Clinton's strategy of ignoring Bernie supporters will backfire on her during the General Election
While it seems Hillary Clinton is most likely going to win the Democratic nomination, she still has to prove herself when it comes to persuading Bernie Sanders supporters to enthusiastically cast their vote for her in the coming general election.
Hillary, while pulling off victories in recent crucial primaries, hasn’t been willing to concede any ground in order to woo Bernie voters to her side. In fact, if anything, Hillary has been reacting stubbornly to the notion that she needs to earn the votes of Bernie supporters rather than simply demand their votes.
It is now more than likely that Hillary will become the Democratic nominee. There are some small routes Bernie can travel in capturing the nomination, but it seems highly improbable at this point. We have to stay real to the facts. However, while it seems Hillary is on the victory path, she has not been very open to the idea that she has to win over Bernie voters by promising to fight for issues they care about. In fact, Hillary has been giving a rather Trump-like response to the valid question of whether she needs to earn votes rather than feel entitled to them.
In the recent town hall before the April 26th primaries, Hillary was asked three separate times by Rachel Maddow whether she would try and persuade Bernie voters to support her in the general by adopting issues Bernie cares about to her platform. Hillary’s answers to those questions was that she received more votes, therefore she doesn’t need to sway Bernie voters to her case. In essence, Bernie voters need to just fall in line and vote for her, she doesn’t need to fall in line with them.
This is a very dumb strategy, not wanting to appeal to Bernie supporters. She sounds like Trump in her reasons, by just saying “I’m winning! I’m winning! So there!” That doesn’t mean anything. There is no substance to this. It does not give Bernie supporters a reason to vote for you. Just saying she’s a Democrat isn’t good enough, and saying she has more votes does not shore up any reason for Bernie supporters to enthusiastically cast their vote for her. It makes her sound arrogant and childish if anything.
This is not how you supposedly “unite” a divided party. Clinton is saying that because she received more votes, she isn’t beholden to sway her progressive skeptics. We should just automatically grant her our vote in the name of party unity. This is a disastrous and extremely arrogant approach to unity.
The fact is whether Hillary and her supporters accept it or not, a large swath of the liberal base in America does not trust her and her so-called “progressive” record. Because of this, it is up to Hillary to make the case to these voters as to why they should trust her and cast their vote for her in the general election. It is not up to Bernie’s voters to fall in line, it’s up to Hillary to make the case for them to do so.
I thought liberals were not supposed to be Republicans? We are not robotic voters who are supposed to “fall in line” because a party says so. We are supposed to challenge our candidates, and expect them to make their case to us for a vote. We are not supposed to robotically swallow any candidate, we are supposed to ask questions and hold them to a higher standard than the sheepish conservatives. It seems, however, Hillary supporters are arguing that we forgo our higher standard and essentially act like Republicans.
Asking liberals to disregard their skepticism of Hillary is a failing strategy.. The fact that Hillary has many liberal skeptics is not our issue to toss aside, it’s up to Hillary to make a compelling case to us so that she earns our vote. Hillary has a floppy record when it comes to certain core issues progressives care about, and I won’t relist all the points here. But, it is not our job to simply forget these inconvenient truths and fall in line for the party. Again, it is Hillary’s job to convince us that she truly has changed her positions and that she will fight like the progressive she claims to be.
How anyone can argue that she doesn’t have to earn our vote is just maddening. Yet, Hillary supporters will craftily argue that yes she doesn’t have to earn our vote or that she already has by winning, so therefore we just need to suck it up and “accept reality.” We just need to stop complaining and get in line, and do what the establishment says is right (even though they lose time after time).
Hillary and her supporters have rebutted that our support for her shouldn’t be conditional. She makes the case that she didn’t impose conditions on Obama when she endorsed him after the primary in 2008, therefore Bernie and his supporters shouldn’t do the same for her now. This, of course, is a gross oversimplification of how politics works. Hillary claims she didn’t set any conditions, but how mighty convenient it is that she wound up getting a job as Secretary of State after endorsing Obama. I’m sure no deals were made in this regard…
Also, there was not much ideological difference between Hillary and Obama the way there is between Hillary and Bernie. While Obama positioned himself as the more liberal candidate in the primary against Hillary, it turns out there was no more than an inch in difference between their stances on key issues. In fact, Obama adopted much of Clinton’s stated positions after he was elected, especially on foreign policy. The difference between Hillary and Bernie is much wider than Hillary would have us believe.
Bernie’s voters are not robots, we do not heel to the word of anyone, even Bernie. Remember, Bernie is merely a standard bearer of a larger movement. The movement existed before Bernie and it will exist long after him. Bernie can’t just wave his finger and say to his supporters to uniformly vote for Hillary. He can only implore his voters to make the decision they feel is right based on their points of view. Bernie’s supporters are not sheep willing to follow any shepherd, they actually vote based on the issues and nothing else. Many of Bernie’s supporters are independents as well, not rank and file Democrats, so that also has to be considered. His voters actually expect something from their candidate, and expect their votes to be earned and not demanded. How any liberal can see this as unreasonable is beyond me.
It’s a new age in American politics. The reason the establishment has become so frustrated by Bernie is that he is not willing to simply cut a deal with Hillary for some obscure cabinet position, and hence abandon the movement for his own personal gain. Bernie knows his supporters will never trust him again if he simply retracts his criticism of Hillary and establishment Democrats for the sake of unifying a party and a new job. The establishment will give him a worthless position with little power, trap him up, and give him little platform to affect anything. Meanwhile the movement he helped cultivate will turn against him, and he will lose any ability to affect the changes he truly wants to see.
The age of cutting deals is over. The fact is, Hillary has to earn our votes not demand them. Her strategy so far is simply to flaunt herself as the winner, and therefore we all have to fall in line around her, because the Republican will be much worse. That’s not how you get voters excited about you, you actually have to give them a reason to go vote for you other than “Trump is worse.” Any candidate is better than Donald Trump. Marco fucking Rubio is better than Donald Trump by leaps and bounds, what does that matter? Why should we be excited to vote? What will Hillary do for progressives when she is elected?