By Sierra Fang-Horvath, Feature Editor
//The Democratic Convention in July proved to be quite a madhouse. Riled-up Hillary Clinton supporters chanted for hours while throngs of Bernie Sanders supporters sobbed and rioted. The atmosphere was electric.
Despite Sanders’ resounding endorsement of Clinton at the convention, many Sanders fans refuse to accept the former Secretary of State as their candidate. Some symbolically taped their mouths shut to represent the silencing of their voices, while others rallied outside with “Hillary for Prison” and “Bernie or Bust” signs.
No matter how disliked Clinton is by many voters, the disunity in the Democratic party must come to an end before the November election rolls around. The only goal of any self-proclaimed progressive voter, or any level-headed voter for that matter, should be to prevent in every way possible the election of Donald Trump, who Sanders correctly labeled as “the most dangerous candidate our country has ever seen.”
According to the Washington Post, around 10 percent of previous Bernie supporters are seriously considering voting for a third party candidate, staying home completely, or, most diabolically, casting their ballot for Trump.
Self-proclaimed “Bernie or Bust” voters need to lift the veil of naiveté and realize their candidate is truly out of the race, leaving them with the only feasible and logical option: to vote for Hillary Clinton as the next president of the United States.
The arguments against Clinton by Sanders supporters seem to boil down to a few key notes: first, Clinton is not progressive enough. Sanders was truly a revolutionary candidate with revolutionary ideas. His beliefs, including free four-year college, the repeal of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and raising the taxes on the wealthy, appealed far more to the left-wing than Clinton’s platform does, which seems moderate in comparison.
Other Democratic voters with recollections of the 90’s are still left with a sour taste in their mouths after Bill Clinton proved to be less than the staunch Democrat he campaigned as. Many believe the Clintons to be a family of true moderates rather than true liberals.
However, “Bernie or Bust” voters can credit the Vermont senator with his victory of forcing Clinton to the left. Sanders’ incredible popularity among young voters due to his extremely progressive ideas was a wake-up call to Clinton. Not only has she been prompted to release her own debt-free college proposal, but Clinton has also changed her stance on raising the minimum wage to support the “fight for $15,” as well as now opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal which she once described as the “gold standard.” Clinton has also stated that tackling the wealth gap will be a priority of her administration. Sanders has even stated his intent to help Clinton enforce her progressive agenda after she is elected.
Second on the list of arguments against Clinton: she “flips” on issues too often. As the longest serving independent in the United State Congress, Sanders has never conformed to the sentiments of large corporations or pandered to voters, both of which Clinton has been accused of. While Clinton has flipped on issues regularly in what some believe is an attempt to gain liberal voters, Sanders has stood by a core set of beliefs and gained popularity through ostensibly his genuine attempts to advance these.
Clinton’s list of “flip-flops” is quite extensive. While Sanders’ opposition to anti-gay marriage laws dates all the way back to the early 1980’s, Clinton was a proponent of the Defense of Marriage Act until just a few years ago. Clinton also voted in 2002 in support of the Iraq War, a stance which she has gone back on in recent years in light of the catastrophe that it was and continues to be. Clinton-criticizers also point to her supposed support for the Keystone Pipeline in 2010 when she said the Obama administration was “inclined” to approve the construction. In 2015, Clinton came out as definitively opposed to the pipeline.
However, not all of these “flips” can be dismissed as disingenuous attempts by Clinton to gain left-wing voters. Politicians often change opinions throughout their careers, just as voters do, as more information is presented and a more extensive national debate is nourished. For example, President Barack Obama, a beloved progressive, did not explicitly state his support for gay marriage until 2012, and was a believer in marriage as the union between a man and woman for many years prior. To believe that a politician should retain the same set of values as when they started their career is unreasonable. As times change, people’s stances on issues change.
For those who attribute Clinton’s embrace of progressive stances such as support of same-sex marriage, aberration for the Iraq War, and opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, as simple pandering to a certain group of voters, it is important to note that while Clinton has not always supported certain liberal measures, she currently takes a dedicated stance towards the advancement of such ideals. Other candidates, primarily Trump, have yet to support the ideals so dearly held by Sanders fans, unless you count a forced attempt to reach out to “L.G.B.T…Q.” voters in his June GOP Convention speech, or his claims that he was “an opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning.”
And then comes the inevitable question against voting for Clinton: if someone doesn’t like Clinton or Trump, why not vote for a third party candidate?
This argument should send off alarm bells for anyone with any recollection of the 2000 election. George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by just five electoral votes. The battle boiled down to the state of Florida, which Bush allegedly won by little more than 0.01 percent of the popular vote. This miniscule percentage encompassed just slightly more than 700 votes, an amount that would have been easily overcome by Green Party candidate Ralph Nader’s 97,000 votes from Florida alone. The majority of Nader voters, had they not been given the option of a third-party candidate, would have undoubtedly voted for Gore, the progressive of the two major party candidates, thus securing Gore’s victory of Florida and its subsequent 25 electoral votes. In simple terms: had Ralph Nader not been an alternative third-party candidate, Gore would have won the election.
This scenario is eerily paralleled in the upcoming election. While casting votes for Green party candidate Jill Stein and Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson will make negligible differences in blue states like California, any vote for a third-party candidate in swing states such as Florida, Pennsylvania, or Ohio could be irreversibly damaging. This is not an election where third-party votes can be dismissed as having no effect.
And then comes the worst, most illogical argument against Clinton: she is too much of a political politician, and what we need is an outsider. Therefore, we need Donald Trump if we can’t have Bernie Sanders.
However, this is a preposterous notion. Trump’s ideas and ill-defined policies stand as almost polar opposites to everything that Sanders stands for. While Bernie Sanders and Trump are similar in that they are outsiders, there is a vital distinction between the two. Sanders is an outsider because he is an Independent with a history of staunchly progressives ideals, whereas Trump is an outsider because he has no political experience whatsoever.
This article is in no way a resounding endorsement of Clinton. Much of her political history has been riddled with dishonesty and blatant lies. Some of her missteps are too much for voters to look past; be it her vote in favor of invading Iraq or her mishandled email scandal- she is in no way an ideal candidate for progressives.
However, Donald Trump is a far bleaker alternative. He is an actively dangerous and unreliable individual who will surely stir up quite a lot if elected. To the voters of America: there is simply far too much at stake to entrust Donald Trump with leading The United States.