Super Tuesday might tell us which of the four remaining candidates is likely to become Donald Trump’s opponent. I’m not counting Tulsi Gabbard, given that she has yet to register a single percentage point in popular support. Call me crazy, but the last time I looked, having zero support precludes you from beating Donald Trump.
Of the four, one bought his way to this point and he did so with as little contact with actual voters as possible. Then there’s Bernie Sanders, who never stopped campaigning since he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016. His followers are increasingly certain that only Bernie can solve all our problems.
For the record, they are not the only people using this approach. However, Bernie is one of the two most likely to be the Democratic Party’s nominee. Therefore, I’m focusing my attention on him.
I heard the savior argument before, and not just from Bernie supporters and Trump but also from far right and far left demagogues in several countries on multiple continents. I didn’t buy it before and I won’t buy it now. That doesn’t make me corporate, it doesn’t say a thing about my views on policies. It speaks only to my opposition to demagoguery.
This brings me to Elizabeth Warren, who doesn’t have a realistic chance of being the nominee. As much as I may believe she better represents the possibility of achieving a progressive agenda without revolution, this is not her time.
It looks like other former contenders are choosing to unite with Joe Biden. Some people see this as a corporate conspiracy. I see it as a desire to put forward the candidate most likely to win over the most diverse groups of American voters.
Still, Bernie Sanders supporters are numerous enough to matter and anyone who has been paying attention recognizes that. However, (and this is where the bros start tweeting insults at me) they are no more entitled to impose their views and ideology on others than anyone else. Their opinions and experiences are no more (and no less) valid than anyone else’s.
Perhaps there are some people who, as Michael Moore suggested, are afraid of Sanders and therefore backing Biden. I know that’s not the case with all Biden’s supporters because I actually bother to listen to them. Some people like Sanders and his ideas. But they want unity, not revolution. Some people don’t want socialism, and don’t see a difference between democratic socialism and socialism as such.
There are some people who are put off by Bernie’s supporters who are under the mistaken belief that being obnoxious wins votes. I understand their concerns after encounters with the more militant Bernie supporters. Those supporters think revolution is far more entertaining than democratic processes and yeah, we can just rebuild the country after it has been torn apart.
That was tried that in the former Yugoslavia and in the former Soviet Union. The idea of revolution as a political tactic comes straight out of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto – a document I studied in detail and rejected for too many reasons to get into here. One important reason is the fact that revolution tends to lead to violence, even if that wasn’t the intent, and rebuilding a country doesn’t necessarily mean the end product will be any better than what you started with. In the meantime, future generations are pretty much guaranteed a lifetime of poverty and oppression.
This observation doesn’t mean the answer is carrying on with business as usual. There are many of us who know that and whole heartedly embrace progressive ideas. However, embracing ideas that would, for example, guarantee everyone a living wage and assure that every wealthy person and corporation pays their share of taxes does not automatically mean being a Bernie bro’s doormat.
One can be all for a version of Medicare for all and yet recognize the odds are highly against congressional support. It would be stupid not to wonder what that means, especially now that the Supreme Court could rule that the gutted version of the ACA is unconstitutional. In short, the all-or-nothing approach advocated by some of Bernie’s supporters could mean leaving future generations with the same corporate “health care plan” that made Obamacare necessary.
I don’t believe in political saviors who come riding in on their horses, declaring that they will make our problems disappear.
None of us has all the answers. No theory is perfect. It took me a life time of learning and experiencing it to recognize that while nothing is perfect, there are some ideas that are worse than others. It’s why I’ll still insist on considering all candidates and their ideas before choosing one. It’s also why I refuse to allow anyone to bully or intimidate me, no matter how right they believe they are or how right I may believe their ideas or arguments are.
Either one accepts that all humans were created equal or one doesn’t. If you accept that all humans were created equal, it means you respect other people’s right to form their own opinions. No one owes you or your hero leader complete subordination.
I say this as a woman who was raped as a teenager. That was the day I learned how vicious and primal power is. I say it as a Holocaust survivor’s daughter who saw first-hand the scars that any ideological extreme leaves on the lives of survivors and on their subsequent generations.
I don’t have a preferred candidate. I do have preferred ideas and preferred tactics. Unfortunately, no one fits my criteria perfectly. Odds are that many of us have a similar quandary. So we’re left with two options. Either we trust and accept the will of the majority of voters and caucus participants, or we get four more years of Trump.
Of the remaining candidates, none is my idea of perfect, but every one of them is better than four more years of Trump. I hope we choose wisely and that those who are doing everything in their ability to antagonize people who happen to oppose their chosen one, will realize how short-sighted it is to alienate people who might be won over to their side. In the end, that’s what we’ve got to go up against a brainwashed army of maga automatons using voter intimidation, bullying and hate speech to impose their will on others.
The only advice I have is don’t give up your own voice to support a presidential candidate.