I’m a Bernie supporter. Have been for a while. I’ve always thought Bernie was a long shot at winning the Democratic nomination, but I’m okay with that. I like long shots. I stood up for Bernie at the Iowa caucus, even though I figured he’d lose. I stood up for him as a matter of principle. I admit, I was surprised when he won.
Bernie took a powerful thumping in South Carolina recently. He’s probably going to take another thumping tonight. But I’m not giving up. If he can win two or three states tonight and do well on March 15th, then I still think there’s a fairly good chance Bernie can take the nomination.
I’m a Bernie supporter, but I have to confess that I’m starting to be sort of embarrassed by it. Not because of anything Bernie has done. I’m embarrassed by some of the other Bernie supporters — the ones who’ve gone from giddy enthusiasm over his early success to anxiety that he might not succeed in his campaign, and then continued down the road to conspiracy theories. I’m embarrassed by the ones who’ve effectively given up on Bernie and are trying to find ‘the real reasons’ for what they assume will be his defeat. The ones who’ve become bitter and hateful. The ones who claim there is no real difference between Hillary Clinton and Trump/Cruz/Rubio. The ones who’ve decided they won’t vote if Bernie isn’t the nominee — or will write in Bernie’s name.
Here’s a true thing: if you refuse to cast a ballot in the general election this November, you’ve still effectively voted. If you write in a name other than the nominee as a protest, you’ve effectively voted for the candidate of the other party. Here’s another true thing: if you don’t vote, you suck.
You can say your decision NOT to vote — or to write in Bernie’s name — is a matter of principle, and I’ll totally understand that. I’m completely in favor of standing up for your principles — when the only person to suffer for your principles is you. I’m less sanguine when other people have to suffer. I have refused to accept paying gigs when I felt it would require me to violate my principles — even when it meant literally living on rice and beans for a period of time. The only person that hurt was me. But I’m not sure I’d have done that if I’d had a family to support. Nobody else should have to suffer for my principles.
I supported Bernie in Iowa based on my principles and what I believe are Bernie’s principles. If he doesn’t win the nomination (and I’m not even close to accepting that), then I’ll do what I expect Bernie will want me to do — I’ll work hard to defeat the Republican candidate. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, then I’ll work for her. Any supporter of Bernie Sanders who’d refuse to do that — well, I’d wonder about their principles.