#DemExit has been trending on Twitter and I think it’s mostly a Russian bot type of situation mixed with a lot of people incredulously RESPONDING to the hashtag which makes it trend even higher.
But there ARE people who say they won’t vote for Biden in the general if he’s the nominee (they show up in my mentions all the time — real people, not bots) so I want to make a little observation about that angry group of people (and the less angry, but no less passionate Sandernistas upset at anyone voting for Biden (or defending anyone voting for Biden)).
Joe Biden doesn’t really have a passionate base of support. Yeah there are people who have supported him from beginning and people who genuinely would like to see him be President (who are those people!?) but it’s not like a Bernie situation where there’s a movement and a desire for change and people fervently arguing on behalf of their candidate.
Bernie Sanders has a passionate base of support. These are people that believe with their whole chest that the only way forward in this country is to change the way we’ve done business as usual on a number of fronts. There is a vision for what America could be if we could only get enough people brave enough to stand up to corporations, establishment politicians, and the rich elite.
The problem is, Biden has more supporters than Bernie, but it feels — especially to a lot of Sandernistas — that the desire is out there and just hasn’t been tapped into or people haven’t been motivated enough or people are reluctant to throw their support behind him out of fear. Plus, if you could quantify passion, Bernie should be the winner. Let’s say every Bidenite’s support for Joe averages to a 5—every Sandernista’s average support for Bernie is a 10. Since there aren’t twice as many out here for Biden as there are for Bernie, if you could put support on a scale, we know where it would tip.
I already went into why people would vote for Biden over Bernie, so I don’t have to dig deep into that again, but I never bring up why a Bernie supporter would try to hold the election hostage. Nominate my candidate because I refuse to vote for yours. The oldest (and most basic) analysis is the burn it down theory. If the country gets bad enough, people will see the error of their ways and go running to the person who has been advocating for a full scale change all along. People living under moderately bad conditions are complacent. People living under terrible conditions are more inspired to revolt and spark a change.
I think there’s another angle that goes largely unspoken (or unrealized) and it rests on the lack of passion in Biden’s camp. Even among Biden’s supporters who hate Bernie to the core, most would agree that life would obviously improve under anyone who isn’t Trump. They could vote for him if they had to and they’re not all that jazzed about Biden anyway. Since they COULD vote for Bernie and they haven’t spent the past four years dreaming of Biden’s presidency, they should just vote for the guy who has passionate supporters and a desire for real change!
Think of it like dinner with your friends and your options are chicken tenders (Biden) or pizza (Bernie). The pizza sounds way better, but you’ve never been to that particular spot before and you’re not totally sure everybody else in the group will be down for that. The chicken tenders are fine, but they’re from some generic TGIChiliTuesdayBees place — not great, but you know what you’re getting.
One of your friends really wants pizza. He’s been talking about pizza all week, he really wants pizza, he literally HATES chain restaurants, and the reviews of this pizzeria are so good he can’t pass up the opportunity. Any friend in that situation would pick the pizza because hey—the other guy will be super happy and it’s not like you hate pizza anyway. Why wouldn’t you take a chance on something you will both probably love as opposed to making your friend eat something he hates?
Unfortunately politics isn’t dinner (unless we can actually eat the rich!) so you can’t vote for someone just because other people are passionate about him. And therein lies the conflict: You can’t make millions of people vote for the guy you like just because you really really like him. You have to convince them that pizza is better and some people are going to stick with the chicken they already know, especially when the third and not unlikely alternative is one where nobody gets any food at all.
Bernie isn’t losing to Biden because of Elizabeth Warren.
A lot of people would rather have a moderate getting half an agenda accomplished than a progressive getting none of it done. Some people don’t want to reach for the moon and land in the same spot. Some people will reach for the top of a ladder to climb a couple of steps.
If you are passionate about Bernie’s ideas and you believe he can facilitate those ideas making it into legislation, vote Bernie. Just know there are people who are just as passionate about those ideas who DO NOT believe he will get anything done. A lot of people would rather have a moderate getting half an agenda accomplished than a progressive getting none of it done. Some people don’t want to reach for the moon and land in the same spot. Some people will reach for the top of a ladder to climb a couple of steps.
A lot of Warren’s supporters were Clinton supporters who remember how Bernie went scorched Earth in 2016 and just generally think he’d be a bad leader, a bad diplomat, and an ineffective President. What are ideas without execution? I’ve been actively ignoring everyone calling for Warren to drop out because of an unfounded belief that Bernie would be winning if Warren wasn’t splitting the “progressive vote.”
I don’t feel like arguing with people’s feelings.
Warren is who I want to be the nominee and Warren is who I feel would be most effective in the White House and on the world stage. My second choice is Bernie, but it’s not a vote FOR him and I don’t SUPPORT him. I just don’t want Biden. I’m voting against Joe Biden because I think he’ll be a worse President than Bernie. There are a lot of people who think Bernie will be a worse President than Biden. Neither position has a whole lot to do with policy and everything to do with who will be the better leader.
So calling Warren-to-Biden voters “not real progressives” just completely discounts all of the other job duties of the President past “ideas.” Who is going to represent us on the world stage? Who is going to build the best coalition? Who is going to be the most effective? Some people genuinely believe Biden will be better at the job of being President than Bernie will be. Some of those people are Warren supporters. Telling them they’re betraying Progressives because they look at the job as more than one thing isn’t going to make them vote Bernie.
You can take that train of thought straight to the South and Biden’s support among Black voters, traditionally the most pragmatic voting bloc in the Democratic Party. You can leave the offensive analyses about Stockholm Syndrome or low information at the door. Focus on what a person would do if they were from a community that was not allowed to dream, a community that has continually watched their dreams crushed by the weight of White America. Would they reach for the moon and risk (what they believe to be) a near certainty of disappointment? Or would they reach a few steps up the ladder to a place they believe the rest of the country would allow them to climb without a crushing defeat?
And a lot of people just don’t like Bernie. It is what it is. I don’t like him either — not enough to not vote for him over Biden (because i don’t like Biden either!!!) but I can see why a voter would rather be preached to by Biden than Bernie. If you’re a Sanders Supporter and you feel disappointed by the results, take a look at the failures of his movement (the lack of turnout among young voters that was promised, his team projecting a win among a large field where he’d never have to garner more than 30% of the support) instead of trying to shame other voters and candidates into falling in line with his brand of progressiveness.
Regardless of the outcome, blaming others for the shortcomings of Bernie’s campaign does not help move the progressive agenda forward to find out how to get more people to join the movement the next time around. Right now, “Bernie is losing because Warren won’t drop out.” After she drops out, it will be “Bernie is losing because Warren’s supporters weren’t real progressives.” Missing from the conversation: “Bernie is losing because his campaign didn’t convince enough people that he would be an effective leader.”
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