Being for Bernie: a Conundrum Infinitum

You have to vote, I was told. It is wrong, so wrong, to shirk my constitutional responsibility, to throw away the fundamental right of citizenship, which so many worked so hard to get.

So I decided to support Bernie.

Remember that time you voted for Nader? It’s because of you that Gore lost. Voting for a third party candidate is wasting your vote.

I remembered. Being dressed down in public, by friends, for my transgression. So I stuck with Bernie, running as a Democrat.

Voting for Bernie is a protest vote. It’s not a serious vote. You’re still wasting your vote. He’ll never get elected. He’s a socialist. The only thing to do if you’re a progressive (am I?) is to vote for Hillary.

I think he could win. And besides, he’s no socialist. I’m sticking with Bernie.

Bernie’s a sheepdog. His only reason for running is to energize the base and capture them for Hillary. Didn’t you hear him say he’d support Hillary if he loses?

I don’t think anyone who’s supporting Bernie would feel compelled to vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination just because Bernie said so. At least I know I wouldn’t. Who are you calling a sheep?

Those stinking Bernie supporters might not vote for Hillary in the general election. They’re going to be responsible for President Trump.

Wait, what? I thought you just said sheepdog yada yada yada.

All this criticism of Hillary – it’s pure misogyny. The double standard never ends. Like, how can you call a woman “establishment”?

How can I not call someone whose campaign is financed in part by Wall Street and other corporate interests, and who is a neoliberal New Democrat through and through, “establishment”?

You really don’t get it, do you. You’re discounting her experience, her qualifications, her gravitas, and all because she’s a woman. Shame!

Her experience as Secretary of the War State? On the contrary, I’m counting that. Her chameleon-like policy positions on things like free trade and gay marriage? Maybe we should call that “anti-gravitas.” Maybe “Saturday Night Live” wasn’t so wrong in showing her morphing into Bernie.

Hey, we were for Bernie, too, but he’s too ineffectual. He hasn’t distinguished himself enough from the Democratic establishment. I mean, look, he’s voted with them 99% of the time. He ought to go after Hillary big time, like not defending her about the e-mails.

Yes, I agree, except if he did, he’d be seen as more of an out-of-touch socialist douchebag than he already is, not to mention as a big bully.

Bernie could have done better, but then he decided to go negative. He’s nothing but a big bully, interrupting Hillary, impugning her integrity. Now he’s ruined his own candidacy.

Wait, what? Sigh.

Anyway, he’ll never catch her. Superdelegates yada yada yada. You’re chasing a chimera.

Isn’t that the point – aren’t superdelegates undemocratic? We might as well just send some guys into a smoke-filled room. Anyway, at least they could change their votes. I’m not giving up.

Superdelegates were created precisely to keep people like Bernie from getting….Wait, sorry, we’ve said too much. The point is, Bernie is unelectable. He’s a socialist, remember?

Except according to polls Bernie does more favorably against the Republican competition than Clinton.

Polls are meaningless, don’t you know that?

Since when did you become so expert in poll science?

We have to save the country from Trump! We have to save the Supreme Court! You must vote for Hillary, you misogynist, dreamer, out-of-touch, spoiler-supporting, communist anarchist fool!! We hope you “Bern in”….!!!

No, don’t listen to them! You’re a traitor to the cause! The system is broken. Don’t support the duopoly!! Vote for Jill Stein!!!

Sigh.

Sigh.

P.S. I don’t “like” Bernie. I don’t “Feel the Bern.” I say without hesitation that he’s half an imperialist with a foreign policy (such as it is) that I can’t get behind. And plenty of other flaws, too. He’s as ready to say that the cretin James Inhofe is his “friend” as Hillary is to fictionalize Nancy Reagan’s AIDS “advocacy.” By running as a Democrat, he is playing inside baseball. But I’m pretty sure that’s the only way we could ever see a significantly left candidate elected in my lifetime, if not any lifetime. It’s for that reason – and because, at a fundamental level, he is different, because he is not beholden to the moneyed interests – I am sticking with Bernie.

Fred Baumgarten is a writer living in western Massachusetts.

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