There’s a Reality Supporters of Both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Need to Face

hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-debateFor months the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters has been raging. You can’t go to a post about either candidate without seeing supporters for each going back and forth with one another, often spewing “facts” about each candidate that aren’t even true. Unfortunately, that’s the world in which we’re now living. A day and age where people can wrap themselves up inside a “confirmation bias bubble” where they’re only fed the information centered around what they want to hear and typically with which they already agree.

Another unfortunate aspect to this “bubble” is that often times articles are written, not to provide quality political analysis, but for nothing more than cheap “clickbait” aimed at those living inside these “bubbles.” Not that I’m against certain aspects of clickbait if it’s not over-the-top or misleading, but some of the headlines I encounter are so sensationalized you have to want to believe whatever nonsense they’re promising to actually take them seriously.

What all of this ultimately leads to is a society where people doubt the truth, ignore reality and much of the time aren’t being factually informed.

Take for instance the upcoming presidential election. Right now all of these presidential candidates, both on the left and the right, are lying to everyone – all of them. They’re all making bold promises and statements based on power that, as president, they really won’t have.

The truth is, a president can only accomplish what Congress will allow them to. This is what frustrated me so much following President Obama’s election. There’s such a misunderstanding among many Americans as to how government actually works that many Obama supporters turned on him prior to the 2010 midterms because he couldn’t wave a magic wand and make all of their hopes and dreams come true. Never mind that had liberals shown up in 2010, like they did in 2006 or 2008, President Obama could have accomplished much more than he was able to.

But once Republicans seized the House – it was basically game over. Most of the “victories” President Obama has been able to achieve (other than his re-election) were those where congressional Republicans had no choice but to work with him (government shutdown, DHS funding, debt ceiling) or those where he used what power the executive office has to accomplish something.

So, while Clinton and Sanders supporters spend much of their time bickering over who should be the Democratic nominee, none of it is going to matter if liberals don’t show up in large numbers in November to give Democrats back at least some power in Congress. While it’s highly unlikely that Democrats can regain power in the House, at least not in 2016, it’s still very possible to retake the majority in the Senate.

And control of Congress is arguably more important than the White House this November (though we absolutely cannot allow Republicans to take back the presidency). If you think congressional Republicans are going to support 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, a hike in the minimum wage, improving on the Affordable Care Act, free public college or any sort of new regulations on Wall Street – you’re out of your mind. There’s absolutely zero chance that any of these bold promises Clinton and Sanders are making will ever come to fruition unless liberals also give Democrats back some power in Congress. A Democratic president can only be as progressive as the Congress we give them.

While I know it’s far more popular to bicker amongst ourselves over who we think should be the Democratic nominee, the underlying truths are this:

  • Unless we want to see all the progress we’ve made over the last few years undone, we all have to vote for whomever wins the Democratic nomination.
  • That person, no matter if it’s Clinton or Sanders, can only accomplish as much as the Congress we give them allows them to.
  • If we want either candidate to be able to fulfill their promises, and hold them accountable to those promises, then we have no choice but to turn out in large numbers to give them a Congress that will allow them to accomplish what they’ve promised if elected president.
  • Without knowing what Congress will look like next year, pretty much everything each of these candidates is telling you is a lie.
  • Unless you want either candidate to go down as the least productive president in history, you need to learn that compromise is a part of governing. “All or nothing” typically gets you nothing and nowhere.
  • True change takes time and often includes knowing when to pick your battles.
  • Showing up every 4 years to pick a president is nice, but also somewhat worthless unless you’re also showing up at local and midterm elections to select state officials and members of Congress.
  • If Republicans are allowed to pick up to four Supreme Court Justices over the next 4-8 years, that will set progressives back decades.

I cannot emphasize enough how important 2016 is. With the GOP on the brink of complete implosion and all the power in the hands of progressive voter turnout, 2016 is the moment we can seize back some control in Congress, lockup the Supreme Court for decades, and finally break the back of the GOP. I’m predicting another loss in a presidential election will be what sends the Republican party into total and complete chaos.

But that all depends on us. If liberals and progressives show up to vote in large numbers this November, we can’t lose. A lot of the power Republicans have right now was given to them by liberal apathy and being absent at the voting booth.

If we’re not willing to see the bigger picture, be smart, be realistic and keep Republicans out of power and from destroying this country – then we’ll only have ourselves to blame.

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

  • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

    Many, MANY, progressives will never vote for the Wall St, big bank, big oil, big pharma, Monsanto darling. A vote for Hillary is a vote for continued oligarchic rule. Accept that fact!

    • John Zohn

      It’s kind of sad that the only real Republican in the race is running as a Democrat. She’s got a whole lot of people fooled into believing that she’s actually a Democrat considering she farther to the right than Nixon was.

      • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

        Exactly. Her husband was a Republican too and as it turns out, so is Obama. We haven’t had a real Democratic choice since the party became the Third Way, neo-liberal second right-wing party. The corporate press is beginning to portray Bernie as a commie since his polices are is redical as Eisenhowers. But then, they called Eisenhower a commie too.

      • sheilam22

        were you born stupid or did you practice real hard?

      • John Zohn

        Are sophomoric insults the best you can do? Have you actually looked at Hillary’s voting record and her history of siding with corporations over the welfare of the public by way of consumer environmental and employee protections? Or are you just a clueless Hillary supporter that resorts to childish taunting as a compensation for not having any facts to back up your uneducated opinion?

    • David Flentje

      Great. Progressive genius, have a tantrum and stay home so a fascist can nominate the justices. Brilliant.

      Thanks for completely missing the point.

      • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

        It has nothing to do with tantrums and everything to do with integrity and not doing something my conscience will not allow. Integrity & conscience … try it sometime.

      • The Dreadful Flying Glove

        Knee Grow…

      • sheilam22

        you are an ass – you do not know what a republican i and you dont know what integrity is – neither burnie nor his rabid followers have it –

      • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

        I don’t spend my time with people who have so little self-control they can’t have a discussion without being reduced to name calling. Enjoy your life.

      • TY

        Good for you, integrity is in short supply. If a Hillary vote would compromise your integrity, so be it. The column suggests that the struggle must be engaged in local and congressional elections. Can you find someone running for congress who needs your support, and meets your conditions? I live in a purple state, so I have lots of choices. 🙂

      • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

        I can try to help unseat my Republican congressman. In one of the most progressive states in the union we just can’t get rid of this guy. I think we have the biggest concentration of Tea Partiers in the state in our district.

      • TY

        I live in a CO district that lives and breathes Tea Party as well. We had luck in the last election voting their school board candidates out of office. One of the best political events of my life! I wish you a ton of luck!!

      • ॐ peaceful_revolutionary

        Thanks 🙂

  • MonicaR62

    I don’t want a repeat of 2000 in which the far left wing of the Democratic party attacked Al Gore, and opened the door for George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency.

    The stakes are too high for that in 2016.

    • Tino Ramos

      I think Jeb might have had a bigger role in his brother winning then the far left wing of the party.

      • Bobs_Vendetta

        Absolutely. An historical fact.

    • nutsinavice

      A repeat of 2000 is where the Supreme Court decides step in and appoint a president. Gore won. The Republicans cheated.

      2004 was more of an issue because the Dems ran Kerry, who has the charisma of a turnip, and he couldn’t mobilize the support.

      But your point is well taken. VOTE!

  • Norm Messer

    I don’t want a repeat of 2000, when blue dog democrats managed to nominate a candidate who ran on a right wing platform and even chose a republican for a running mate and opened the door for George W. Bush’s disastrous presidency.

    The stakes are too high for that in 2016.

    • Chirpy

      Nailed it again. Thanks for posting. Ugh, lieberman is terrible.

  • Queefer Sutherland

    Hillary is no different from the GOP candidates. They all suck the same corporate tit.

    • TY

      I hear you. Of course, if she is the nominee, she will need congressional support and Supreme Court sympathy to advance liberal policies on such things as abortion rights, civil rights, voting rights, tax policy, etc.

      • Queefer Sutherland

        I’d be a fool to argue that with you on a surface level. But those issues (which are important to me, btw) are what I call “bread crumbs.” These are the causes Hillary will “champion” for her constituency in order to get votes. Personally, I hail the advent of gay marriage and other rights that some of my dear friends may now enjoy. I believe a woman should have domain over her own body.

        So I became a Democrat. Duh. But Hillary Clinton will do nothing to save this world from the true threats that are already on the horizon. Just as the Repbublicans won’t do a thing, either. Instead, they’ll exploit the philosophical divide between their followers in order to keep us distracted and our eyes off of their vast, vast, corruption.

        Enjoy your gay marriage, liberals, and enjoy your gun rights, conservatives. All that will mean nothing when economies are collapsing and the world spills over with the needy and suffering. But at least our “leaders” will be comfortable while we eat each other.

        Tell me then that there was a difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

      • TY

        There is a difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

        I will vote for Bernie or Hillary. Why?
        The more telling difference is between the two parties in general on a host of issues:

        Tax Policy
        Social Issues
        Labor and Free Trade
        Health Care
        Social Programs
        Foreign Policy
        Energy Issues and the Environment
        Crime and Capital Punishment
        Individual Liberty

      • Queefer Sutherland

        The difference is in the rhetoric. Your list there just gets lip service paid to it, but very little real action. I believe they are in it for themselves. You’re voting for an ideal that doesn’t really exist.

  • Jonathan Palmquist

    This point of this article is a major point in Sanders’ own platform- he will energize the electorate and increase turnout in the general election which will cause Dems to win down ballot races.

    It’s also the reason one of Clinton’s main platforms is meaningless- she claims to be the pragmatic candidate who can “get things done”, but nothing at all will get done by either candidate unless Dems make big gains in Congress. With her horrible favorability ratings among every group except party democrats, not only is it very possible trust she would lose the general, but even if she won it would be with a Republican Congress.

  • alajoann

    Very good point. People forget that Congress is 1/3 of our 3-branch government (executive, judicial and LEGISLATIVE) – and we get to vote for them. Yea! After that point, I disagree.

    If Bernie Sanders is on the 2016 ballot, I will vote the entire Democrat ticket. If he is not, I will vote for Jill Stein, Green Party – and the remaining Democrat ticket. Who the President is in 2016, Republican or not, is not as important as a strong Progressive Movement.

    Just because Hillary Sanders, er, Clinton ended up copying nearly every policy from Bernie Sanders’ platform, doesn’t make her him. It doesn’t break her ties with Wall Street. It only reveals how badly she wants to win.

    There is only one Bernie Sanders, and only one like him in a hundred years.

    Please do consider your vote carefully.

    P.S. Do not underestimate Bernie Sanders’ foreign policy. Bernie is the Moderate, not the Hawk. I know Hillary sounds good when she talks foreign policy… but are you actually equipped to evaluate what she is saying? Realize that most Presidents have are not foreign policy experts, they rely on military and foreign advisors. What underlying values do they demonstrate? That is the question.

    Do you want someone who will arrogantly tinker with countries abroad so that war profiteers make a bundle. Or do you want someone prepared to defend America, if need be, but knows the the straightest path to safety is by building coalitions, alliances and PEACE with other nations?

    You can’t build peace with war. You can’t fight against corruption while you’re taking “legal” bribes.

  • Mike Coverdale

    don’t forget the bottom line. It’s not red/blue but GREEN that makes things happen or not happen in DC. You would see more effective government from both sides of the aisle if their positions are not being bought.

  • Eg Kbbs

    Not to mention the huge number of folks who are split between Clinton and Sanders and see pros and cons with each of them but would gladly support either over the other side of the aisle.