This is a topic that’s been kicking around my brain a lot, and I decided to finally give it a go and post something about it. I know it’s a super sensitive topic, but I’m hoping to explain something about the mindset of a group that I sometimes see mischaracterized (less so on CLT, but definitely on the mainpages).
There is a contingency of Bernie supporters who say that if Bernie does not take the nomination, they will either not vote, or will vote Green or other party. Bearddamnheroes is one of these people, as are a couple others of my friends. I see this viewpoint characterized as sexism or misogyny, or an immature mindset of “Well then I’ll just take my ball and go home!” And I don’t doubt that there are some people within this category to which those apply. But I don’t think it’s the majority.
Do I have evidence for believing this isn’t the majority? No, only anecdata, in that all the people I know that feel this way (likely a biased population, in my little educated liberal Northeast bubble) have a different reason: they wouldn’t be voting in this election if Bernie wasn’t running. Bearddamnheroes only came out to vote for Obama in the last election because I practically dragged him. In the end, he did it for me. He doesn’t believe it makes a difference. He thinks the entire political system is entirely corrupt and rigged, and pretty much all politicians (and certainly all the successful ones) got to where they are by being corrupt douchebags. Bernie is the only candidate I’ve ever seen him get legitimately excited about. Ever.
For my part, I will vote for whoever takes the nomination, though I still want that person to be Bernie. I believe that Bernie’s campaign did pull Hillary further to the left, and I’m very glad for that. I think Hillary listened to what the voters were getting excited and passionate about, and responded in kind to reflect those views. And that’s a good thing. Plus, on certain issues, Bernie and Hillary have agreed all along. So if she takes the nom (which I now believe is likely), I will feel cautiously optimistic in voting for her.
But I would be voting anyway. Bearddamnheroes wouldn’t. That’s been the impressive thing about Bernie’s support all along: he’s getting people excited about the political system that were previously disengaged. If he loses the nom, many of those people will go back to being disengaged. And yes, that’s a damn shame. But how do you fix that? I don’t think Hillary can. It’s not really a particular failing of hers; it’s that she looks the same in many ways as all the Democrats that preceded her. For many, that’s been a safe and comforting idea. For others, it’s a reason to go back to general apathy and distaste for the clusterfuck that is American politics.
As a final note, if Hillary takes the nom, you can bet I’ll be pushing people with this viewpoint to reconsider voting. The idea of that orange-faced, hot-tempered, egomaniacal bigot in power is truly terrifying. I hope that many of them will come around eventually, though I don’t think it will be possible to convince them of much until the Democratic nomination has occurred officially. But I know they won’t be convinced by people shouting at them that they’re being sexist or immature, when really I think it’s more a matter of cynicism.