioned. While a democratic socialist sounds like a complex phrase, it’s really not. It’s basically someone who believes in democracy but that the role of government is to provide basic services and protections to the people it serves. That’s why someone like Sanders advocates for free health care and college education.

To be honest, the Democratic party is a party of “democratic socialism.” It’s basically a blend of capitalism and socialism based upon the educated belief that “the market,” if left to its own devices, would ultimately shift power into the hands of a select few – leaving the rest of us screwed. You know, exactly like what’s happened over the last 30+ years.

By the way, it’s entirely possible to support capitalism and democratic socialism. Even as “left” as Sanders is, supporting a tax rate of 50 percent for the wealthy as well as closing loopholes many use to avoid paying taxes, the rich in this country would still be extremely wealthy.  We did pretty well in this country during the 50’s (in fact, it might be our most prosperous decade) and taxes were much higher than 50 percent on the richest Americans.

But if Sanders were to become the Democratic nominee, Republicans would have a field day fear-mongering against the self-described socialist. Honestly, their campaign of fear and propaganda would have a good chance of working. The sad nature of this country is that most people are easily manipulated by negative campaigning and ridiculous political ads, no matter how many exaggerations or flat-out lies are involved.

That’s why he has to start changing the minds of many Americans now about what a “socialist” (at least as it relates to his brand of socialism) actually means.

Like I said before, it’s not that he avoids talking about the fact that he’s a democratic socialist, but there’s a difference between admitting what you are when asked about it and actively trying to convey what it means to the American people. Because it’s not enough for Sanders to campaign on what he wants to do if he’s elected, he has to address the label itself and make a big part of his campaign properly defining what a democratic socialist is.

I’m not really seeing him do that. He can’t sit around and just wait to be confronted about the label by Republicans later on during the general election, he needs to make it a big part of his campaign now – because it’s most definitely going to be the focal point of the GOP attack ads against him if he were to win the nomination.

If he doesn’t get out ahead of it now, choosing to wait until Republicans start making it a big deal, well… by this time next year, it’s going to be too late.

Image via Formidable Republican Opposition on Facebook 

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.


Facebook comments

  • Markthetog

    I don’t think he wants the nomination, he just wants Hilary to see how many people want real change.

    • damitajo1

      LOL! Maybe Hillary wants people to see how strong she is.
      PS: there’s the assumption: only people who want REAL change vote for Bernie Sanders. He is not a cult leader. I know he has not said these things to you. So, where is it coming from?

      • fortunate1

        I’m a swing voter, sometimes I vote Republican sometimes Democrat, I voted for Ronald Reagan and I voted for Bill Clinton.. Of all the candidates Sanders’ is the only one who truly believes in what he’s doing. You have to ask yourself: Do you want our country to move further into a fiefdom for the rich and do you want to be subjugated by the ruling class? If the answer is HELL-NO then Bernie sanders is the only answer!

      • damitajo1

        you’re living on fantasy island

  • damitajo1

    I don’t think he has to do this right now. It’s not an issue with Democrats.

    Also people who say things like this are buffoons – and racists: “How I can call myself a true liberal/progressive, yet support Hillary Clinton at the same time.”
    Most people of color don’t support Bernie, and they are EXTREMELY progressive:

    • Kyle McHattie

      “Most people of color don’t support Bernie, and they are EXTREMELY progressive:” And you know this how? Where’s your source? I call bullshit.

      • damitajo1

        Apparently, you don’t read opinion polls. The same polls that supposedly show Bernie surging, show him only getting tiny support from people of color. Just Because Bernie makes white progressives feel like they are in orbit doesn’t mean people of color will have the same reaction. Sorry, race matters.

      • Kyle McHattie

        I don’t care what opinion polls say. They are not always accurate and often fail to show real numbers. I think reason matters more than race and believe that people of all races can get behind a candidate that not only makes sense, but has shown his integrity through every action he has made in his career.

  • damitajo1

    It is way too early to talk about general election polls. The parties haven’t even campaigned against each other.

    “Clinton, not so much” = the sanctimonious arrogance that makes Bernie supporters sound like a bunch of Tea Party wingnuts.

  • damitajo1

    The election isn’t being held today. It’s being held over a year from today after a couple of billion dollars have pumped the airwaves to shape the public’s view about the candidate’s. Your post demonstrates an ignorance about the political process.

    • Lacey Gentry

      Disgust and dissatisfaction with the political process as it is today is one of the major reasons that candidates like Sanders and Trump are enjoying the amount of popularity they are. We aren’t just looking at the individual candidates and their positions on the issues, we’re also judging them by how they play the “game.”

      • damitajo1

        people are idiots. they pay attention to politics during presidential elections. otherwise, they are asleep. THAT’S one reason why Congress doesn’t do what they want. Also, people are completely crazy. E.g., they hate Obamacare, but they love all of the provisions in Obamacare. If they were so idiotic we could have better policies.

  • Edward K. Jordan

    I must say that I am 100% for Sanders. This decision isn’t based on some poll numbers or endorsement by big wig Democrats. It comes from following his long political career over many years. When Bernie says something, it will still be his position a decade in the future. I disagree that Bernie would be our weaker of the two in the general election. Republicans and other Clinton haters have rehearsed for this race for years, they have a vast script they have to work from to defeat Clinton. With no such plan in play, Republicans will have to improvise their attacks. To me and other Sanders supporters, we see Bernie as a much stronger candidate in the general election. Ann Coulter even agrees with this assessment

    • Kyle McHattie

      you had me until you mentioned that hateful idiot Ann Coulter.

      • kate

        Kyle, No need for the hyperbole… Most developed world countries have accepted the chronological age of 65 years as a definition of ‘elderly’ or older person- Hence, HRC is elderly-

    • kristiannie

      “Ann Coulter even agrees …” wtf??? that should be your FIRST clue. like the rest of her republican thug friends she says the OPPOSITE of what she really means and hopes you dumfuks will lap it up. mission accomplished.

      • kate

        If you are Hellbent on voting for HRC, a conservative, bitter, Vile, elderly women….why attack Ann Coulter?

      • kristiannie

        stay classy, kate. sounds to me like you are the conservative, bitter. vile woman. and i don’t happen to think that “elderly” is an epithet.

      • Patrick

        Clintons damaged goods, she’s refusing too release her Medical Records, just say no.

    • Patrick

      Duh, Clintons looking at Criminal charges, Felonies, only a sheep on the Kool-aid would even mention the butcher from Benghazi. Gun running with the Lying King.

  • Susanna Iris Astarte

    100% Bernie all the way!

  • MaryLF

    I think a big issue is that he seems to be trying to attract white males at the expense of the coalition that President Obama put together and that won him the presidency twice. I don’t believe he can peel off enough white males to make the difference. It will be interesting to see what happens when he gets past the primaries in mostly white states like New Hampshire and Iowa. I’m also not excessively impressed with his achievements over such a long career in Congress. His positions haven’t changed, but at least at first glance it looks like he can’t or is unwilling to compromise to get things done – letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.

  • damitajo1

    Why would I be mad? LOL. He’s done.

  • damitajo1

    Reckless citing of polls? No, just lack of comprehension.

  • Patrick

    Mr. Donald Trump wins in a Landslide.