When it Comes to Candidates…

I’ve taken a bit of flak lately on Twitter for continuing to support Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) as the Democratic nominee for President. I do so 1) because his politics are most closely aligned with mine — I also am a proud democratic socialist; and 2) because his continued presence in the race pushes Sec. Hillary Clinton further to the left and makes her a stronger candidate by challenging her, much as she did to then-Sen. Barack Obama in 2008. Hillary made Barack a better candidate, and I think Bernie is performing a similar role (albeit in a different manner) for Hillary.

When the 2016 campaign began in earnest sometime last summer, I chose to support Bernie as a man of principle and whose principles I largely share. Politics is a messy game, and I knew that I didn’t and wouldn’t support every single policy of Bernie’s or vote he had previously cast in the Senate. Anyone wise enough to look past campaign talking points knows that the alchemy of the Senate leads to votes that at first glance may seem inexplicable — that’s why governors usually make better candidates than Congresspeople. I also knew that in supporting Bernie, both personally and financially (Full disclosure: I have donated to his campaign), I was likely supporting a losing cause. As a fairly politically savvy and well-informed citizen (less flatteringly, one could also say a “political junkie”), I’ve long been aware that Hillary Clinton would likely be the Democratic nominee in 2016. Though Bernie still has a slim though waning chance, nothing in the race so far has changed that belief.

So I want to be clear to my friends and my Twitter followers: up until the moment that Sec. Clinton clinches the nomination, I am a loyal Bernie supporter because he stands for what I believe in: universal health care, universal access to higher education, quality primary and secondary education, full women’s and LGBT equality, paid sick, maternal and paternal parental leave, environmental protection, military drawdown, transition from a culture of incarceration and ostracization to rehabilitation, etc. However. The moment Madam Secretary and Senator Clinton clinches the nomination, I become fully a Hillary supporter and will do whatever it takes to ensure her victory in November. Yes, I am a democratic socialist, and yes I am an idealist; yet, I’m also a pragmatist, and no, the two are not contradictory. Sec. Clinton stands for many of the things that Sen. Sanders stands for, and I applaud each step to the left he encourages her to take. I can think of nothing worse for America than a Trump presidency.

So to conclude: I fully support Bernie. I feel the Bern. Yet when the time comes, I will fully support Hillary in any way I can. I’m an idealist, not an idiot.

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~ by Benji on 7 March 2016.

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