By Kjersti McDonald
This piece reflects the author’s personal opinions and not necessarily the stance of Julie Joplin or any other organization.
So, Super Tuesday happened. Missouri’s Presidential Preference Primary election is Tuesday, March 10.
And suddenly, the field of Democratic nominees has been narrowed from 22 to…3?
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard are left in the race. Earlier this week, we saw moderates Pete Buttigieg and Senator Amy Klobuchar dip out and toss their endorsements to Biden. Following Super Tuesday, Senator Elizabeth Warren also chose to end her campaign.
And what a hot mess of indignant and predictive punditry social media has become since then.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t watch much (read: any) network television. My news comes in the form of email newsletters, podcasts, social media and a handful of news websites. But social media has been plagued with Democrats, Liberals, Progressives and far-leftists predicting all the doom and gloom in the world should their candidate of choice not be elected the nominee.
As a staunch Bernie Babe, my feed is not surprisingly full of other Millennials who are ready for some real, radical change. Bernie has done a phenomenal job over the past 5 years building a coalition of young people who see in him the kind of world we want and need. One of justice, that offers dignity to every human being, that breaks down the impenetrable wall of capitalist white supremacy that has made it so increasingly difficult for everyday working Americans to have health, security, and peace of mind.
Bernie does very well with the younger demographic, and I think that has instilled a sense of hope in his platform and vision for our country. But we’re constantly being told it isn’t feasible, and I’m just going to be honest here: that’s a load of bullshit.
It’s a load of bullshit that we can afford billions of dollars in tax breaks for the 1% but can’t raise the minimum wage to something people can survive on.
It’s a load of bullshit that we can dump money into our military efforts, destabilizing the governments of vulnerable countries so we can stake claim on their resources but can’t redirect tax dollars to cover health care for everyone.
It’s a load of bullshit that our government has given bailouts to every other big bank and industry out there but can’t even so much as follow through on commitments to forgive student debt for those who go into public service.
Our society’s priorities have never really been, by virtue, moral, and it has never taken anything less than a commitment to disruptive, messy change to shift them. The only candidate left running on a truly equitable and moral platform is Bernie.
I see all you pundits making predictions about how Bernie couldn’t possibly win against Trump. But I have to say, all of these electability arguments seem full of holes.
For you to be right about Biden being more electable, I think you’d have to assume that Bernie’s coalition will indeed vote “Blue No Matter Who.” And let me be clear – some of us will. I will. But many, many won’t.
Bernie does better than Biden with independents, with far-leftists. These are folks who are so disenchanted by our two-party system that they simply will not vote if isn’t Bernie. He has earned their trust, but Biden? Biden has not. He has a lukewarm platform and his priorities reek of the status quo. And for many of those independents, asking them to vote for Biden is as repugnant as asking them to vote for Trump.
And I hear you when you say that those folks need to grow up, need to vote in the name of harm reduction, to return to a time without complete lawless chaos in the White House. I agree. I think we need to get Trump out. And I agree that any of the remaining Democratic candidates would indeed be much better than what we have now.
But when you say Bernie isn’t electable, here’s what you’re actually telling me: that you, or people like you, moderates, establishment Democrats, won’t vote for Bernie if he’s the nominee.
So let me be clear, you’re asking folks who’ve never believed in the system or seen the value in participating until now to plug their nose and vote for a lukewarm moderate with handsy tendencies, a history of overtly racist comments and votes, and who entered this race with an air of entitlement and not a hint of humility. But YOU (or your cohorts) refuse to vote for a candidate who is proposing real, moral, impactful change, that as a Democrat, I know you agree with from a moral standpoint. Because it’s “not feasible.”
Well yeah, it’s definitely not feasible if you won’t elect him.
I think we should remember that Bernie’s policy proposals will have to be watered down eventually and will absolutely require compromise. Do you really think Bernie doesn’t know that?
He does. But he is still out there fighting for what is right. And that level of integrity and refusal to silence the real, visceral struggles Americans are fighting against – THAT is what is feeding his movement. And Biden’s “movement” is starved of those values. Which is why those independents, those leftists, radicals, and youngsters won’t line up behind him.
Please don’t let your fear become a self-fulfilling prophecy, because that’s what will happen if we squelch the excitement and hope that drives Bernie’s movement. Pushing him out because you think you know that he won’t beat Trump as a Democratic Socialist fighting for actual, meaningful change – that’s the death of progress.
We don’t need a return to the conditions that got us Trump. We need you to vote with your values. (If you haven’t yet decided which candidate lines up with your values, check out this helpful guide from Politico.)
I’m not stepping on this soapbox to do what I just complained about and predict Biden’s loss should he become the nominee. I will do my best to urge those around me to turn out to vote for whoever is nominated, because I do think it’s important we stop Trump. But I’m questioning the logic of going the lukewarm route as opposed to the energized, hopeful route.
And to my young, radical, leftist folks who are only in this for Bernie, I say: you better turn out. You better be turning all your friends out. You better be donating, volunteering, having those tough conversations to change minds, because if not? Those moderates will have predicted correctly about you.
And I know some of you think we deserve four more years of Trump if the moderates don’t line up with you, but I want to point out the place of privilege you might be in as you make that call. Because four more years of overt white nationalism emboldened by his continued presidency could very well mean an increase in separated immigrant families, cruel deportations, bullied brown and black children, dead black men, dead trans people, more conservative SCOTUS appointees, an overturning of Roe v. Wade, a literal nuclear war. Please think seriously about your privilege and your responsibility to fight for those more marginalized and oppressed than you whose lives literally depend on the outcome of elections like this one.
That’s the real spirit behind Bernie’s message.
Follow Joplin For Bernie Sanders on Facebook for canvassing and phone banking opportunities.
On Tuesday, March 10, polls are open from 6 AM to 7 PM. Uber and Lyft are both offering free rides to the polls. Find your polling place here. Now GET OUT AND VOTE!
Want to support Julie? Become a Patron below!