I've been finding out that there really are Republicans for Bernie and have written two articles previously on the subject: Republicans for Bernie and There Really Are Republicans for Bernie. Since then, I've looked into various Facebook groups and found even more such Republicans, here and here. So here are more stories by and about more people, and these are just the tip of the iceberg. The Sanders campaign should be generating “Republicans for Bernie” bumper sticks and tee-shirts. Really.
Some of these folks want to remain anonymous. For example, there's David, who writes, “I'm a young conservative, 25, veteran. I've served years in the Army National Guard (still am). I was raised Christian, homeschooled, worked on farms . . . I'm the picture Republican.” He certainly seems to be. Yet he is adamant about voting for Bernie and explains why in wonderful detail.
I have a brain. Although I have a great job now, there was a time less than a year ago where I was washing cars in the Oregon winter rain for $10.00/hr. I had to do it to make ends meet while I shelled out more than $3,000 for tuition at a local community college. Despite my veteran status, there were no jobs to be found. If I didn't have the GI bill, I wouldn't have been able to make it. I still had to take out student loans because life is so expensive. My employers attitude was, "If you don't like it, tough, you're totally replaceable." I was a veteran, a leader, a very intelligent straight A student, and that was my life, getting sick all the time.
The fact that [Bernie] wants to tax corporations and Wall Street, then use that money for infrastructure just makes sense. I travel a lot for work now and I've seen the quality of our roads, bridges, trains and airports from East to West coast. He also wants single payer health care, and not much more needs to be said about that.
How can you vote for Mr. Republican just because he is anti-abortion (seriously, I know people who do this) when he refuses to take a real stand for real issues that plague our country, and then sell us out to corporations?
Finally, the hot button issues: conservatives like me dislike abortion, gay marriage, gun control. Things like that, and Bernie is for them. The thing is, we are crumbling as a society, and the fact that religion or personal ethics will make someone choose a Republican candidate who LIES to his voter base that he will change things in regards to those issues, is just stupid. You know nothing will change. So how can you vote with your conscience or choose the right thing ethically when your basic needs aren't being met? How can you vote for Mr. Republican just because he is anti-abortion (seriously, I know people who do this) when he refuses to take a real stand for real issues that plague our country, and then sell us out to corporations?
Anyway, that's a short list why I want to vote for Bernie. I registered with the Democrats this year to do so. I don't even care about the Republican clones this year.
You have to admire someone who understands that the economics of the society is really important. Yes, the social differences are difficult to resolve, but sometimes those have to take a back seat, and David has experienced life enough to know that we're in an economic crisis that requires resolution. And many of the social issues will only change over time, however they go.
Jason Gade writes as follows:
I am a 45-year-old former Republican who is now a Democrat for Sanders. I am a USMC and Army National Guard veteran. I registered and voted Republican regularly from 1988 to 2008.
He considers himself a Reagan Democrat:
I still get kind of upset when more liberal pages I follow on FB criticize Reagan in a way that I consider to be unfair.”
His own political history is really interesting and not unlike other “Republicans for Bernie.
In 2006 and after, I started re-examining my politics and I realized that the way we treated Clinton in the 90s was pretty much unwarranted. While he may not have had complete control over it, he presided over a huge peacetime increase in the economy and almost brought the budget back from deficit to surplus (sources vary). In fact, I remember Greenspan and others were afraid of budget surpluses and their affect on the economy and we all ate it up.
In 2007-2008 I discovered the site Republicans for Obama and I started following and discussing the issues with people there. Gradually I became more and more active in the community, and even eventually becoming an admin on the Republicans for Obama Facebook page. At this time I flirted with leaving the Republican party as I had become thoroughly disgusted with their positions and their tactics. A friend of mine on the same site convinced me to stay Republican at the time.
After the 2012 election and all the ugliness which had come before and after, I re-registered as a Democrat. I had been voting Democratic for at least four years anyway, I might as well make it official.”
If he came to terms with Bill Clinton, then why isn't he for Hillary? “I still have some of my Republican resentment of Clinton. Not because she’s a woman — just as with Obama being our first black president I think that we are by far ready for our first woman president — but I don’t think we need to continue political dynasties such as Bush or Clinton. Clinton is highly qualified, I’ll give her that. But I don’t think that she is the best candidate.
Our country is so divided right now and terms such as “liberal”, “progressive”, or “socialist” will be very difficult to get over as negative connotations with working-class whites. However, I really think that Sanders is the one who might be able to break through that cognitive barrier and explain to the folks why voting for him and for Democrats will not only be good for them but good for the country as well.”
Jason both sees Bernie as breaking through to convince Republicans and working-class whites to vote for him and Democrats, and he sees Hillary's flaw in being part of a dynasty that Americans do not want.
Connie, age 64, has lived in Vermont all of her life, so she knows Bernie. She went to college but has no degree, worked for 18 years as a cook and then 22 years as the town clerk in her small town. She has three grown children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Her parents were Republican, she's always voted Republican. Until 2016. “I am still Republican. Only this time there is no candidate running on the Republican party worth voting for. I am not and will not register as a Democrat. In Vermont we have open primaries. You don't have to register in a particular party.”
“I have always believed that the Republican party cares more for the people than the Democrats. Although if I have to say I have evolved, my evolving would be to vote for no party. I believe the United States should do away with party names and have people run on their merits. Democrats vote for Democrats, Republicans vote for Republicans. Most of the time it has nothing to do with the person running. It is all about the party. That is sad. Do away with all "party" names.
Why vote for Bernie?
Bernie is different from any candidate that has ever run. He is 100% for the people. He is not afraid to stand up to corporations, government agencies, companies and any person that is out for control and gains at the expense of the people. He cares about the people that are struggling to survive on a fixed income. He cares about people working for an outrageously low income and finding it impossible to survive. He doesn't care what people think of his down to earth opinions. He is exactly the type of person we need leading the United States.” She wouldn't vote for any of the other Democrats in the race. If Bernie doesn't win the nomination, she'll wait and see who she might vote for.
So far as Bernie's tag as a socialist:
I support Bernie because he is the one we need in office. The word socialist is a word. Everyone describes it differently. People don't understand that much of the United States is socialist. We need to be in order to have departments, agencies, and states run properly. Bernie just tells it like it is and is not afraid to say the word "socialist".
Like Jason and David, Connie appears intensely practical. She knows that Bernie is the best in the field, she's seen him for years in Vermont, and she's ready to vote for him because there's really no one else.
James Cetnarowski, 50, lives in East Jordan, Michigan. He served in the Marines for four years, has been a telecommunications technician for 27 years and owns a small restaurant.
I have always considered myself (Do I dare say it?) a conservative Republican. While I've never voted strict party lines I favored Republicans. Today my political orientation is Moderate or (if it's possible) a left leaning Republican. I only say "left leaning" because the Conservative values I cherished most in life have been pushed so far to the right I need to "lean left" in order to stay in touch with my core beliefs. Conservatism for me meant "solid moral ground". Today's brand of Conservatism seems more like "moral superiority" to me. I'd like to think I'm a "Common Sense Conservative" or maybe "Republican Lite". Half the Bible thumping of a regular Republican and zero bully pulpit.
Take the Gay Right to get married for instance. Should Gay people have the right to get married? I say Absolutely! Should Gay rights trump Religious rights? I say with the same enthusiasm No! If I'm asking for respect and tolerance, I should be willing to give it. That, in my opinion, is a good moral compass! NO ONE regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation should live in fear of a label or stigma being applied to them. But isn't that IN FACT the essence of liberty?
What changed my political views you ask?
I'm of the opinion that 30 years of "The Conservative Movement" pushed Conservatism so far to the right that "the Left" became "the Left-out". This in turn pushed Liberalism further to the left and now all that remains of dialog between the two is verbal assaults. You need to look no further than Donald Trump for proof. He is completely energizing the Republican right by demonizing illegal immigrants. Number one in the Republican polls. Again, more attacks! No dialog. No solutions.
I have experienced this "Political polarization" first hand. After the Wall Street collapse of 2008 I joined up with Grassroots movements (Occupy, Move-on etc) but as soon as I identified myself as a Conservative and/or Republican, I was either outed on the spot or labeled a Republican troll. It didn't matter that I supported their cause and was just as outraged over what Wall Street did, I was a Republican!
We have become jaded as a society because the ideological rift in our nation has grown so large that neither the Right or Left can so much as hear each other anymore. Everything seems so internalized. Caught in the middle of all this bickering between Left and Right is skyrocketing crime, increased police brutality, racial tension, religious bigotry, jobs shipped overseas, a serious lack of government transparency, corporate corruption, wealth inequality growing to outrageous proportions, homelessness on the rise, veterans living in the streets and a faltering middle-class.
We have the means and the people to cure all of our societal ills, yet all we do is fan the flames of division, and that is the purest form of tragedy. It's a stain on the very fabric of our once great nation. We should be ashamed of what we have become.
Both Democrats and Republicans have held the power in our Government to effect real meaningful change, yet nothing meaningful has emerged. Republicans control both House and Senate. Where's the legislation to improve the human condition for our country? Again. The status quo. Bi-partisan bickering. No real results.
What happened to caring about our fellow man? Or working together for the betterment of all? How can we become a great Nation when we are war with each other?
This is how I see things today. It why I feel compelled to evolve my beliefs and adapt my Conservative values. Like all things in life our society must evolve in order to survive. I truly hope others will embrace this fundamental truism.
Why is he in favor of Bernie Sanders?
Sanders is an honest politician who represents people not corporations. And BTW Corporations are not people! His record screams a strong middle-class movement and most importantly Human Rights. I see him as an Independent who can come between Right and Left and move both sides closer to the center where dialog can take place and resolutions be found.
He wouldn't vote for Hillary, Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chaffee, or Jim Webb, because they have “Too many Corporate ties and flip-flopping on the issues. If my trust in them was gun powder they couldn't make enough dynamite to blow their noses.” And he feels the same about the Republican candidates in the race.
As a former or current Republican, how or why can he support a candidate who describes himself as a democratic socialist?
As a Republican I feel comfortable with my decision to support Bernie Sanders primarily because I have studied his campaign platform and see it not as radical but most certainly mainstream. Believe me when I say "you could have knocked me over with a feather" after I read Bernie's proposals. I thought I was reading from the handbook of a Moderate rather than a Socialist. I came to realize that Socialist is a label assigned by people (like myself) who don't fully understand what a Progressive agenda truly is. Some of our greatest presidents have been called Socialist. Franklin D. Roosevelt is a fine example. The word Socialist doesn't bother me as much its misinterpretation.
I've been very happy to have written these three articles, showing nine different Republicans or former Republicans, all ready to vote for Bernie. Read what they say, and you can tell that they have each travelled a different path, but each has found that Bernie Sanders reflects what they want in America going forward. We can only hope that there are many more like them out there so that we can come together and move ahead with the platform that Bernie Sanders proposes.
Michael T. Hertz