WE GET IT, Sanders people. We know. We’ve heard all about it, because Facebook. Your guy is principled! He rides coach! Billionaires can’t buy him! He’s going to start a revolution! He’s going to break up the banks (somehow)! He’s going to make college tuition free, and he’s going to make Mexico pay for it! (Just kidding. He’s going to make the top Wall Street earners pay for it, which is equally fanciful).
Look, Bernie Sanders is a good man, with good ideas—better ideas, maybe, than the Democratic front-runner’s. But he has been realistically if not mathematically eliminated from the race. Unless Hillary Clinton drops dead, she’s the nominee. She’s the one who will run against whichever Republican the Republicans decide is the lesser of two egregiously evil evils. Like it or not, that’s what’s going down.
You want to continue to feel the Bern, fine. But please, don’t direct the flamethrower of socialist idealism at Hillary. At this point, an explicit line of attack against her is an implicit show of support for Donald Trump or Ted Cruz. And that’s, um, playing with fire.
I implore you, cleanse your minds and your social media feeds of these bullshit GOP talking points:
Hillary is going to be indicted.
This is a more polite incarnation of the “Hillary For Prison” lawn signs, which somehow outnumber actual Hillary lawn signs in the bluest-of-blue Hudson Valley town that I call home, but is no more true. Title 18 of the United States Code says this: “Whoever knowingly and willfully…[discloses] or uses [certain categories of classified information]…shall be fined…or imprisoned.” Read: knowingly and willfully. Do you really think she fed top secret documents to the Chinese? That she’s a mole for Putin? C’mon, now. She is guilty of poor judgment with respect to her email server—maybe—but nothing else. Repeating this only feeds the hateful GOP “she’s a crook” assertion.
The contents of Hillary’s speeches to Goldman Sachs are being kept secret because [insert conspiracy theory here].
If Goldman Sachs offered me half a million bucks to give a fucking speech, I’d accept. And so would you. Why should the rules not apply to Hillary? She’s spent most of her adult life in public service; she’s not allowed to line her pockets during her time away by holding forth before a bunch of well-heeled investment bankers? Also, what she does as a private citizen is her own fucking business. So unless her speech consisted of redacted dispatches sent from her hacked email server concerning her complicity in Benghazi, her feeding of classified military secrets to Julian Assange, and her role in the death of Vince Foster, this argument is relevant only to the denizens of Fox & Friends. (Note to Millennials: Google “Vince Foster.”).
Hillary is a tool of Wall Street, while Bernie cannot be bought.
First of all, “Wall Street” is not some monolith that moves in perfect concert, as the business section of every major newspaper and The Big Short make abundantly clear. Bernie uses it as a synecdoche for corporate greed, but “Wall Street” is actually a segment of the economy, like “Hollywood” or “Detroit.” And unlike, say, Big Tobacco, Wall Street is not, contrary to popular belief, inherently evil. If Wall Street ceased to function, in fact, the world economy would collapse. (Note to Millennials: this would be bad.) It is true that Hillary has raked in donations from some of these Wall Street institutions, while Bernie has eschewed such corporate largesse. Sanders likes to bring this up at least once every thirty seconds. Some call this “principle.” I call it “ignorance of how the political system works in 2016.”
Hillary is basically a Republican.
If this is true of her, it is also true of Barack Obama. If we need to revert to the labels of yesteryear, then Hillary is a Republican in the mold of George H.W. Bush, Bernie is an FDR Democrat (and not a true socialist), Donald Trump is a Fascist pig, and Ted Cruz is Ming the Merciless (Note to Millennials: Ming is sort of like Voldemort, but without the magic, and with a face).
There’s no difference between Hillary and Donald Trump. That picture of her at his wedding proves that.
Since the surprise death of Justice Antonin Scalia—the single best thing that could have happened to the country, incidentally—the Supreme Court is now comprised of four liberals and four conservatives. With Obama’s consensus pick of Merrick Garland hung out to dry by an obstructionist GOP Senate hell-bent on dereliction of its Constitutionally-mandated duty, the next president will likely pick Scalia’s successor. We know Hillary will pick someone good. Trump is a complete wild card—he could pick Judge Judy, or Randy Jackson from American Idol, and I wouldn’t be surprised—and Cruz is leaning towards a gentleman to the right of Dracon and Hammurabi. This is the stuff that matters, folks, that directly impacts day-to-day life. (Note to Millennials: the same “same” argument was made in 2000 about Bush and Gore, and the former did everything in his ample power to prove that the differences between the political parties are marked indeed).
Hillary is playing the “woman card.”
This statement originated with the noted feminist icon Donald Trump, but the fact of Hillary’s gender has caused some tension among Democrats, too (Note to Millennials: Google “Gloria Steinem”). You are under no obligation to support Hillary because she would be the first female president, only to acknowledge that such an historic outcome would not be a bad thing—and maybe to suggest to your Trump-loving uncle that perhaps his passionate hatred of HRC stems from nothing more than deep-seated and thinly-veiled misogyny.
Hillary is the epitome of a broken political system, while Bernie represents a jolt to that system. He is a revolutionary!
The political system is broken? No shit. One of our two political parties has essentially abdicated its responsibility to govern for the last eight years, and sooner or later, those chickens will come home to roost. But changing the entire political system is a major undertaking that would require the participation of both political parties and the vast majority of the American people (and American corporations—which is one of the reasons said system is broken). Hillary is the only candidate on either side of the aisle who has demonstrated the ability to operate effectively within such a system, and is thus the candidate best positioned to repair it. Bernie, remember, is too principled to be an actual Democrat; he’s supposed to somehow rally rank-and-file Democrats to his cause—and reach across the aisle besides? He’s not wrong about the problem, just about his own ability to fix it.
Bernie can still win!
Not unless Hillary’s plane goes down. Even before this week’s primary losses, he was all but eliminated mathematically. Good for him for hanging around until California, but he’s peddling magic beans at this point. Sanders supporters seem unable to grasp basic math, maybe because, if you look at a color-coded map, where Wyoming is really big and New Jersey is really small, Bernie seems like he should be winning. The day after the New York primary, one of my Facebook friends wrote, “If it weren’t for the cities, which are controlled by the machine, Sanders would have won New York.” Forget, for a moment, the hidden racism in his assertion. This completely ignores the inconvenient truth that the cities are where most of the people live. He may just as well have said, “If we don’t count the people who voted for Hillary, Bernie would have won!” The state-by-state primaries and caucuses award delegates to the candidates who, you know, get the most votes. And Hillary has gotten the most votes. Math, yo:
The system is rigged in Hillary’s favor because of this un-democratic superdelegates business.
The Democratic Party is a political party. Its process of determining which candidate to run in the general election is not itself a general election, although it sometimes feels like one. Also, and again: Bernie (I-Vermont) is not a Democrat. Why should the superdelegates, who despite the flashy name are generally mid-level state pols, opt for a non-Democrat at the Democratic National Convention, after the Democratic primary? Plus: the time to change the system is after the election season, not during it. This is sore-loserism of the Trumpest kind.
Hillary is a liar.
All politicians are liars. It’s part of the job. Politics is not a fucking Jim Carrey movie. You want the truth, go see the Dalai Lama. Also: Bernie lies, too, all the time, when he makes promises about free college tuition.
Better to write in Sanders than vote for Hillary.
Dude, I was at the Ralph Nader rally at Madison Square Garden in 2000. I’ve seen this movie before. And if that first movie was Purple Rain, this latest one is Under the Cherry Moon. (Note to Millennials: Bush Jr. won that perilous election because of a few hundred Nader voters in Florida. And because the Ohio election was rigged. And because the Supreme Court wanted him to win. Which is why you don’t want another Scalia on the Supreme Court. Which is why you have to vote for Hillary, even if you don’t personally dig her).
Again: this is not to disparage Bernie, or the ardor of those who “feel the Bern.” But the Sanders dream is over. It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee that Hillary has been brewing since the 3 AM wake-up call. It’s time to make your passion work for the greater good.
So get off your high horse, plug your nose, and pull the lever for the best-qualified presidential candidate of all time, who would also be the first female Chief Executive. I beg you: don’t let your disdain for Secretary Clinton, ahem, Trump your better judgment.