Today, we have a guest post from Lindsey over at Not Sorry Feminism!
As Hillary Clinton wins more primaries and draws closer to the Democratic nomination, those of us on the left may be faced with a rather frightening situation. As a Bernie Sanders supporter myself, I’ve seen many of my fellow Berners vow not to vote for Hillary Clinton no matter what. There’s a “Bernie or Bust” movement hell bent on getting the man to the Oval Office whether he gets the nomination or not, whether through a write-in campaign or convincing him to run as an Independent.
This should strike fear into the heart of any liberal old enough to have been alive and politically conscious during the George W. Bush v. Al Gore fiasco. The difference is that Donald Trump makes George W. Bush look like a cuddly teddy bear or even a moderate.
Trump is going to get the nomination. All other options have dropped out, and it’s far too late for anyone else to jump into the race and have a chance of challenging him. If Trump and Clinton get the nominations, the enthusiasm of Bernie fans could split the Democratic vote even if he refuses to run as an Independent. It could hand the presidency right to Trump. A Trump presidency is a real possibility.
Even Trump knows this. Why else would he publicly encourage Bernie to run as an Independent?
Bernie Sanders has been treated terribly by the Democrats—both with delegates & otherwise. He should show them, and run as an Independent!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 26, 2016
We won’t know for sure who will get the nominations until the announcements are made. But if it does come down to Clinton v. Trump, what then?
This is a real moral dilemma. It’s not just about whether you’d vote for someone you don’t like to avoid being led by the country’s orangest racist. The question is, would you try to convince someone else to vote against their principles?
Would you tell a black person to vote for a woman who called black children super predators? Would you tell an undocumented immigrant that they have to sit back and watch as the presidency gets handed to a man who hates people like them and could break up their family? Could you tell a black mother to vote for a woman who helped spearhead the crime bill that landed her baby in prison for life on a nonviolent drug charge? Could you tell a Muslim person that they shouldn’t try and convince others to vote for her to stop the election of a President who would try to keep them and their families out of the U.S. altogether?
Do you encourage people to vote for Hillary Clinton? Or do you do nothing and risk a Trump presidency? This is the dilemma that many liberals will have to face.
As always, it’s important to take privilege into account. As a white women, I would never tell a black woman how to vote. Considering the super predators comment, I couldn’t tell any black person to vote for her. At the same time, surviving a Trump presidency would be a lot easier for me than for an undocumented immigrant or anyone relying on Obamacare or any kind of government assistance such as the chronically ill or disabled persons.
The effects of a Trump presidency could be catastrophic, but telling anyone to vote against their principles rubs me the wrong way. Then again, privileged white guys telling people to not vote or that they’re bad for voting for Hillary just to avoid a larger evil — or even to let the worst happen so the entire system can collapse and be rebuilt — kind of disgust me in their disregard of those who would literally die without that system. You want to tell cancer patients relying on Obamacare not to fight to stop a Trump presidency? Really?
There is no easy answer in this election. The only thing I feel comfortable suggesting is that my fellow white people be very careful. Speak less and listen more. Honestly, at this point I feel as though speaking out will do little but cause harm. People are going to vote how they’re going to vote. If Bernie is not the nominee, the vote will be split. No amount of impassioned words can convince either side to vote against their principles in numbers great enough to eliminate the threat of a Trump presidency.
There may be hope, however. There is a chance that a Republican could run as an Independent and split their party’s vote as well. Some are quite convinced that this will happen, as the hatred of Donald Trump among more moderate and less bigoted Republicans is strong. If this happens and Hillary gets the Democratic nomination, we may see an election like nothing this country has experienced in its two-party system before.
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