Cross-posted at Daily Kos
Donald Trump has revived an old Nixonian term in claiming that his supporters constitute a “silent majority”.
Of course, like most of what Trump says, this is bunk: no poll has ever
shown him with a majority (as opposed to a plurality) of Republican
voters, and if there’s anything of which he and his supporters are
incapable, it’s silence.
But on the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has an actual claim to the title. She has held a majority of Democratic voters in nearly all the polls to date. And many of her supporters frankly have been pretty quiet.
I know because I’m one of them. I’ve been generally unobtrusive in my support for Hillary for a number of reasons.
I’ve frankly enjoyed watching Bernie’s challenge to her, and have found
it beneficial in many ways. Democracy thrives on competition, and
Democrats in particular – for good reason – don’t like coronations.
Every candidate should have competitors holding his or her feet to the
fire. That Bernie has been an articulate advocate for progressive
causes makes that challenge all the more worthwhile.
as many have pointed out, Hillary is not necessarily the type of
candidate that drives you to want to set up flaming barricades in the
street. She’s a smart, competent, experienced, articulate progressive
whose campaign style has much improved from the past. I think she will
be a formidable standard bearer for the Democratic party. But so far,
she’s led a campaign, not a movement – or, well, revolution – and so,
many of her supporters have not felt the need to scream just yet.
I’ve been confident that she will prevail in the battle for the
nomination, and so haven’t felt a necessity to raise my voice.
is, until this moment. As Bernie-mania grips the press and social
media, it is now time for Hillary supporters like me to speak up and
provide a reality check. No, I don’t mean that it’s time for more petty
sniping and name-calling between supporters on both sides – that does
no one any good. But it is time to stand up and support our candidate,
and explain why.
been more of a progressive than she’s given credit for, just as all the
media hype about her being “untrustworthy” has long been blown way out
of proportion. We’ve been breathlessly warned about “Clinton scandals”
for two and a half decades, and all we ever really got was one lousy
While staking out strong progressive positions on a range of issues,
she’s also been in the political and governmental realm long enough to
know what’s achievable. We need a candidate who not only has a strong
shot at getting elected, but who is ready to govern once that happens.
The sad fact is that Bernie Sanders is catnip to Republican political operatives, and they can’t even hide how thrilled they are at the idea of running against him. This article from Yahoo News
is a good foretaste of what you’ll hear 24-7 on the media if he’s the
nominee. Republicans will make sure you never stop hearing about his
visit to the Sandinistas in 1985, his one-time interest in nationalizing
major industries, and of course that word, “SOCIALIST”.
I understand that the Socialist label is not as toxic to Democrats as
it once was – ironically enough, probably due in part to how
continuously conservative outlets like Fox have wrongly applied the word
to standard progressives like President Obama. But that does not mean
that the general public is any more ready to accept a Socialist
president than they’ve been up to this point.
would politely challenge any Bernie supporters who think he can win the
presidency to provide me a list of self-described Socialists who’ve won
national office over the past 50 years. Few movements begin at the
presidential level. While a political revolution such as Bernie
promises would be wonderful, I’d like to see more evidence of it –
beyond thousands of white folks attending his rallies – before I sign
I suspect that many of the
young people supporting Bernie don’t know a lot about the days before
Bill Clinton’s presidency when Democrats had a heck of a hard time
winning the White House. We lost with Humphrey in ’68, with McGovern in
’72, with Carter in ’80, with Mondale in ’84 and with Dukakis in ’88 –
winning during that long stretch only with Carter in ’76 after Nixon
resigned in disgrace.
I sure don’t
want to go back to those days, but more to the point, America can’t
afford for Democrats to lose when Republicans are set to elect a right
wing lunatic like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz – or even Marco Rubio. We
can’t afford to play around when our opponents are floating insane
policies like banning Muslims, expelling 11 million undocumented
immigrants, doing nothing about climate change, or prohibiting abortion
even in cases of rape and incest.
As David Roberts discussed in Vox recently,
even if elected, Bernie would almost surely face all the same
constraints that Obama has had to deal with during his presidency.
Anyone who thinks that all the barriers to single payer health insurance
or breaking up the banks are suddenly, magically going to melt away is
smoking something that won’t be legalized under Republican rule either.
love to dream big progressive dreams, and I give kudos to Bernie for
sketching out many of those dreams so beautifully. Some will come true,
too, but only through the same grinding processes of organizing,
legislating, deal-making and day-to-day governing that constitute the
American system of governance. This will not change no matter who is
We need to win and we need
to govern, and Hillary Clinton is the best equipped to do both. And I’m
not going to be quiet about my opinion on that matter any more.