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Voting for Bernie Sanders is a Win-Win for Democrats

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 D. C. Rutledge

Sen. Bernie Sanders was finally able to significantly cut into Sec. Hillary Clinton's pledged delegate lead in this past week's "Western Tuesday and Saturday" contests. Sanders' campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, has repeatedly said that after March 15th Bernie would chip away at Hillary's lead until ultimately surpassing her on June 7th when delegate-behemoth California finally gets to vote. However unlikely this scenario seems to some in corporate media, the only question democratic primary voters on the fence about Sen. Sanders should be asking is: "What do I have to lose?"
Bernie Sanders' stances on nearly every major issue are enormously popular among Americans of all affiliations. Large majorities of voters, especially democrats, side with Bernie on issues like raising the minimum wage to $15/hour, requiring employers to provide paid family and sick leave, opposing the Wall Street bailout, decriminalizing marijuana, raising taxes on wealthy and corporations, opposing the U.S. policy of interventionism and regime-change, and opposing the use of U.S. ground troops to defeat ISIS, to name a few. These are progressive values that appeal widely across demographics, but, unfortunately, not to Hillary Clinton. Her proposals on many issues amount to less-than-half measures and premature compromises which will translate to very little, if any, substantive change in the status quo. She is a hawkish neoconservative on foreign policy, a corporatist neoliberal on economic policy and a moderate centrist on domestic and social policy; not exactly the standard bearer for most democratic voters. (If you're curious which candidate best represents your views on the issues, take this quiz at
Many in the democratic base prefer Bernie's ideas and stances on the issues to Hillary's, but choose to vote for her because they think she has a better shot at defeating the eventual republican nominee. This is false. For months, polling of hypothetical general election match ups between the democratic and republican candidates consistently show Bernie Sanders beating Trump, Cruz and Kasich by wider margins than Hillary Clinton. According to HuffPost Pollster's aggregated favorability polling, Bernie has a +8.7 rating compared to Hillary's -13 rating. In a recent Bloomberg Politics poll, Sanders pulled ahead of Clinton nationally among democrats, 49-48 percent. The same poll showed that 64 percent think that Bernie Sanders is the more honest and trustworthy candidate, whereas only 25 percent feel that way about Clinton. With ongoing scandals, including foreign government arms deals for Clinton Foundation donations and an FBI criminal investigation, it's easy to see why that distrust exists.
The other big reason given by democrats for choosing Clinton over Sanders is they think she has better foreign policy experience. Serving as Secretary of State for four years certainly gives her an advantage in that category, that is, until you look at her judgement during that time. In 2009, she legitimized the coup which ousted democratically elected Honduran President Manuel Zelaya. That country is now one of the most violent in the world. In 2011, she played a central role in the ousting of Col. Muammar Gaddafi, later laughing about it saying, "We came, we saw, he died!" Libya is now a stronghold for ISIS and other terrorist groups. In 2012, she pushed hard for the Obama administration to arm the Syrian rebels, another blatant attempt at regime-change. Now she is calling for a no-fly zone in Syria and the possibility of U.S. ground troops. Apart from further entrenching our armed forces in yet another Middle Eastern quagmire, her proposals have a very real chance at sparking a war with Russia. Oh, and did I mention she voted for the Iraq war? That too.
If you are a democrat who does not want to send our brave men and women in uniform to endless interventionist wars of regime-change, vote for Bernie Sanders. If you are a democrat who thinks that foreign policy judgement is more important than foreign policy experience, vote for Bernie Sanders. If you are a democrat who believes the most important issue is beating the republican candidate and regaining democratic majorities in the U.S. House and Senate, vote for Bernie Sanders. He is the only candidate at the helm of a political revolution bringing in millions of new voters who have previously given up on the political process. Bernie has the overwhelming support of Independents, millennials and the progressive base, and one third of his supporters have reported they will not vote for Hillary if she becomes the nominee, even to prevent a Trump presidency.
You can choose to look at those supporters as petulant children if you want, although they would probably want to know why you are so eager to settle for such an unrepresentative lesser-evil when there is a greater-good staring you in the face. Clinton has adopted many of Bernie's stances just since this past Fall, further suggesting that even she knows whose policies the people prefer. If you applaud her campaign's evolution leftward out of political expedience, then imagine how devastated you will feel when she pivots back to the center-right for the general election.
Voting for Bernie Sanders in the democratic primaries is a win-win for democrats. He has a better chance of beating the eventual republican nominee, he has better judgement in matters of foreign policy, and he better represents the American public's views on a host of issues important to democrats. If he ends up losing the nomination, you've still got Hillary to fall back on. So tell me, what do you have to lose?

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