As many of you know, I voted for Bernie in the 2016 Massachusetts primary on Super Tuesday, but won’t be doing it again in 2020.
Why did I vote for Bernie in 2016
I voted for Bernie for in 2016 for a number of reasons, most of which I’ve explained here before.
- I was tickled pink to be able to vote for a septuagenarian socialist Jew as a serious candidate for President.
- I wanted to send Hillary a message about her pro-corporate stance.
- I wanted to endorse the values that Bernie represents.
I was not, however, a “Bernie Bro,” and it was clear that I supported both Bernie and Hillary, and that I was expecting that Hillary would win the nomination; I was completely in support of her also winning the presidency.
My vote for Bernie was primarily a protest vote. It was a “send a message” vote at a point in time where it was pretty clear that Hillary would win the Massachusetts primary (which she did, handily).
Why I won’t be voting for Bernie in 2020.
I’m done with protest votes for 2020 where, like most sane people, my overriding concern is finding a candidate to beat Donald Trump. Who that candidate should be is decidedly unclear.
The argument for Bernie has been made passionately by his supporters, including several friends of mine who reside on my Facebook feed. The arguments include:
- That Bernie is by far the most authentic candidate in the race.
- That the left should be just as unabashedly progressive as the right has become unabashedly regressive.
- That Bernie inspires the younger generation and will get them to come out to the polls in droves.
- That if Bernie is denied the nomination again by the Democratic establishment, we will lose an entire generation of disaffected progressive voters.
There is more and more evidence that this upcoming election will be driven by voter turnout. There are very few “swing” voters left, and almost no one who is neutral about Donald Trump. The question is whether Bernie will really drive people to the polls, and here the evidence is decidedly mixed.
- Young people, blacks and Latinos are notoriously unreliable in showing up at the polls, even when they have every reason to show up.
- Old people, on the other hand, especially old white people, are remarkably reliable when it comes time to show up at the polls.
- The Republican propaganda machine has not yet trained its sights on Bernie, and when they do, it could end up being a carnage.
I also don’t believe that a President Sanders would be an effective President, given his adversarial relationship with both the Democratic and Republican parties. In any case, I have an alternate candidate in Liz Warren who, I believe, is just as progressive as Bernie (see below).
Recently it’s come to the light that the Russians are trying to help both the Trump and the Sanders campaigns for 2020.
Why the Russians would want to support Trump seems obvious: he’s Putin’s little lapdog, and he will never hold them accountable for any of their human rights violations.
But why Sanders?
The working theory seems to be that the Russians want to sow chaos in our election. But I suspect that the Russians also believe that Trump has a better chance to beat Bernie than the other major Democratic candidates.
Would Bernie beat Trump?
The truth of the matter is that nobody f**king knows. For histrionic establishment Democrats like Susan Estrich I say, climb back into your bubble. Estrich claimed that with Bernie at the helm, Democrats would lose 50 out of 50 states.1 I don’t think there should be much doubt that Bernie would carry all of New England and all of the West Coast, and quite possibly the swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. He’s likely to lose all of the South and much of the mid-West. What I don’t know is how he’d do in states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado or New Mexico. And neither does anybody else.
But I could be completely wrong.
In 2016 I promised all of my relative in Germany that there was no way that a majority of voters in the United States would vote for Donald Trump as President. And while I was technically correct about that, I also never anticipated that Trump could win the electoral college.
People need to get off of the Anybody-but-Bernie train.
People also need to get off of the “anybody-but-Bernie” train. If Bernie wins the most delegates, if he gets the most votes, then the rest of the party should get behind him. He is already a proven vote-getter, and he would have won fair and square.
Yes, I’m terrified about what the Republican propaganda machine could to to Bernie, and how all the antisemites will crawl into the voting booth.2
But clearly I don’t know any more than any other pundit, and the fact of the matter is that Bernie has been pulling in millions of votes and millions of donations. More than anyone else.
So, unlikely as it seems, it’s just as possible that Bernie could win in 2020 as it was that Trump could win in 2016.
In any case, if Bernie wins the nomination, I will be 100% behind him, just as I was 100% behind Hillary four years ago.
My candidate is Liz.
This year my candidate is Liz Warren. The reason is that she’s just as smart (if not smarter) than Hillary Clinton, and supremely qualified. She’s just as progressive (even if from a different direction) as Bernie, and she has fewer vulnerabilities. And she’s my home-town girl. She’s earned my vote.
And, she could get slaughtered in America just as much as Bernie could get slaughtered in America.
What’s more powerful, antisemitism or misogyny? Who the f**k knows.
Who will America hate more, the curmudgeonly socialist or the “I know better than you” schoolmarm. Again, who the f**k knows.
I’m still trying to figure out why anybody would like the orange Jackass currently occupying the White House.
At this point, there is simply no way of knowing how this thing is going to play out. Until Super Tuesday it’s still anybody’s race. So, I’m just going to vote my conscience, and vote for the person whom I believe is best qualified to be President.