Many of us have been watching hopefully the campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders since his announcement in April 2015 that he was running for president.
There have been a lot of ups and downs for the supporters of Sanders, but the downs can't match waking up on Wednesday morning to learn he had lost four state primaries, including California by 12 points. Hillary Clinton is now the presumptive nominee. All of us are rejoicing that a woman has finally made it to the top of the ticket, but not everyone is glad that it is Hillary.
Sanders has vowed to stay in the race right up to the convention in Philadelphia starting July 25, but he is meeting with Pres. Barack Obama today, and we wonder what he, or the president, will say after the meeting.
Sanders has already made an indelible mark on this campaign season, and while his supporters claim he has pulled the Democratic party to the left, we don't really think that leviathan has been tugged very far. But, nothing is normal (if it ever is) about this campaign season. We had the GOP offer to us a slate of clowns who, without their advisers and sycophants, probably couldn't have gotten out of bed on their own. And we had a Democratic slate that offered us two governors (Martin O'Malley and Lincoln Chaffee) whose candidacies sputtered from the start, one Democratic Socialist running on a platform of social and economic equality, and a woman who has been in politics for 40 years.
Unless Clinton does get indicted for her use of a private server for State Department business (something we highly doubt, given the fact the practice was basically de rigueur in previous administrations), or the presumptive Republican nominee announces he was just joking the whole time, it is highly unlikely the showdown in November will be between anyone other than Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
While the Libertarian Party and the Green Party both have candidates that have been making a lot of noise, and sometimes common sense, how many of us really believe a vote for them is nothing more than a wasted ballot? And if it does come to Clinton and Trump, writing in Bernie, as many of his supporters have promised to do, is basically a vote for Trump.
So, as Robert Reich, who threw his support behind Sanders early on, noted for Raw Story, supporters of Clinton and Sanders have some bitter medicine to swallow. First, he implores Clinton supporters to not castigate, ostracize or otherwise ridicule Sanders supporters, because come Nov. 8, Clinton will need them.
What is most important, wrote Reich, is that "Sanders should stay in the race also because he has attracted a large number of young people and independents. Their passion, excitement, and enthusiasm are critically important to Hillary Clinton's success ... as well the success of other Democrats this year, and, more fundamentally, to the future of American politics."
While many detractors of Hillary Clinton point to her as an enabler of a system that has disenfranchised millions of Americans, she stands a better chance of implementing the changes that Sanders has advocated for — reversing climate change, creating true equal opportunity, overcoming racism, rebuilding the middle class, having a sane and sensible foreign policy — than the thin-skinned crybaby the right has crowned.
"Hillary may not possess Bernie Sanders's indignation about the rigging of our economy and democracy, or be willing to go as far in remedying it, but she's shown herself a capable and responsible leader," wrote Reich. And if you think you are better off sitting out this election or voting for a third-party candidate because at least you can claim you are not complicit, "Trump has revealed himself to be a narcissistic, xenophobic, hatemonger who, if elected, would legitimize bigotry, appoint Supreme Court justices with terrible values, and have direct access to the button that could set off a nuclear war."
We have a very clear choice this year, and while it's not what many of us would wish for, we must face the fact that this is the reality of the situation — Clinton versus Trump. Who will you choose?