Like a lot of progressives, I'm a big fan of Bernie Sanders. Sanders's brand of class warfare in which he continually hammers the rich in this country for holding far too much wealth and power is just what we need to hear in a nation where the top 1% of the population own somewhere between 38-40% of the total wealth. More importantly, Sanders has proved that an American presidential candidate can proudly proclaim to be a European style Socialist and still remain popular. He has connected with and excited younger voters, and pushed Hillary Clinton to the left on issues like the minimum wage.
But, after a stinging defeat in the New York City primaries, it's time for him to drop out of the race. Although he still has a slim chance of picking up some of the so called super delegates, who are not committed to one candidate, his chances of winning are essentially zero. For the good of the Democratic party and the country he needs to step down. He's done much better than most pundits thought he could, and he's had a hell of a run, but enough.
Am I sad that he can't win? Sure, but I'm more upset at the turn his campaign has taken lately; he first ran as an upbeat candidate not making overtly negative attacks, but as the primary election has slogged on, his statements in debates and interviews have gotten mean. Recently he claimed that Clinton, who has served in both the Senate and as Secretary of State, isn't qualified to be president. That's absurd. He has also ranted about the fact that independent voters in New York aren't allowed to vote in the primaries; sorry Sanders, the rules for picking Presidential candidates in this country may be complicated (and slightly crazy), but you knew that going in. You don't get to change those rules when they don't go your way.
While I call myself a Socialist and therefore identify more with Sanders than Clinton, I still think that she will make a good, solid President. And given that she's more than likely to be running against either the extremist conservative Ted Cruz or the extremist egotist Donald Trump, my enthusiasm for her grows more each day.
For those disappointed Sanders supporters who may sit out the election, let me tell you a story: back in the 1990's, many progressives like myself became disappointed by Bill Clinton's moves to the right and voted for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader in the 1996 election. Nader's relative success in that election led him to run again in the super close 2000 election between Democrat Al Gore and Republican George W Bush, and it's more than likely that Nader's presence on the ballot helped Bush score a razor thin victory. And Bush then spent the next eight years completely disproving the notion that Republicans and Democrats are all the same.
Here's one dispiriting example of that: way back in 1981, shortly after Sandra Day O'Connor became the first female Supreme Court Justice, the court heard a case involving a law that said that a married woman who wanted to get an abortion had to have her husband's permission. The court overturned the law, and O'Connor wrote a blistering majority position on it, calling it sexist and patriarchal. Decades later, in 2005, O'Connor decided to step down from the court to care for her ailing husband. She was replaced by Samuel Alito, who had, as a lawyer, defended that law she hated so much at the Supreme Court back in 1981! So, would Al Gore have been a great President? Probably not. But would a heavy right winger like Alito be on the court right now if he had won? No way.
|O'Connor meeting with President Bush, not seeing the knife he's about to sink in her back|
This is just how much lingering influence a President can have, and why I will unequivocally support Clinton in the upcoming election. To quote comedian and political commentator Patton Oswalt when he was asked about people who won't support Clinton after Bernie is gone : "Well, then you're a fucking child."