Politics

#BernieOrBust is a Bust

In some ways it’s been hard to articulate why the Bernie or Bust (or the NeverHillary) movement is dangerous, uninformed and petty. Mainly because it’s also well intentioned, optimistic and coming from a place of wanting real change to seep into the well of our political system.

I get the latter half, I do.

It’s a wonderful thing to be so passionate about the movement that Bernie Sanders has put in motion that you aren’t willing to part with it’s inertia come hell or high water. Passion and conviction are usually the ingredients that make real social change. See Dr. King or Ghandi for examples.

The Sanders campaign has been amazing at bringing once fringe issues into the national spotlight while simultaneously highlighting the core systemic problems within American politics.

While we do know this to be true the glitch in the matrix of the BerenieOrBust/NeverHillary movement arrises in that viewing the problem through that lens and that lens only is not viewing the entire problem. It’s like turning on the zoom lens to zoom out on the subject of focus but then stopping mid way. The lens stops half way through and insists that there’s nothing more to see – however, there is more to see. Much more. One has to zoom out as much as possible to see the complete picture and to know that you are dealing with many variables that go far beyond the stump speeches that Bernie has pounded home.

Let’s agree that the first step is analyzing the process – the zoom out. That’s Step One. Pause that for a moment and move on to Step Two which is the examination of the Hilary Clinton campaign and the candidate herself. There are a handful of really problematic issues with HRC.

For me the big four are:

  • Fracking – no politician of her stature has done more to advance fracking in the US and around the world than HRC. As Secretary of State she sold fracking around the world in an official capacity. Check out the eye rubbing Mother Jones piece.
  • Gay rights – in my world view, not supporting same sex marriage until 2013 when the polls said it was safe to do so is cowardly, spineless and anti-gay. How my homo-sexual brothers and sisters look passed this is beyond me.
  • War in Iraq – we all know this one. Add to that her record on military expansion, etc.
  • Goldman-Sachs speaking fees – you can not simultaneously want to reform Wall St. while taking in $650k per speech from Goldman Sachs and then to make matters worse, refuse to release the content of said speeches. This makes no sense.

Those four issues are fact based, are not conspiracy theory led and have yet to be explained by the HRC campaign or otherwise.

However, I think it’s wise to calmly and rationally admit that the problems within Hilary Clinton are perhaps no more than any major candidate who’s been in the game this long. Does that make it right? No. But is it the truth? Yes.

So, we know there are problems with HRC. Big ones. With that said, I don’t think the summation of those problems equates to her being an evil, mad dictator, xenophobe or a bigot. She’s a career establishment politician who has succumb to the pressures of her time and is a product of her environment. There are many pitfalls with a life led in that theater. The other stuff belongs to the other guy she’s now running against. And it’s our job to distinguish between the two. That’s Step Three.

It’s a very different animal to be anti HRC policy than it is to put her in the same breath as being like Trump. They are not the same thing. The maniacal tone that some people in the Sanders campaign have illustrated has created this circus of viscous, uninformed and foam-at-the-mouth worthy attacks on HRC that have landed like a San Andreas fault division within the Democratic party. All of a sudden, the HRC campaign has become this demagaury of evil and corporate conspiracy that is made up of the most secret and profane of the inner workings of the Bilderberg led faction within the US Government. As if, the real Wizards of America are pulling the levers of decision that make up the reality for the rest of us. Even if that is true that is not why she won the election. Even if a part of that is true (which it probably is) I still take the position that there simply aren’t enough smart people in the US Government working together to create an ongoing well orchestrated conspiracy.

I think there are little faction groups within the US Government that at times do work together in secret and get away with things that would land them in prison if the public did actually find out the truth. But I don’t think there is a sub-government with a secret handshake that’s pre-defining the outcome of elections that imply the actual voting process is a waste of time. Again, there are simply too many dumb people involved to be able to pull that off.

How about we just take a deep breath, wake up and see that Bernie Sanders just lost. He didn’t have the minority vote for one. Example: HRC has won on average 66% of the Hispanic vote compared to Sanders 34 % (SOURCE). Add to that, Sanders main edge was the awakening of the beast of the 18-25 year olds who usually don’t vote. That’s where his strength in numbers were. He won 22 states but fell short of the popular vote by about 3.7 million votes (SOURCE)

That said, yes there were many alarming problems within the election process we must take a real look at – the outstanding California votes, what happened in Arizona and NY too.

The point of this piece is not to conduct an election recap but rather it’s to illustrate that one; HRC and Trump are not the same thing and two; the NeverHillary/BernieOrBust movement is childish and not a complete picture on how to achieve progress.

This piece on Quartz by Melissa Hillman isn’t even that new (March 26th) but I just came across and it. It’s worth reading because it illustrates many of the problems that are arising from the Never Hilary/Bernie Or Bust movements. Fast forward 2 months later and we see the problems amplified even more so. The basic take away from the piece is that the BernieOrBust/NeverHillary movement is born out of privilege and is fraught with problems mainly because it’s supporters can’t look out of their own very small eco-system.

How privileged do you need to be to imagine that it’s a good idea to risk the actual lives of vulnerable Americans because you “hate” Clinton?

Additionally, this other strange sound bite has been emerging from the NeverHillary faction. The average Facebook post goes something like this “I’m #stillwithsanders and won’t support the election of a criminal under indictment from the FBI. I choose to vote my conscious and won’t let the system put a gun to my head. I choose Bernie or nothing.”

While not an exact quote it’s a near facsimile of the drones of posts I’ve seen on the topic. The only reason I didn’t cut and paste someones post is because I didn’t want them coming after me with their tantrums. Ok, so what’s the problem with the above sentiment? At first glance, seems to be ok right? But then, let it settle and really think about it for a moment. A nagging itch starts to happen.

Ask yourself this – when in your lifetime have you ever voted with your conscious on a presidential level election? When has your major candidate ever been so squeaky clean that you’ve felt so amazing about pulling that lever? The answer? Never. Never in your lifetime (maybe Carter if you’re old enough) have you voted for a major candidate who isn’t ripe with a slew of problems. When did all of a sudden it become a valid point to say that you’re voting on your conscious this election? All that tells me is that you’ve never voted.

For me, the closest I came was Obama in 2008. In spite of his problems he inspired me with his intellect, oratory fervor and calming inspiration of hope. I got swept in it for sure. Did he let me down? Yes and no, but that’s another post.

The point is we must look at change happening on the federal level as going on with fits and starts. It comes in bits and pieces. Yes, I would have loved to see Bernie go all the way and I did what I could. I gave money and most importantly I gave my vote. But now that it’s over we must calm down and awaken to the idea that the main goal is to defeat Donald Trump. Additionally, I’m not enough of a cynic to think that the Sanders campaign didn’t effect the HRC campaign. The DNC has been moved inextricably to the left and many progressive issues are now on the table thanks to Sanders. Perhaps I’m naive in thinking that HRC really cares about this and that she’ll bring a couple of them to the table with sincerity, but I do. I think our voices have been heard and that alone is a victory. I never thought Sanders would win to be honest, I knew he was mainly a smart-white person candidate and that has it’s limitations.

To whine on about BernieOrBust is putting women, minorities, muslims and gays in great danger. It’s putting that pot you’re smoking back into the bong of criminality. It’s creating a world stage that will be ten times more dangerous and volatile than it currently is. It’s creating an atmosphere of tension and division many times greater than already exists. And it’s assuring that SCOTUS be in a position of we-are-compltely-fucked for a generation to come. That’s why I now support Hilary Clinton for president.

Wake up, be rational, sane and be thankful for the step forward we’ve made. Capitalize on the gains we did make and don’t blow it by letting Trump get elected.

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    Forbidden Fruit (@BannedintheUSSA)
    June 15, 2016 at 12:11 am

    I’m not “Bernie or Bust,” but I refuse to get sucked into the Trump vs. Clinton sideshow. It’s a ridiculous choreographed drama intended to distract the country, turning us against each other instead of our real enemies.

    My vote will be cast out of conviction, not fear. Voting for the lesser evil is how we ended up with candidates like these in the first place. I didn’t buy Obama’s “Hope” & “Change” crap in the last two elections and I don’t buy what the DNC is pushing now. They’ve become just as bad as the Republicans despite their stated positions on social issues like gay marriage and women’s rights. Those are merely STATED positions. It’s all talk. That became clear when Obummer renewed the Patriot Act, bailed out Wallstreet, expanded domestic surveillance & raided more medical marijuana shops in his first term than Bush did in both terms.

    Jill Stein 2016!

  • Reply
    Steven Lee
    June 15, 2016 at 2:50 am

    You’re right, Zack…gotta get out and vote now…put the tissue aside…time to trump Trump

  • Reply
    Sean Frenette
    June 16, 2016 at 1:03 am

    Good job, Zach! And here’s a few critiques and observations in hopes of suggesting some amendments/extrapolations to both strengthen and expand your blog:

    I think this blog, as currently written, comes a number of weeks too early; many BernieOrBusters fervently believe that a lot can happen in between now and July 25th and even Bernie himself shows no signs of removing the pressure that his continued candidacy puts on both Clinton and the Democratic party. Perhaps you could somehow note that there exists a group of BernieOrBusters who “secretly” plan on voting for Clinton if she’s ultimately the nominee, but are using their current BernieOrBust position as a way to help give Bernie even more leverage heading into the Philly convention. I’m curious if you disagree with that tactic, and if so, why?

    As such, it seems that shaming or splaining to many of these BernieOrBusters at this point only seems to further infuriate them and drive the wedge in deeper (also see the reactions to some of Robert Reich’s recent pieces, in that regard). I applaud you for trying, but I’m not sure you’ve done enough to mitigate that reaction, and that doesn’t seem to help what I can only assume is your goal of trying to convince a good number of BernieOrBusters to shed the more irrational anti-Hillary motifs, not to let ‘the perfect’ be the enemy of ‘the good’, and to cast a defensive vote for Clinton in November.

    If I’m correct in that assessment, I wish your blog’s title and intro more explicitly described that very specific goal. As it is, some of your blog, including the title, seems to me to treat all BernieOrBusters as a monolith. That could be because you have a particular audience you are going after, but if written more broadly I don’t see why your article couldn’t be spread more widely and be even more impactful than you’d originally intended.

    I’ve studied the BernieOrBust movement in some detail and have determined that the motivations and opinions behind the wearings of that moniker are extremely varied. People have a cornucopia of perspectives, many based on extremely personal experiences (and not all of them from the positions of privilege that you describe.) Your blog covers only a handful of those perspectives and may serve to alienate or simply miss others. For example:

    Try telling the poor, African American, 36 year old registered Democrat that I spoke to in Florida who is now likely voting for Trump “in spite of the racism” because he feels that Clinton’s Democratic party establishment has left the lower-middle class behind, that he’s coming from a place of privilege. I imagine there are plenty like him in other battleground states, who are similarly minded BernieOrBusters. How might they be reached with your arguments?

    Try telling these serious Greens who adamantly believe that the climate crisis is at such a critical juncture that they must work at all costs to keep Clinton and Trump from the presidency, that they ought to concede to what they honestly believe is the complete destruction of humanity. Can you come up with an argument directly for these folks? Or can you give a Jill Stein voter in CA a pass on “voting their conscience” in this election?

    Those examples, in addition to my first example of the tactical BernieOrBuster using their position as progressive leverage, are just a few examples to consider. There are many more once you wade into the weeds of BernieOrBust a bit more.

    I love that you are going after the well-intentioned but misinformed BernieOrBusters by trying to wake them up from their anti-Hillary, Republican-poison-fed stupors—lord knows that’s needed!—but I think you could to go even deeper than that to explore even more BernieOrBust perspectives and then include them in your otherwise cogent arguments.

    One final suggestion: somewhere in your conclusion, give BernieOrBusters concrete actions that they can do regardless of the various outcomes of the convention and general election. We need all the help we can get in channeling their energy positively. For example, you could encourage them to focus on all the super important the down ballot races. Donate and phone bank for down ballot Sanders-like candidates. Get involved in the Wolf PAC campaign to create constitutional convention to get $ of out politics. Etc.

    Of course, all of my suggestions could be beyond the scope of your intentions, but I just wanted to chime in with some thoughts that could be worked into your post or perhaps into a future post.

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