Hardcore progressives must deal with the fact that real change may not come for another eight years
At present, it is certain that there are many American progressives who are not only dissatisfied with the current political climate of this election but who are also relatively distraught over the situation that they find themselves in as voters.
This dissatisfaction is evident in the resolve that some progressives have expressed publicly to continue in their support of Bernie Sanders until the end of time. This group will go down swinging for Bernie because he is, himself, determined in spite of everything to go down swinging in this election.
Many have determined that they will write his name in on their ballots and that they will not succumb to the Democratic group-think mentality that Hillary Clinton is counting on in this election. Clinton needs this mentality because of her voting record and because of the criticisms that it could generate for her in the general election.
There are also American progressives who have decided that they will support Clinton. Many of these voters likely feel that Clinton will do much in the effort toward furthering the rights of women in American society. Others likely feel that Clinton’s position on guns and gun rights will be beneficial and that it represents their interests.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign is quoted on her campaign website “Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who, as a member of Congress and national leader, has consistently put the safety of the American public ahead of the interests of the corporate gun lobby.”
She needs an army of voters that is convinced of its preference against Donald Trump to the extent that its support necessarily goes to her. Donald Trump is counting on the opposite. His campaign likely hopes that the schism that has come into being among Democratic voters will serve to weaken Clinton’s bid for the White House.
Progressives like this will continue to sing Bernie’s praises and will also continue to evaluate the votes that they cast according to the ethics that they have taken away form his campaign. For many progressive voters support of Bernie Sanders has boiled down to ethics. This has been the consistent problem with Hillary Clinton’s voting record. Progressive supporters of Sanders resent her as well as by Sanders himself as a hypocrite with no solid principles.
Progressives feel that Hillary Clinton will not do enough to represent their interests and preferences as voters. Clinton will only serve to further reinforce the legacy of corporate and establishment control that she represents.
It will be exceedingly difficult for her to shed this reputation. I think that it is likely that this image, which is does not entirely represent her perspective, will continue to plague her campaign throughout the course of this election.
Progressive voters will certainly not throw their support behind Donald Trump and they have made this clear. Trump has come to represent gluttonous American corporatism. He has also come to represent waste, inefficiency, and inexperience.
For American conservatives this is not the case. For them Trump represents a refreshing approach to American conservatism. He has offered a new streamlined standard for conservatives that many have no problem accepting whatsoever.
Progressives are not required to be anti-corporate. It is true, however, that there are influential progressives who are more likely to take the side of labor. Progressives also continue to find it difficult to support a candidate with no clear principles. It is in addition to this that these same individuals find themselves in a sour political situation that gives them no acceptable options.
They are stuck between two candidates for different reasons and are thoroughly aware that their candidate of choice (Bernie Sanders) will not occupy the Oval Office.
First, progressives are crying because there are problems that remain to be fixed and from their perspective, those problems will not be fixed by either of the candidates currently posed to take over in the White House.
Second, progressives are crying because they remain at the mercy of a political process that does not give them what they want. Change is coming too slowly and there is still much change to come.
Third, progressives are crying because they know that Democrats will be represented by a candidate that they do not trust and that they are not likely to ever trust.
Fourth, progressives are crying because it seems like they might be stuck in a system that does not allow them to choose freely and that they might remain stuck in this system for some time. It will be up to progressive voters to follow their intuition. I certainly will not give progressives an imperative to vote for any particular candidate.
Which of the candidates is the lesser of two evils for progressives? More importantly is this a calculation that most progressive liberals are willing or able to make? It is likely that this candidate is Hillary Clinton.
Most progressives do not need much convincing to avoid Donald Trump as a candidate. The way that he has chosen to conduct himself over the course of this primary season should be evidence enough of this.
Bernie Sanders has left a permanent mark on the American political landscape. This has come about as a result of his campaign. Some of the policies that he has advocated, for example the legalization of marijuana, are immediately important to many progressive liberals. His support for policies like these have earned him a permanent place of respect and reverence for those liberals.
In the last forty years, there have been few candidates that have managed to obtain fervent love and support from progressives. Barack Obama also managed to obtain this support, standing as a candidate that offered an administration that would be a sharp contrast to the Bush Administration.
Progressives might not stop crying for a good long while. The 2016 election practically provides for two possible futures both of which are dissatisfying to progressive Americans. Over the course of the next presidential term-the next four years-it will be interesting to see how progressives respond to the American political climate. If the same individual happens to remain in office for two terms it will be even more interesting to see how the political environment looks after the end of that administration.
The economy is changing and economic concerns-which are among some of the most important for progressive liberals, especially taxes and entitlements. Some progressives must feel tired of a political process that continues to churn out the same, year after year. Changes which these progressives desire have not yet been seriously considered.
The Obama Administration, being a solid change from the years of the Bush Administration, gave progressives a relative break. Its policies, which leaned just over the line onto the left side of the political spectrum, and which contrasted significantly from many of the conservative policies of the Bush administration.
Now eight years of the Obama Administration have passed and progressives are looking to push for further political changes. It is in evaluating their options that progressives are extremely unhappy. They have been given the opportunity to choose between two candidates.
The only imperative that I will give to progressives will be an imperative to stop crying despite the mountain of reasons for them to do so and to salvage what they can from the influence that the Sanders campaign managed to produce this election.The political process continues and progressives must remain politically active and aware over the course of the next presidential administration.
It will be valuable for progressives to determine what things the next administration does well and what things it does poorly. The country will certainly survive the next administration. Progressives might come out of the first term of a Hillary Clinton presidency convinced of a few things that they were not convinced of before, among them the change that continues to arise as a result of the efforts of the Obama Administration with respect to some of the causes that progressive liberals care most about, among them healthcare reform.
There will be plenty of opportunities for progressive change over the coming years. If Hillary Clinton is elected she will carry on essential parts of the legacy left by the Obama Administration. It is likely that her administration will remain committed to to many progressive causes specifically because of this fact.
Progressives will need to remain steadfast in their principles. Some may be required to look ahead to the next election or to the election after that. Once again, if one were to assume that Hillary Clinton wins the election and that she then proceeds through eight years of an administration. These progressives may not be entirely dissatisfied with an eight year Clinton administration.
If Clinton were to win this election and then go on through four years of an administration and then not go on to govern the country for another four years, as was the case with George H.W. Bush, then progressives will be confronted by the individual who takes her place. This individual is likely to be a Republican excluding the possibility that, after theoretically winning in 2016, Clinton does not once again become the Democratic candidate in 2020).
It will primarily be of value for progressives to prepare for the eventuality of a Clinton presidency, assuming that the Trump campaign fails to put forth the effort and planning necessary to win the election. In preparing for this eventuality some progressives may need to come to terms with the fact that Bernie Sanders is not the Democratic candidate and that Trump can still win the election.