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Can We Keep Bernie's Flame Lit?

Dick Price: For most it seems that voting for Hillary is the "grow up and eat your peas" course the Democratic Party's superstructure and Clinton's many fans in the mainstream media want Bernie Sanders supporters to follow.

[dc]T[/dc]his past week, as we've made our rounds to the activist meetings we attend, there has been a heaviness in the air. Many, if not most, of the people we know are Bernie Sanders supporters, some fanatics who have turned over their lives for the past months to help him with the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.

hillary donald election race

Can We Keep Bernie's Flame Lit?—Dick Price

So now that Hillary has claimed victory and only the District of Columbia primary remains, it's not surprising that our survey about what people will do at election time in November had a downbeat tone.

But did we find any hope?

Voting For Hillary Like Wearing a Condom

While Hillary Clinton fared best in this weekend's poll, scoring 37% of favorable responses, her supporters can draw little comfort as many commenters were clearly voting against Donald Trump, not for Hillary.

"Not voting for Hillary is giving Donald Trump a chance to become president," said Ken Wolff. "Not something to be wished under any circumstances."

and

"Do I ‘like’ Hillary? No. Do I fear Trump? Yes. This is not rocket science," said Geoff Dewan. "When my vote might throw the House, or Senate, or even the School Board to the Greens, then I’ll vote the Green party. Until then, Go Hillary!"

Go Hillary, indeed!

Others are deeply distressed by the former First Lady herself, never mind her likely Twitter-crazed Republican opponent:

“Principles are critical, not just nice to dream about. I will never vote for Hillary,” said Jerry Lobdill. “She is a venal criminal who will say anything to get elected and then revert to her historical behavior.”

and

“It’s too painful to think about. Vote for Trump so we’ll get what we deserve? Vote for Clinton so we’ll look like suckers?” commented Nicholas Arguimbau. “I might stay home and pet my cat—something useful.”

Only one comment betrayed a modicum of enthusiasm for a ticket headed by the former secretary of state:

"I’ll vote for Hillary Clinton, neither enthusiastically nor begrudgingly, because she will be a good if not a great President," said Steve Hochstadt, a regular LA Progressive contributor. "It’s not about Donald Trump, but about what we can expect from a flawed electoral system and a personality/celebrity driven culture."

For most it seems that voting for Hillary is the "grow up and eat your peas" course the Democratic Party's superstructure and Clinton's many fans in the mainstream media want Bernie Sanders supporters to follow.

Even though 11% said they enthusiastically support her, for most it seems that voting for Hillary is the "grow up and eat your peas" course the Democratic Party's superstructure and Clinton's many fans in the mainstream media want Bernie Sanders supporters to follow.

Or, as Eric Ferguson says, "Voting for Hillary is like wearing a condom: It might not feel right, but it’s what responsible adults do."

Sheesh! Where's my ballot?

Moving to Jill, Hanging with Bernie

Many survey takers say they’ll either throw their support behind Jill Stein and the Green Party (26%) or stick with Bernie Sanders (19%) in some fashion. Some see “Going Green” as a way to make a statement:

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“In a safely blue state, Jill Stein makes the most sense,” said Adam Eran. “It registers a protest and empowers the Greens.”

and

“If Bernie Sanders is on the ballot in any form (Independent or Green), I’ll vote for him. If not, then Jill Stein,” said Stephanie Shaw. “I plan to work with the Brand New Congress and have already been contacted by them. America is at the abyss of enslaving every American.”

and

“I’ll write in Bernie Sanders, strategically. I’m in California, so it’s a safe ‘non-Clinton’ vote,” commented Joseph Rank. “Democrats won’t learn with a Green/Jill Stein protest. They just won’t. A million of us in California BOB’s [Bernie or Busters] will get the attention, while not jeopardizing a Democratic victory.”

But some respondents are clearly deeply dismayed with the whole political process:

“If a member of the Democratic party or the Republican party establishment is elected President, I will sell my thirteenth generation farm and move my family to New Zealand,” said Dick Chase. “If Senator Sanders isn’t elected President, I’m moving to a saner and more civil country.”

and

“I am done with establishment politics. High promises with no conscience and only personal gain. 42 years of working to help get Democrats elected,” said Linda Tuttle. “Then finally Bernie comes along and speaking what is long overdue.”

Where’s the Hope?

Several respondents advocated the sensible course of waiting and seeing. The election, after all, is November 8th, nearly five months away. Why buy trouble we don’t have?

A lot can happen in five months. Just look at the past five months—or the five months before that. Ten months ago, Bernie Sanders scored maybe 2 percent in the polls and nobody gave him a bat’s chance to win the nomination—and look at how close he is.

And then with all the things going on with the Clinton campaign—the email server mess she can’t get past, the growing accusations of voter suppression and election fraud, her upside-down favorability numbers, her inability to light a fire under her followers.

The main reason Bernie Sanders and his supporters are being pushed to line up behind the Clinton campaign now—I mean, right now—is that the Democratic Party insiders who support her and those mainstream media chowderheads who can’t say “Bernie Sanders” without adding “he doesn’t stand a chance,” they know they’re backing a lame horse that might lose down the stretch to a loudmouth bigot like Donald Trump.

So it’s good that some of remembered that Bernie has always talked about building a movement, not just winning a nomination. As Maureen Cruise comments:

Revolutions and real change don’t just happen. We have to change what we are doing. Voting for the status quo keeps supporting the malfeasance and cruelty of the status quo. If one has to hold one’s nose to vote…rethink your vote. Let your conscience be your guide…think about how folks (and the planet) now are suffering under the current system and administrations.

[dc]A[/dc]s we pull through this dark day in America’s history with the horrific massacre in Orlando filling the airwaves, it’s good to pledge to support Bernie as he works to influence Hillary’s campaign, shape the Party’s platform—or even somehow wrest the nomination away from her.

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But we also need to join him and the millions of his supporters who want to build a lasting progressive movement whose goals he has articulated.

Dick Price
Editor, LA Progressive