This Is Why Hillary Clinton Needs Bernie Sanders To Run For President

bernie-sanders-4If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2016, I will vote for her. With that in mind, I still want to see her face a couple of challengers in the primaries, and it’s not just because I’m uncomfortable with her simply being handed the nomination by default. Now, a lot of people are saying that we should just get behind her and look ahead to the 2016 general election, but that’s not only rather arrogant, in my opinion it’s also dangerous as well.

Now before you go grabbing your pitchforks and launching into all caps condemnations based off the headline alone, hear me out. Think of it this way: If you were hiring someone to work for you, would you give the job to the first person who showed up, just because they have pretty good credentials? Hillary Clinton is very qualified to be president, certainly more than anyone the Republicans have come up with so far, but that doesn’t mean we should just anoint her simply because she would be the first female president – or because she was runner-up to President Obama in 2008.

David Corn over at Mother Jones had this to say about Hillary Clinton and a primary opponent in his article this morning titled “Why Hillary Clinton Needs Martin O’Malley to Run for President”:

Clinton’s rival need not be O’Malley. But the choices for this spot are limited. James Webb? Lincoln Chaffee? Bernie Sanders (who’s not a Democrat)? It may be tougher for any of them to engage her in a serious fight. O’Malley, too, is not likely to threaten her path toward that glass ceiling. But at the moment he seems the possible contender with the most oomph.

A primary battle—even a limited one—introduces risk into the equation. It’s not hard to imagine Clinton and her strategists yearning for less uncertainty than more. (What if O’Malleymentum takes off?) And the Clintonites may not have a say in whether O’Malley enters the ring. Yet a primary fight that makes Clinton earn—not inherit—the nomination would cast her in a different role. She’d be a fighter, not a dynastic queen. The press and the public would have something to ponder beyond just Clinton herself. And all politics are relative; candidates usually look better when compared to another candidate rather than to a nonexistent ideal or even themselves. So perhaps Team Hillary should welcome the upstart Marylander into the contest. A slam dunk is more impressive when waged against a competitor, and even the Harlem Globetrotters needed the Washington Generals. (Source)

I like Martin O’Malley and I agree with David Corn that she needs a challenger, but I want Bernie Sanders to run against Hillary Clinton – and that’s not just because he’s my preferred candidate. Many people have pointed out (and rightly so) that she’s too friendly with Wall Street, and that is a big turn off to progressives who would likely prefer Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren, despite the fact she’s repeatedly stated that she has no plans to run in 2016.

For Hillary Clinton to run unopposed is dangerous for two reasons. First of all, it allows Republicans to focus solely on her and every one of their primary contenders would be running against her, rather than against each other, allowing the eventual GOP nominee to head into the elections almost completely unscathed. Second, competition is a good thing, not a bad thing. As David Corn said, “A slam dunk is more impressive when waged against a competitor.” If Bernie Sanders can push her to the left in the primaries, then get behind her in the general election, it will be a lot more convincing to progressive voters who may be apprehensive about voting for her now.

Martin O’Malley is a competitor, but he’s not the same as Bernie Sanders who is loved and admired by both Democrats and many independents like myself. Bernie Sanders is also a real independent and the longest serving independent member of Congress in United States history, not just someone who claims the title but runs on a party ticket anyhow. (I’m lookin’ at you, Senator Rand Paul.)

If Hillary Clinton ends up being the Democratic Party’s nominee, that’s fine and I’ll be sure to vote for her – but she still needs to earn it.


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