I supported Bernie Sanders because it seemed he — and most certainly his followers — had a spirit of optimism for change that just didn’t register from the other camp.
Over on that side, the primary mostly felt like an exercise in cold, cynical, practicality. Sure, there are many people that are jazzed about the first female presidential nominee and likely president — and to be completely honest I am exceedingly glad that those particular stupid glass ceilings will be busted — but I have always felt a stronger connection to the hope Sanders seemed to inspire.
His hope was infectious and it was seen every time he’d win a primary, especially the ones he wasn’t expected to — like Michigan. It was seen every time the other side tried to push and cajole Bernie into dropping out, and yet the donations would just keep coming. You can’t kill the hope that Sanders supporters have, it seems.
That said, it seems that the writing is truly on the wall, and stories like this are all the proof you need of it:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders said on Friday he would vote for Hillary Clinton to stop Republican Donald Trump from winning the White House, a lukewarm show of support that his campaign said was not a formal endorsement.
When the candidate himself starts talking like this, I tend to listen.
Bernie accomplished a hell of a lot more than he will likely ever get credit for. An espoused “socialist,” Sanders would have presumably only expected to win maybe his home state of Vermont, and one or two other totally granola, who gives-a-shit states. Yet, more than 20 states’ Democrats looked at him, looked at her, and then chose him. For all the ranting and raving about “3 million more votes” and “Southern firewalls” the truth is that Sanders revealed that the Democrats aren’t a monolith. He won solidly blue states, and she won some red states she probably won’t carry in the General.
Nearly half of the states chose him, not her. No matter how much Team Her will spin it from here to eternity, there is not a clear consensus on where the party should go forward. The Sanders’ wing of the party isn’t going anywhere.
Was he the perfect candidate? Not by a long shot.
He can come off as cranky and aloof on subjects he’s not as fired-up and passionate about. He wagged his finger a lot — which I guess makes him a horrible sexist (despite fighting for gender equality for decades, right?). He didn’t win, after all, so you can’t deny, even as a die hard Sanders supporter, that he had his blemishes.
Despite all that, Bernie moved a mountain while he was running for president.
Americans are a fickle, uninspired bunch. We have become accustomed to the way things are, and we are convinced that change is either too hard or too radical to ask for. But anyone who looked at a massive throng of people chanting “BERNIE! BERNIE! BERNIE!” that tells me he didn’t do the impossible — inspire Americans to act — is full of the most odious of shit. I don’t want to hear that he couldn’t energize people enough to actually vote. Because I didn’t see a fraction of the people at her rallies. Of course votes are more important to winning elections than rally crowds are, but anyone denying the power and impact of those “yuge” rallies is a partisan hack douche, if you’ll pardon the expression.
For a time, Bernie was out raising Hillary and what makes this so special is that it wasn’t Wall Street backing him, it was Main Street.
Sanders was the closest thing we’ve come to a genuine candidate in my lifetime. I’m not one to say that populism is great or terrible. I just know that in all my time on this planet, I have never seen so many Americans fired up about a political movement that wasn’t trying to tear down the government itself. All the comparisons to the Tea Party made sense on the level that Berniecrats are grassroots and trying to move their party away from the center, but in terms of the tone and tenor of his rallies and the people attending them, by all accounts they have been overwhelmingly warm and positive.
This doesn’t have to be a requiem for a Bern.
This can be instead a marking of the end of one chapter, and the start of another. If the activism, participation and inspiration that he brought out of the masses doesn’t fade, then Bernie’s movement is far from dead. If people actually do run for local school council boards, or city alderman positions, things will change from the bottom up.
In a bit of irony I love too much not to write about, Sanders may inspire trickle down motivation, and supply side activism.
Maybe for some, they truly feel voting for Bernie as a write-in is the best way to keep the movement going. Others will be voting for Jill Stein as I plan to do (no matter how much my good pal Manny might not like her). Most, though, will decide to honor him by voting for Hillary just like he will, which is completely valid and needs to be respected. You have to decide how best to carry the torch, and there’s no wrong way to do it.
Except voting for Trump.
That’s doing it wrong. Don’t fucking vote for Trump. He’s the literal antithesis of everything Sanders stands for. I’m not voting for her, and I am not saying you have to either. But voting for Trump and claiming to believe in the Sanders vision of America is bullshit. Pure, unmitigated bullshit.
I am now, and will always be proud to have supported Bernie Sanders for president. I was prepared for him to let me down — in some way — if he won, because that’s what all politicians do. But of all the people asking us for the most important, most powerful job in the history of the species, he was the most honorable. He was the one with the most integrity. And he was the one whose message most resonated with me.
I got to cast a vote in my primary for a true revolutionary, and he lost. But at least I got to cast that vote.
History doesn’t really do a good enough job of remembering “almost.” Hopefully when historians encapsulate this time in our country’s story, they remember to notate how we almost got the president we need instead of the president who’s better than the completely orange psychopath.