Don’t Endorse Hillary Before the Convention: An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders
“If Senator Sanders endorses Mrs. Clinton, it should be expected that some percentage of delegates would not show up in Philly, and many of those who do will be harboring great resentment towards the campaign itself. Millions of voters will instantly retreat to the resignation and despair with party politics that they harbored before this campaign. The momentum of this revolution will largely come to an end. Base supporters will effectively be returned to the masses of disenchanted potential voters who justifiably feel that most politicians can't be trusted, because they so frequently sell out when they're most needed. Over the last 13 months, I've managed hundreds of volunteers. Dozens of them have individually expressed to me and others that they would "burn their Bernie shirts if he ever endorsed the epitome of everything we're fighting against." Nobody is immune to the backlash of endorsing the nation's most corrupt politician, even the father of OUR political revolution. Most of the 13 million people who voted for Senator Sanders had not heard of him before he announced his candidacy. To these people, he represents more than just the social and environmental issues that resonate with them. He represents the very notion that there can still be integrity in the US Congress. If he endorses the very establishment candidate he railed against, he could lose those people to politics forever.” – posted on the Confirmed California Bernie Delegates Facebook page with permission of the author, a delegate from Northern California.
As a long-time supporter and super volunteer, I would like to thank you for fighting on behalf of the 99% and for awakening millions of people, especially young people to the fact that establishment politics no longer works for the vast majority of the American people. I also want to thank you and your platform committee members for making the Democratic platform the most progressive platform in history.
However, we all know that the platform is an aspirational document that the President and the party can ignore. As a pledged delegate from California, I want to go to the convention in Philadelphia in two weeks and fight for your nomination, as I was elected to do.
I am alarmed by what I have been reading about your possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow. I am asking that you hold off on an endorsement until after the vote.
As such, I am alarmed by what I have been reading about your possible endorsement of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire tomorrow. I am asking that you hold off on an endorsement until after the vote, that you not place her name into nomination using a vote by acclamation and that you exercise your option afforded you by the minority report signed at the platform committee meeting to force a vote on the Hightower amendment opposing the TPP in Philadelphia.
Bernie, we have met five times now. The first time in April of 2011, I asked you to challenge Obama in the 2012 primary. By October of that year, I had joined the Occupy movement, because I believed we needed a social movement to challenge corporate control of our government and our economy. While the Occupy movement did not get involved with electoral politics, it is widely credited with changing the national conversation and setting the stage for your candidacy in 2016.
In October of 2014, I asked you to consider running as an Independent so you could lead a movement and not just an electoral campaign. You replied that you had heard that from many people and were considering it.
Six months later, when you decided to run as a Democrat, I understood why. You know that third parties are marginalized in this country. You believed that you needed to be included in the debates and get covered by the media to get your message out. Ironically, the DNC stacked the deck against you by limiting the number of debates and scheduling them on holiday weekends or opposite football games. And the corporate media barely covered you. (A recent Harvard study showed that this lack of coverage hindered your chances of becoming the Democratic nominee; whereas constant coverage of Trump led to his becoming the GOP nominee.)
Even so, through the sheer power of your authentic, consistent and compassionate message, you were able to lead a movement, and millions of people from all generations responded to your call for a political revolution and volunteered for your campaign. You won 13 million votes, 23 states and 45% of the delegates, unprecedented in the modern history of insurgent campaigns.
When you ran as a Democrat, I and many others defended you against naysayers on the left who said it is impossible to lead a revolution from inside one of the two corporate parties, citing the failures of Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich. They went further and said you were sheep herding people into that corporate party only to eventually turn around and endorse Hillary Clinton if you were to fail to get the nomination. I said it was my goal to get people who only come out every four or eight years when they get excited about a candidate to become activists on the issues like fracking and the TPP.
However I realized while many people parroted your slogan “Not Me, Us,” they were still looking to you for leadership. Few were joining the fights, at least here in Los Angeles. They were waiting for you to stop the TPP when you got elected. People worked very hard on your campaign. However, it was not enough to get you the nomination.
Many of your supporters decried sabotage by the DNC, the unfairness of the superdelegate system, insufficient and disparaging coverage by the mainstream media and election fraud in many states. In the end, they pinned their hopes on the FBI recommending a Clinton indictment, the California recount flipping the state to you or your taking up Jill Stein’s offer to top the ticket of the Green Party. Much wishful and even magical thinking ensued. Even now people refuse to believe that you could possibly endorse Clinton tomorrow, calling it “more media lies.”
I know that you are a man of your word and that if you could not win the nomination, you would eventually endorse Hillary Clinton. However, you also promised your supporters that you would take this fight to the convention and that you would work hard to lobby superdelegates to switch their votes to you by making the argument that you have a better chance than Clinton to defeat Trump in the general election.
After the DC primary, you decided not to send the letter you had been preparing to superdelegates. Yet we your supporters continued to lobby them. And the 1831 delegates going to Philadelphia in two weeks plan to continue the effort there. We ran in delegate caucuses all over the country pledging to fight for your nomination and your platform. Right now Clinton only has 2220 delegates, which is just short of the 2383 she needs to secure the nomination outright on the first ballot. If you endorse her now and agree to release your delegates and put her name up for acclamation like she did with Obama, then we will not have a chance to lobby super delegates nor publicly register our vote for you. We want that opportunity.
We know that you put up a valiant fight to get as many of your proposals enshrined into the platform as possible. We are happy that there is a plank against the death penalty, for a $15 minimum wage and for a modern day Glass-Steagall Act, and that Hillary has come around on free public college. However, what good is it to call for “considering the impact on climate change” when there is no plank to ban fracking or oppose the TPP, which will overturn environmental regulations?
As recently as last week, you indicated that you would be keeping the option open to bring the TPP for a vote on the convention floor. On Saturday, 25% of the committee members filed the minority report needed to do so. However, the New York Times seems to think you will abandon that fight in order to achieve party unity. And your press release yesterday focuses on how wonderful the platform is and is glaring in its omission of the TPP and fracking. As you know, the TPP if passed would represent a global corporate coup d’état and is probably the most important thing to fight.
We know that you are getting tremendous pressure to endorse Hillary so there can be party unity at the Convention. We also know from your last C-Span interview that you would like to return to the Senate and head the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that Patty Murray is in line to lead. We can imagine that the party leadership is holding that out as a carrot over your head. Please don’t bite.
Know that if they try to marginalize you for not playing ball, your supporters will not let them. If you stay true to the political revolution, you will get that army outside the White House supporting your proposals, the one that you spoke about to Chris Matthews when he asked how you would get 60 votes for any of your bills. You can still assemble that army as a Senator even if you never endorse Clinton.
We also know that you are being pressured to endorse her in order to show a united front against Donald Trump. You have said you will do everything in your power to defeat Trump, because you think he is a pathological liar and a bigot. So it seems that you feel compelled to endorse the establishment candidate you ran against because she is the lesser of two evils. In reality, we don’t know how Donald Trump will govern. However, we do know Clinton’s track record.
As such, we are confident that despite what she now says, Clinton will sign the TPP, if elected President. We know she supports it, because her chief strategist Joel Benenson told Lawrence O’Donnell that she will not oppose it but will renegotiate it. It is simply not possible to renegotiate it; especially after Obama and the GOP leadership pulled every trick in the book to get fast track authority last year over the objections of most Democrats.
Even you have quoted Tom Donahue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, who said Clinton is just saying she is opposed to it because you are. Donahue said he is confident that she will sign it once in office. The excuse they used in St. Louis and Orlando to exclude it from the platform - that they don’t want to embarrass Obama because he supports it - is disingenuous.
As someone who has been fighting the TPP for four years, I have viewed you as one of our greatest champions. Please don’t let yourself be neutered like Sherrod Brown was when he endorsed Clinton, forced to defend her commitment to oppose it. Finally, do you really want Trump to be the one making the case against the unpopular TPP between August and November and not the Democratic nominee?
In any case, if you think Trump must be stopped, you certainly do not have to endorse Clinton before the convention. Jerry Brown did not endorse Bill Clinton at the 1992 convention, and Clinton still won in November. We delegates were elected to fight for you and our platform in Philadelphia. Many delegates have been fundraising and impoverishing themselves to be able to do this. People who gave their last money every month to you are now funding the delegates. How can we continue to fight if you give up? Please don’t make us spend all that money just to participate in a dog and pony coronation show for the media.
Finally, we love you, Bernie, and the last thing we want is for you to be perceived by many in the political revolution as a sell-out, just like Elizabeth Warren was after she endorsed Clinton. Young people who flocked to you because of their keen bullshit detectors won't buy your praise of her after all you have said during the campaign and won't vote for her. Your endorsement won’t gain any additional supporters, as the ones who wanted to support her already do. The rest are Bernie or Bust.
In conclusion, I implore you listen to your delegates and supporters who want you to take this fight to the convention as you promised. Remember that you said in speech after speech that this is not about Bernie or any one man. It is about millions of people standing up and saying, “Enough is enough. This country belongs to all of us not just a handful of billionaires.”
We have followed your lead. Now we are asking you to follow ours. Allow us to try to persuade the super delegates that you are the best choice to beat Trump in November. Allow us to vote on your nomination and to include opposition to the TPP in the platform. Please do not endorse Hillary Clinton tomorrow.
Sign the "Don't Endorse Hillary" petition here.