Do Clinton Supporters Have a Moral Responsibility to Support Sanders?

When the overwhelming preference among young people for Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton first became apparent, old-school feminists like Madeleine Albright were quick to vote-shame younger women for abandoning the cause of feminism. 

Now come the concerned citizens preemptively scolding supporters of Sanders who might be tempted to stay home if Clinton is on the ballot in November. We’re told that we have a moral duty to vote for Clinton, that we are sexist if we dislike her, and that a refusal to vote for her would be an act of privilege because vulnerable people will be hurt if Trump wins.

Well, let’s talk about privilege and vulnerable people for a minute. 

There’s no question that a Trump win would be a disaster. It would give a vain, unstable, and completely unqualified man great power and fan the flames of racism, violence, and xenophobia.

But if you are helping Hillary Clinton win the nomination, I think you have to check your own privilege. Because you are choosing, in this moment, to support a candidate who is deeply disliked by independents, has historically bad favorability ratings, is under investigation by both the FBI and the NSA, and is running much worse in head-to-head polls with the Republicans than Bernie Sanders.

In other words, you are choosing to put the country at risk by supporting the far weaker and far more vulnerable candidate. What does that say about your privilege?

Hillary Clinton is in deep trouble, no matter how you slice it. She is disliked by men and women, while Sanders is the only candidate with positive numbers:

Here's how she stacks up with other demographics in the CNN/ORC poll from March 1.


Here's yet another graphic from that poll, showing Sanders with a remarkable 37-point advantage over Clinton in favorability.

Right now, the Clinton campaign is rooting for the xenophobic Donald Trump to win the Republican nomination. Anything else means possible disaster for her. Even a Trump-Clinton race is extremely risky, and would rely on young people and independents, neither of which group likes her, to show up and vote for her out of pure fear. And it assumes that she can win with the cloud of a legitimate investigation hanging over her. It's too risky. The downside — a Trump victory — is much too terrible.

Which is why a New York Times editorial yesterday said, "Some Democrats may assume Mr. Trump will be easy to defeat if he is the Republican nominee, but to think that way is reckless." The Times reported: 

A recent poll by Rock the Vote and USA Today found that while 65 percent of Mr. Sanders’s millennial supporters said they would support Mrs. Clinton if she was the nominee, 20 percent said they would not vote at all, and 9 percent said they would vote for Donald Trump if he was on the ballot.

You might be angry about that. You might think it's wrong. But that's the very dangerous reality of this election.

With Bernie Sanders, we have a candidate who stands on principle, whose integrity is beyond reproach, whose campaign is funded entirely by voters, who is leading a movement of energized citizens who would help him bring us the fundamental reform we need to a system that is now in crisis mode, who rises in the polls every single week, and who would crush any Republican candidate in the general election.

So I say to supporters of Hillary Clinton: do not put our future in such jeopardy. Withdraw your support for your candidate. Hoping she is not indicted before November, hoping you can shame young people into supporting her, hoping fear of Donald Trump will get independents to vote for her — just to get your preferred candidate into the White House — is a reckless, risky, and selfish course, one that puts the future of our country at tremendous risk.

Use your privilege to do the right thing. Get behind the candidate who is stronger in every regard. Tell the super delegates that having Hillary Clinton on the ballot in November puts our democracy at risk. 

Unless you want to risk electing a fascist in November, I think you have a moral responsibility to help elect Bernie Sanders.

No, Sanders Is Not Like Nader

Privilege Is What Allows Clinton Supporters to Keep Supporting Her