Something to think about from the L.A. Times:
Gio Vanecchia is so enamored of Bernie Sanders that he made a five-hour drive with his wife and infant son from South Jersey on Saturday morning to catch a glimpse of the progressive firebrand.
But what if Sanders loses the Democratic nomination? Asked whether he will be there to vote for the Democrat in November should Sanders falter, the 34-year-old union mechanic reacts as if the question is insane. There is not a chance, he insists, that he would ever support Hillary Clinton.
“She’s establishment,” Vanecchia said. “Most of the guys I work with think she’s a criminal.”
I understand the impulse Sanders have to not support Clinton. She gets lots of corporate money, has changed some positions when it seemed politically viable, and isn’t quite on the same page as Sanders regarding his more progressive platform. But I don’t understand why anyone who leans Democrat would flatly refuse to show up to the polls if Sanders doesn’t get the nod. Handing over the Presidency to whomever the Republicans put up is no way to teach the Democrats a lesson in turning leftward. Already Clinton, whether you think she’s sincere or not, has moved considerably to the left to acquiesce fears she’s straight establishment. And if you lean Democrat, how could you really think that Clinton would be more disastrous compared to any of the Republican candidates? So why would this guy Vanecchia do just that?
Vanecchia’s second choice for president is Donald Trump.
Oh, um, okay.
I have a pretty hard time wrapping my head around the idea that there are Sanders supporters who see nothing odd about springing for Trump, so I’m going to wager there aren’t too many of them. (Does anyone really think that a lot of Trumpeters put Sanders as their number two?)
The Times claims that a sizable chunk of Sanders supporters are ‘independents’ who distrust Clinton to the extreme. But there are two things to consider here: One is that if these independents are similar to Vanecchia in that they’re likely to also support Trump, it’s questionable how likely they are to support someone like Rubio if they hate how establishment Clinton is (not to mention questionable just how many independent voters actually exist, whatever the term means). The other is that the vote was split in the Iowa caucus about 50/50, and only registered Democrats can participate, so it seems, at least at a distance, that it’d be highly unlikely a large portion of Sanders supporters couldn’t find it in themselves to show up in November for Clinton if things don’t go their way.
It comes down to this: if you’re a Sanders supporter and have decided that you won’t vote for Clinton if she gets the nomination, you’re helping to elect a Republican, all of whom are far to the right of Sanders and Clinton. That Republican President will likely get to stack the Supreme Court with conservative justices, which will have ramifications far beyond the immediate election, or the next one, or the one after that. These are people more likely than Clinton to start yet another war in the Middle East (or two, or three). You’re assuming that voters will wake up after that Republican President does a whole lot of damage, but Americans seem to have amnesia about what happened in his eight years. Maybe voting strategically sounds like a compromise of your values, but wouldn’t putting the country in the hands of Rubio or Trump or Cruz be an even bigger compromise?
And by the way, I’d be more concerned that Clinton supporters won’t show up for Sanders, even though I think that’s pretty unlikely, too.