I am a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders. I’ve been following him for years, and always wished he would run for President. After he announced his candidacy, I was all in. I knew it would be an uphill battle for him to take on Hillary Clinton. After all, she’s been campaigning most of her life, while he has been relatively quiet, pushing for progressive bills and amendments and speaking out against disastrous ones in Congress.
The mainstream media treated him like he was a joke. Fellow progressive minded people called his ideas “pie in the sky”. Many democrats treated him like a spoiler — as though he was only here to ruin it for Hillary. But he was never as anti-Hillary as some Hillary supporters made it seem. He was also never as anti-Hillary as some of his own supporters made it seem. He maintained an attack-free campaign, and only took her to task on policy, positions, and her actions relating to her policies and positions. He brought an energy to the discussion that was missing.
I realized a while ago that Bernie would not win. Unfortunately many of Hillary’s supporters did not make that an easy pill to swallow. It was up to team Hillary to earn the respect of Bernie’s supporters, but instead his supporters were largely pushed into a corner.
But here we are. Bernie Sanders strongly endorsed Hillary Clinton for President today.
There has been a feeling amongst some Bernie supporters that endorsing Hillary is selling out — that he’s sacrificing his political movement to appease the powerful Democratic party. I don’t quite see it like that. Is Hillary perfect? Nope. Am I disappointed Bernie will not be President? Absolutely. But I think it’s time for us to adjust how we think of this political movement.
Many Bernie supporters have been hoping he would take up Jill Stein’s offer and lead the Green Party. Bernie knows that the state of our current political system, in addition to our “first to the post” voting model, will not allow a third party to win. The best thing he can do is to embrace the side of the two party system that supports the values he and his supporters stand for. The other alternative is not only the opposite of what we stand for, but also extremely dangerous. Because of how politics works right now, I’m not sure what else he could have done.
This does not mean anything is over. Now is not the time to give up, fellow Berners.
Bernie has said since the beginning that it wasn’t just about being President. He made a huge impact on not on the Democratic party, but also the country. He got tons of people aware of what’s going on in politics. And he’ll continue to do that. The movement he has built is already helping to get progressive candidates into office, as well as made a tremendous impact on the Democratic party’s platform. He’s isn’t packing up his bags and going home, either. He’s vowed to travel the country to stump for true progressive candidates running for office this year and keep the momentum of the political revolution flowing.
I think Hillary has shown that she needs to listen and adjust to earn our votes. The changes to the party platform that team Bernie has fought for are a key part of that. I hope Hillary will continue to listen to, and not just welcome, Bernie’s supporters — she must if she wants to win in November.
As for us Bernie supporters, we have two jobs. First, we need to make sure that Donald Trump doesn’t become our next President, even if that means voting for a less ideal candidate. Our second job is to make sure that the Democratic party and Congress follow through on the ideas we’ve come together for, even if that means putting in a Brand New Congress.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but our movement has a lot of power, and it will only continue to as long as you’re on board.