This post is directed to young, progressive and intelligent people who fall into the "Bernie or Bust" and similar categories. You are young people who ardently supported Bernie Sanders and his ideas, his political revolution, and who now say that you will not vote for Hilary Clinton. Some will not vote at all for a candidate for president, some will vote for Jill Stein; I hope none will vote for Donald Trump.
What I want to say to you young, progressive people is: "Why won't you vote for Clinton?" Whose narrative have you listened to, whose talking points have influenced your opinion, and, perhaps most importantly, have you truly considered what will happen if Clinton loses the election to Donald Trump?
I was, and remain, an ardent supporter of Bernie Sanders - the ideas, no longer the candidate. I agree that we need a political revolution in America - I have written about this for years. But now the political reality in America is that we have an important choice for the next POTUS: Clinton or Trump.
Let me also say something I say to young people like you. This is a democracy. Vote for the candidate of your choice - that is what democracy is all about. I often argue with those who tell me that Al Gore lost the election to George W. Bush because some Democrats voted for Ralph Nader. My point is that the people who voted for George W. Bush are to blame for his ascendency.
However, even with the above paragraph in mind, it is very important to carefully weigh the importance of your vote this time, because the stakes are so very high. We are faced with a Trumpocalypse, an historic shift that has already released the demons of hate and racism and nationalism, and allowed them to be public and prominent in the media. The Trumpocalypse has sanctioned hate, and whether or not Trump becomes President, it is too late to put it back in the bottle. (see footnote 1)
So I ask you to ask yourselves: "Where have I gotten the information about Hillary Clinton that makes me not willing to vote for her?" This is an important question. Anti-Hillary writings and talking points have been the bread and butter of Republican strategists for many years. They hate The Clintons - always have, always will. They have spent years honing the anti-Hillary message, until it is inculcated in "common knowledge." Is Hillary perfect? No, and I have often said that. Is Hillary an establishment politician? Yes, no doubt about it.
But here is the take away: our political system is establishment politics, and no matter how hard we try to wish it to be different, no matter how many primary votes a Social Democrat got, our system is still establishment politics. And there is no doubt in my mind that Hillary Clinton is a very good establishment politician. There is also no doubt in my mind that the Bernie Sanders candidacy, and continuing political revolution, has pushed Hillary, as well as the Democratic Party establishment, to the left. No, a Clinton presidency will not result in Democratic Socialism in America; however, with the continuing political action by young, progressive people like you, a Clinton presidency can be a step in that direction. A Trump presidency will be many steps in the opposite direction, and will wreak unimaginable havoc on our system for years to come.
Here is an assignment; find and read a recent article on Vox by Ezra Klein titled "Understanding Hillary." I respect the journalistic integrity of Ezra Klein, and this article is worth reading because it helps us understand Hillary the person for who she is and how she works, based on interviews with many people who have worked with her.
Hillary Clinton was not my first choice for POTUS for a variety of reasons, and I have some concerns about a Clinton administration (just as I have been very concerned about some aspects of the Obama presidency). But know this well, I now support Hillary Clinton and will vote for her. For me, the choice is clear.
I ask you, the young progressives who state that you will not, cannot vote for Hillary Clinton, to apply your considerable intellect to an honest appraisal of how and why you got to this decision, and what the political situation today in America demands you do. Then vote your choice. And then stay politically active, carry on the political revolution that we so desperately need. Your job will be easier in the future if Trump is not elected.
Footnote 1. In some ways, I think it is a good thing to shine the public light on hate, because once it is so much out in the open, we have to deal with it. Many of us are afraid of it, as we should be, but when it was mostly hidden from every day view, we could more easily ignore it. Now that Trump has brought it out from under the rock, we have an opportunity to try to squash it.