We are getting to the point in the Democratic nomination process where the writing on the wall is becoming ever clearer for the supporters of Bernie Sanders. They are starting to realize that while Bernie can stay in the race and continue to win states with small numbers of pledged delegates like Idaho and Utah, significantly narrowing Hillary Clinton’s large lead of over 300 pledged delegates will be almost impossible. Then when you add Hillary’s 441 super delegate lead to the mix, well . . . . . they are starting to realize that Bernie chances of wining the nomination are now essentially zero.
Now many of Sanders’ hard core supporters are very passionate and they view his candidacy as perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity to elect a “true progressive” or even a socialist President of the United States. The realization that their savior Bernie is destined to lose is very difficult for them and many will go through a grieving process.
As you know the first step in the grieving is denial and I expect many Sanders supporters to remain in this step until it is mathematically impossible for him to win or until Hillary is awarded the nomination at the convention. Others, however, are more logical and are starting to realize how little chance Sanders now has of winning the nomination. They are consequently moving into the anger phase of the grieving process.
The most passionate Sanders supporters have long posted on line that if Bernie Sanders does not win the Democratic nomination they will vote for a “progressive” third party candidate like Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate – never mind that she is totally unqualified to be President of the United States. Now out of desperation more and more of Bernie’s most hard core supporters are saying that they will not vote for Clinton and are threatening to vote third party or not vote at all.
When asked why they would not vote for the Democratic nominee, regardless who ultimately wins the nomination if for no other reason than to keep the Republicans from taking over every branch of government, they have a rather standard reply. It goes something like this, “I have to vote in accordance with my progressive principles. Therefore I will vote for the most progressive candidate on the ballot and that’s not Hillary Clinton.” When others point out that allowing the Republicans to take charge would be tragic, they go on to say something like, “That’s not my problem, you should have thought of that before you voted against my candidate. Now I have to vote in accordance with my progressive principles”.
Well, I’m tired of the “progressive principles” meme and I have developed the following as my standard reply on line:
It is hypercritical to claim that you are voting third party or not voting at all because you are obeying your “progressive principles”. Why? It’s simple – you are not using your vote to stop the Republicans from taking control of the White House, both Houses of Congress, and the Supreme Court when you know that if that were to happen many people who can least afford it will suffer under Republican rule.
It’s disingenuous to claim you are acting in accordance with your “progressive principles” when your actions, or lack there of, puts others in harms way. The main difference between progressives and conservatives is that conservatives only seek to take care of themselves while progressives are concentrated on the greater good. You have a right to vote anyway you please, but if you are going vote third party or not vote at all, quit lying to me and yourself by saying you are you are acting in accordance with your progressive principles. True progressives don’t act that way.
Do I expect that argument to have any affect on most of the angry Sanders supporters? Not really, but perhaps it will give them a better understanding of their real motives if they dare to give it the matter a little thought.