The presidential campaign of Bernie Sanders brought out a lot of enthusiastic voters in support of the Vermont senator. And when it became clear that Hillary Clinton, not Sanders, would be the nominee of the Democratic party, Sanders’ supporters splintered. Even though he asked everyone who had supported his campaign to back Clinton, many of his diehard supporters — the “Bernie-Bros,” “Bernie-Bots,” “Bernie Or Bust” people — rejected his plea. Now the senator is once again reminding those folks, and everyone else, why a vote for Clinton is essential this year.
Sanders appeared on Morning Joe on Friday, where he talked about the campaign and his thoughts on “protest votes.” And he urged his supporters to “think very hard” before voting for a third-party candidate.
Bernie starts out by talking about what he sees is Trump’s appeal to many voters. He says that a lot of Americans are not in a good place economically, and Trump recognizes that. But instead of offering solutions to their problems, the GOP candidate blames those problems on Muslims, Mexicans, and other minorities. “He is dividing us up,” the senator says. “The cornerstone of his campaign is bigotry, and I am going to do everything I can to oppose that.”
Sanders tells hosts, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, that he understands many voters aren’t in love with either of the major candidates. But, he says, people need to move past the personalities and look at the issues of importance in this election; things like more tax breaks for the upper class, climate change, and raising the minimum wage. He says when you look at those issues, Clinton is “the far superior candidate.” When asked by Scarborough why he thinks millennials are not as thrilled about Clinton as they were about his campaign, Sanders returns to the idea that the issues are more important than the candidates. He reminds everyone that towards the end of the primary campaign, he and Hillary came to an agreement on a proposal to allow most American families to send their children to college tuition free. He repeats his belief that Clinton is far and away the best candidate on the issues.
Jeremy Peters of The New York Times then notes that a recent poll conducted by his paper found around one-third of young voters are voting for third-party candidates. He says he thinks many of those voters don’t remember the campaign of Ralph Nader, and how his presence affected the 2000 election. He asks Sanders what he would say to those who are planning on voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson or Green Jill Stein. Sanders replies,
I was a third-party candidate… But I think that before you cast a ‘protest vote’ — because either Clinton or Trump will become president — think hard about it…
I would say to those people out there who are thinking about a protest vote, think about what the country looks like, and whether you’re comfortable with four years of a Trump presidency. I would suggest to those people, let us elect Hillary Clinton as president, and the day after let us mobilize millions of people around the progressive agenda.
Bernie goes on to point out that the Democratic party platform contains the progressive proposals that his supporters favor. What needs to be done, he says, if Clinton is elected is to insist that she carry them out.
Why would Bernie’s supporters vote for Johnson or Stein anyway? As a Libertarian, Johnson endorses a number of policy proposals that are the opposite of progressive, such as cutting Social Security. And Stein, in addition to making bizarre comments about the dangers of vaccinations and wifi, has as her running mate a man who has called Bernie a “white supremacist” and referred to Sanders’ supporters as “shills.” Casting a vote for either of them if you believe in the positions of Bernie Sanders would be like voting against your own self-interest, something we constantly accuse middle and working class Republicans of doing.
Sanders is absolutely correct, as usual. In order to move the country forward, we have to deliver the vote for Hillary Clinton, then, through a combination of grassroots action and pressure from progressives in Congress, we need to make sure she delivers for us.
Here’s what Bernie had to say on Morning Joe:
Featured image via screen capture