SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote For Me

 Hey Bernie supporters: Hillary has a talking point for you.

Confident that she has the Democratic nomination pretty much locked down and turning toward a general election contest against Donald Trump, Secretary Clinton’s surrogates and paid Internet trolls are targeting Sanders devotees via email and seeding comment threads on political websites with a low-key sales pitch.

It goes like this: We’re not asking you to vote for Hillary in November. We are asking you to work for and donate to “down ticket” Democratic candidates for Congress, governor, state rep and so on. Oh, and if you could kindly hold your fire against Hillary — because those attacks help Trump — that would be awesome too, thanks.

Like all things Clinton, this tightly scripted DNC-approved don’t-vote-for-me-vote-for-other-Dems argument carries more than a whiff of triangulation, big data analytics and well-managed focus groups. It also reeks of desperation.

At this stage in a presidential campaign, the likely nominee normally wants to unify the party by convincing voters who voted against her in the primary to see her as next best, good enough, and enough of a champion for some of her defeated opponent’s ideas to justify supporting her with some enthusiasm. I can’t recall, even following the bitter Democratic primary fight in 1980, Jimmy Carter telling Ted Kennedy’s acolytes not to bother with him but to please pull levers for Democratic state senators.

Hillaryites are sweating the progressive #BernieorBust movement — a recent poll of Sanders voters found one out of four swearing they won’t vote for Clinton in November, no way, no how. Like Miley Cyrus’ pledge to leave the U.S. if Trump wins, these promises are more hot air than statements of serious intent. But it’s not like that 25% drops to 0 by November 8th. Some Berners will stay home on election day. Disaffected Sanderians will give Jill Stein’s Green Party the biggest surge it has ever seen. (That’s probably how I’ll roll.)

And yes — despite the opinions of the center-right pundits who have been wrong about everything all year long — a significant number of liberal Democrats will defect to Donald Trump. As a friend told me, “I always vote Democratic. In this race, Donald Trump is the Democrat and Hillary Clinton is the Republican.”

If Hillary wins the nomination, she’ll need as many votes from former Berners as she can get. So why is she giving up on them already?

There are two answers.

  1. She doesn’t think she can convince Sanders’ supporters that she’s a good-enough second-best.
  2. She doesn’t want to try.

She may be right about the first point. Stretching back over more than two decades, Clinton’s public record in national politics is too long and too consistent to make a credible case that she has a left-of-center bone in her body. From Hillarycare to NAFTA to welfare reform to the crime bill to Iraq and Libya and Syria, she’s always sided with neo-con war profiteers and corporations over people. (Hillary’s folks claim that she was secretly against NAFTA, in private, before she came out in favor of it, in public. But secretly doesn’t count in politics.)

Hillary’s refusal to make concessions to Sanders’ surprisingly successful democratic-socialist insurgency is highly illuminating about who she is and where she stands.

Clinton and Sanders are now tied in national polls. Does anyone doubt that if he were as well known when he began his campaign last year as he is now, that he would have trounced her? Given Sanders’ popularity and the real threat he presented to her, a smarter and/or less pigheaded candidate than Hillary would have co-opted the man, his ideas and his supporters. But there’s zero sign that she’s considering him as her vice president or a cabinet position. She has stolen many of Sanders’ topics. But she hasn’t adopted any of his major ideas.

At one of the debates she misleadingly implied that she supports Bernie’s national $15/hour minimum wage. Actually, she supports a Scroogesque $12. (If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be over $22.)

She still doesn’t want to make public college tuition free, as Bernie Sanders does. Nor would she lift a finger to replace the insurance profit protection racket that is Obamacare with the universal healthcare available around the globe.

In Hillary Clinton we have a right-wing Democrat who campaigned as a right-wing Democrat and who will now tack even farther right this summer and fall. She’s so far right that she won’t even bother to pretend to throw a bone to progressives, much less bring Sanders or his ideas into an Abe Lincoln-style Team of Rivals à la Hillary.

No one should say they’re surprised when President Hill turns out to a rabid rightie.

(Ted Rall is the author of “Bernie,” a biography written with the cooperation of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. “Bernie” is now on sale online and at all good bookstores.)

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21 thoughts on “SYNDICATED COLUMN: Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote For Me

  1. I read an excellent post on DailyKos (really). The OP (bruh1) made a whole batch of points that were exceptional. It’s so rare to encounter such intelligence. It was almost like talking to myself …

    • Excellent points, indeed, alex_the_tired ; thanks for the link ! But of course, the question remains : if Ms Clinton and her spin doctors do manage to woo Sanders supporters and she, with their help, manages to make it to the Oval Office as anything but a spectator, what will she do then ? Do these Sanders supporters really believe that she would, in fact, attempt to carry out the polices that during the campaign she claimed to adopt in order to woo them, rather than implementing those neocon and warmonger policies that have been her hallmark during her whole political career ? If so, on what evidence ?…

      Henri

  2. «But there’s zero sign that she’s [i e, Hillary Rodham Clinton] considering him [i e, Bernard Sanders] as her vice president or a cabinet position.» You may know differently, Ted, but from my vantage point here in Europe I haven’t seen any signs that Mr Sanders would desire or accept a role as vice presidential candidate in Ms Clinton’s campaign or a cabinet post under her leadership. That Ms Clinton could work together with Mr Obama after being defeated by him in the Democratic primaries in 2008 came as no surprise, given their close alignment on domestic and foreign policy, but I find it difficult to believe that Mr Sanders would accept a subordinate role in an administration which, as you point out above, is bound to carry out policies directly opposed to those he advocates….

    «Rolling» with Ms Stein and the Green Party would seem a good choice – I think better than writing in Mr Sanders’ name on the ballot – for those Sanders supporters who want to see a different USA ; in the event we have more luck than we deserve and the world survives four years of Ms Clinton in the Oval Office, a resounding turnout for the Greens in the 2016 election might just possibly have significance for what plays out in 2020….

    We live in dangerous times….

    Henri

  3. Occupy Wall Street morphs into Occupy the Wall Street Primaries.

    I don’t expect the Independent Sanders to win in the battle between the Super-Delegates and the Super-Screwed yet, but despite the best efforts of the oligarchic puppetry, more people are now getting a message that won’t be heard elsewhere.

    So after Occupy the Wall Street Primaries will come the Occupy the Wall Street Election.

    Democrats like the tranquilizing message of their candidates of choice so voting for Hillary is out of the question for me; more of the same is more deadly. Democrat voters will protest Republican policies that they won’t even blink an eye at if initiated by Democrat office holders. That makes Hillary worse than Trump.

    The Super-Screwed are becoming a force that the Duopoly has to contend with and is destabilizing them.

    Down with the parties owned and funded by the CCCP.

    (Another CCCP is making ready for the dustbin of history. That’s the Central Committee of the Capitalist Parties.)

    • Perhaps TPTB allowed all of this to transpire. After all, they must know of the populace’s anger and lack of confidence in the elite. So why not let the people all think they still have some control and say? Maybe they’ll get it out of their systems…

      • That assumes TPTB think they can put the genie back in the bottle.

        The Democrats did a coordinated shutdown of Occupy Wall Street dissenters. The dissent still keeps on popping up.

        I don’t believe Trump is going back into the bottle either.

  4. Hillary wants to paint herself as underdog, since those perceived as underdogs tend to win in US politics. Except when they don’t.

    Hillary has about 80% of the female over-40 vote. She has about 90% of the African-American vote. She has about 80% of the non-Cuban Hispanic vote. How in heck can she possibly lose? The fact that most while males will vote against her won’t make a significant difference in the final outcome, which will be a victory similar to Nixon’s over McGovern, disirregardless of whom the Republicans choose!

    Trump supporter answer: Trump started out with all the Republicans convinced he couldn’t possibly win a plurality of delegates, but he did it. So, even though he’s starting with everyone convinced he can’t win, he will. I know some Trumpeters, and they say only Trump can and will defeat Hillary. But demographics say otherwise.

    President Clinton will take office in February. By summer, the US military will have rid Syria of its evil dictator and made Syria very peaceful and prosperous and democratic, just like Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya. And Europe will no longer have any obligation to accept any Syrian refugees, since Syria will be perfectly peaceful and no one in Syria will have any reason to fear (except for felons like all infidels and non-Wahhabi Muslims who are guilty of capital offences under proper Islamic Law, and the Law is the Law).

    • Trump has very broad support. Not all young people love Bernie. Not all women think he “hates” them. Not all legal Mexican immigrants love illegal aliens. He’s also probably the most effective communicator of our time. Where others retreat, he counterattacks. Where others stumble, he stands tall. I’ve read plenty of liberal hand wringing over it to the effect of “why does nothing stick to him? He could end up being the real ‘Teflon President.'”

      He will put Hillary away for good. The same way he did Low Energy Jeb, Little Marco, and Lyin’ Ted.

      And I’m stealing “disirregardless.”

      • > He’s also probably the most effective communicator of our time.

        Okay, sure – bullshit is a form of communication.

        Trump’s strongest supporters are those very people he deems, “Losers.”

        Somehow, they think a man who made his fortune by fleecing “Losers” is going to make things better for them.

        You’d be better off going to Trump Taj Mahal and putting your paycheck on “red”. At least you’ve got a chance of winning something.

      • He comes out on top in nearly every interaction he has.

        And I can’t say I’m surprised by your or The Atlantic’s snobbery. “Ooo Trump supporters are POOR and WHITE and MALE and *gasp* they don’t have college!!! They’re the worst.”

        Golly gee willikers why don’t they want to vote for Leftwingers who are so clearly welcoming them?

      • Liberals want a president who is smarter than they are. Conservatives want a president who is as dumb as they are.

      • Our elites clearly believe in their superiority and clearly don’t have our interests in mind. Am I to take it that you don’t see the connection?

      • Why, yes. Yes, I do – yet you seem to believe that Trump does have your interests in mind.

        He is a con man, and you are just another mark.

  5. Vote Libertarian Party for president. If they get a big enough bump they might metastasize into a credible threat from the right for the Repubs.

  6. “If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation, it would be over $22.”

    So this raised my eyebrows. Your link actually states that’s if “it kept up with increases in worker productivity.”

    “Even if the minimum wage kept up with inflation since it peaked in real value in the late 1960s, low-wage workers should be earning a minimum of $10.52 an hour.”

    Looks like Clinton has inflation covered. Really though. It’s like socialists live in imagination land where what they will becomes so. How much profit do you really think most businesses make? They will have to make up those new costs by raising prices and cutting employees. Maybe a $15 minimum wage would be feasible if they weren’t so burdened by other unnecessary costs of taxes and regulations. I can’t believe the maze of hoops my small business owner friends jump through. There is no way in hell I’m starting a traditional business so long as conditions stay as they are. Getting bled before I even get off the ground? And might not succeed anyway?

    And I’m really counting on all those pledging to leave America upon a Trump victory really do, so don’t burst my bubble!

  7. One thing I’m seeing pretty much nothing in the way of discussion is this:

    Let me give it to you as a setup. Imagine you have a relative who’s a compulsive gambler. And you’ve tried everything you can. The interventions, the begging, the pleading, everything. And it never works. Every couple of months, he calls you up to tell you about how he’s behind on the rent or the car payment.

    So you bail him out. And each time, it’s the same chorus. “This is the last time.” Doesn’t even matter which of you says it because neither of you means it. And, sure as shit, next month, it’s the same thing. The rent’s due, the car payment’s due, those pricks at Visa are calling every day.

    I’ve seen this issue sidestepped throughout this election cycle. Even Sanders misses it. And all I hear is “What kind of a moron wants Trump to win? Who would want all that suffering? Oh, even Hillary at her worst is better than this batch of Republicans.”

    None of that is the actually issue that Sanders made his central platform plank. “The system is rigged.” And whether it’s a deadbeat younger brother or a political party that is owned and controlled by Wall Street, the situation doesn’t change until the user in question runs out of suckers.

    Yes. “The system is rigged.” But the complete thought is this: “The system is rigged AND only its destruction will cause it to change.”

    Voting for Hillary is voting for continuance. It’s tapping your 401(k) yet again because you don’t want it to finally end, one way or the other.

    Personally, I do. The current system is just me being shat on every single day. Could it get worse? Of course, but I have little doubt that it won’t get there anyway. But by then, I’ll be too old to survive it.

    • A vote for Hillary is a vote for system collapse. We’ll have more wars, more corporate and “refugee” leeches at the teat, more spying programs, more funny money printed, and probably more taxes and regulations. How can this nation survive Hillary?

      I still say she loses to Mr. Trump.

      Oh, and cash out your 401(k)s while you still can. Friendly warning. About the only thing keeping stock prices alive are corporate buybacks. Smart money’s fleeing.

      • The best piece of advice I ever read on 401(k)s is that you should only invest up to what your employer will match.

        What little money I have to spare, I diversify across a portfolio under MY control. Google Acorns. Google RealityShares. There’s ways to invest so that it isn’t THROUGH your employer.

        I use my 401(k) as a loan maker. I borrow against myself and pay off a credit card. If I need to buy something expensive (a TV, for instance, I borrow enough for it, and set the deductions for a six-month period). Why pay 16%?

  8. > So why is she giving up on them already?

    3. Reverse psychology
    4. Judo

    Assuming she’s got the nomination tied up, then fighting would make her look even worse to Bernie Bros. By ‘playing nice’ she alienates fewer and might garner a couple more votes than she might otherwise. Any who attack her when she’s playing nice make their position look worse in contrast.

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