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Bernie or Bust: What’s wrong with this idea?

REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Many youth demand a radical change, and Bernie is a radical man who wants a revolution in American politics.

What does a 74-year-old Brooklyn-born senator with a goofy smile have in common with a generation of newly turned 18-year-olds with smartphones and too much time for tweeting? This year, they are a match made in election heaven.

Sophie Cannon

As an 18-year-old myself, I originally found myself feeling the Bern, and a strong Bern at that. With his youth-friendly policies on college tuition, the environment, and minimum wage, it is no surprise that one of his major demographic support groups is Democratic youth ages 18-24. However, many are so in love with Sen. Bernie Sanders that if the presidential race comes down to just Democrat Hillary Clinton and (gulp) Republican Donald Trump, they have vowed to avoid the polls altogether and not vote for either candidate.

That’s where I part company with my same-aged peers and the Bernie or Bust mindset. As a Democrat, I do not want to see Donald Trump enter the White House, unless it’s to congratulate Hillary or Bernie and make his last outlandish remark. With this being said, all those who vote are exercising their right to voice their opinion, and I respect that wholeheartedly, regardless of the party they choose.

All or nothing?

What really makes me angry and frankly disappointed with my peers is the refusal to vote if their candidate of choice is not in the running anymore. This reminds me of a child throwing a tantrum and refusing to go to the zoo because he couldn’t go to his favorite park. The kid would like some of the animals there, and the zoo is sure as hell better than sitting at home alone, right? By refusing to vote, Bernie or Bust adherents are not only throwing away their chance to be at least somewhat satisfied, but also helping the opposition win and making themselves very sad, voiceless citizens. I’d much rather go to the zoo.

Some of those animals are shared by both Sanders and Clinton. Both Democratic Party candidates have pro-choice stances on abortion, are supportive of the LGBT community, and have put forward ideas on how to lower college debt and loan interest rates for students. These topics and many more of the like are what many Sanders supporters say are his selling points. A vote for Clinton if Sanders does not get the nomination would help to accomplish those same goals and help many of Sanders’ policies become reality, even without Bernie himself in the White House.

Others argue that it’s not just policy that makes Sanders an all-or-nothing candidate — it’s his whole persona. Many youth demand a radical change, and Bernie is a radical man who wants a revolution in American politics. (Sound familiar? Having a cult of personality is shared by Sanders and presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump; they draw support from people who want an abrupt, radical, and unapologetic change in politics.) 

80,000 signatures and growing

When I first heard of this movement to not vote, I was upset but not outright angry — until I dug a little deeper into just how poisonous this idea is. I first stumbled upon the website a few weeks ago, and was disgusted with the site and the number of signatures collected; as of May 24 the page had collected 80,852. That is 80,852 voices that won’t be heard if Sanders does not advance. That is devastatingly sad. I’ve waited 18 years to cast my ballot, and I would never dream of wasting it. I’m not usually a flag-waving, bald-eagle-loving, overtly patriotic person, but this is one aspect of America that everyone should be unbelievably proud of. Voting is a right here. Just take in how amazing that is. In other countries, many cannot even dream of voting or of having their vote matter.

My demographic of new voters is unhappy with the current political system, and trust me, I am too. No one likes paying an arm and a leg for college, and as someone who just wrote my first college tuition check, I can relate to the frustration. Sanders’ policies are music to the ears of 18- to 24-year-olds who love the environment, are wary of big business, and want to make more than $7.50 an hour to support themselves.

Curious to see what my Bernie-loving peers thought of him and his policies, I asked around this week, and got the expected responses.

“I love how he is always honest on his views and how he has never changed throughout his time in the government,” said Jake Robinson, an 18-year-old originally from Texas.

“He is socially compatible with what I believe in: women’s rights, people of color, and LGBT rights,” said Beryl Bils, also 18, from Edina. My 8+ interviews with 18+ youth were very repetitive in the sense that the Bernie buzz is mostly centered on his liberal and humanistic-focused policies. With my generation heavily focused on diversity, multiculturalism and opportunity, it’s no surprise that Sanders has succeeded in rallying younger voters (if they vote at all).

If not Bernie, then …

I don’t blame anyone for being a strong Sanders supporter. I support him myself. But after reviewing the results of the caucuses and preliminary polls, accompanied by other findings and personal views, I have shifted my allegiance to Hillary Clinton. For the sake of this article, I won’t delve into all my reasoning, but one reason is necessary: If it comes down to Clinton and Trump, I’m For Her 100%, even if I don’t agree with every one of her policies and ideas. Some of my peers, and 80,000 others, do not share that mindset.

“Nope. I don’t want either of those two to be president,” said Sarah Anderson, 18, when asked if she would cast her vote if it came down to Clinton and Trump. “There is really no option. If there were a good Independent party candidate, then I’d vote for that person,” she said.

I admire my peers’ desire to stick to their morals and values. This generation is one for the books in terms of advocating for what we care about and seeking to make a real change for the better. From the youth-led Black Lives Matter movement to help in making gay marriage legal, their efforts to effect change deserve the utmost respect. With that being said, I hope they don’t cast their votes aside and thereby let the opposition win

Better than withholding support:

To those Bernie or Bust supporters I would say this: Instead of not voting at all, vote for your party or the candidate you think can truly make policy for the betterment of us all. Just as we can influence who becomes the next leader of our country, we can also help to influence the policies they make once in office. Even if the Bern fizzles out, you can help elect other officials with values similar to his, you can go to rallies supporting causes you identify with, you can write letters to your representatives, and even work your own way into public office.

Thankfully, not all millennials will forfeit their vote if Bernie isn’t there.

“The whole point of a democracy is that every voice is heard, and if you don’t vote, you’re giving the other side an advantage,” said Kelly Good, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate. In complete agreement with Good and some of the other youth I had the pleasure of speaking with about this issue, I think “Bernie or Bust” is simply a busted way to view the elections.

What we need to do now is to help persuade the 80,000 and growing number of “” pledgers that their vote does indeed matter. I encourage my new high school graduates, college students, and other young adult readers to really put some thought into their vote and use it for good.

Sophie Cannon, 18, is an Edina High School graduate, an incoming freshman at Northeastern University in Boston, and an aspiring journalist.

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Comments (120)

  1. Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/27/2016 - 03:39 pm.


    Wise beyond your years

  2. Submitted by Beth Daniels on 05/27/2016 - 03:59 pm.

    “Oh, well, why not Clinton?”

    As an older Democrat, I share Sophie Cannon’s opinions. I would like to see radical change to implement racial equity, social justice, sound environmental policy, and more in our government. I have worked for these causes for decades and am tired of waiting! I supported Sanders because I felt that, even though he wasn’t likely to win the nomination, he would advance an agenda I believe in, which would ultimately benefit the country and the Democratic Party. But I am frankly horrified by Donald Trump and the people who were running on the Republican side and I am committed to making sure that those destructive people and policies are not elected! So I always knew that I would vote for whichever Democrat emerged from the convention. It is NOT a wasted vote. By contributing a vote for the Democratic candidate, we will ensure that we are not subject to having a backwards-thinking, ill-informed, frankly racist, frankly sexist, hate-mongerer as President. This is important!! In fact it’s vital.

    People who refuse to vote for Hillary Clinton leave us open to 4 (or 8!!) years of oppression and misery the likes of which this country has never seen. People’s lives are literally on the line here. For those of any age who are considering joining the “Bernie or Bust” bandwagon, think about this — whose lives are you risking by allowing for a Trump presidency? Think of the racial groups, national/cultural groups, gender-based groups, and others that Trump has thus far targeted or attacked — are you willing to put all those folks’ rights and LIVES at risk so that you can remain ideologically pure in your voting record? (If you were thinking, “I won’t be affected, my rights and my life are safe,” then please check your privilege and reconsider your position!)

    By the way, the quote, “Oh well, why not Clinton?” was popular when Bill Clinton was running for President. I was not the least enthused with him, but considered him to be a far, far better option than the Republicans. The practice of holding one’s nose and voting for the least objectionable candidate is a long-standing and honored tradition. I have supported Bernie Sanders and I will vote for the Democratic nominee. I support a process that unites the Democratic Party behind their nominee and elects this person as the next President of the United States. I cannot support anyone or any actions that diminish the likelihood of electing the Democratic nominee.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/27/2016 - 04:33 pm.


    This idea that democrats have, that they don’t have to run candidates people want to vote for in order to get the votes… is kind of bizarre and always has been. Less than 30% of the population actually identifies as democrats so these appeals to party loyalty are going to hand Trump the election. Trump will take the white house because democrats failed to run the candidate that could win. And so it goes.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/27/2016 - 06:20 pm.


      If Sanders was the candidate people wanted, why did he lose the nomination? Despite his complaints, it was Sanders who benefited the most from voter suppression in caucus states, and it still wasn’t that close.

      The reason the Republicans would rather run against Sanders, despite the current polling, is that they know they can tear him apart.

      Its not about party loyalty at all. Its about advancing causes that both Sanders and Clinton both support. If you are fine with Obamacare being repealed, LGBT and abortion rights being scaled back, Wall Street oversight being eliminated, right-to-work laws going national, and any number of bad outcomes for progressives, then go ahead and take your ball and go home. But if this isn’t just about a cult of personality, you’ll hold your nose and vote Clinton.

      • Submitted by Phil Uhrich on 05/28/2016 - 05:00 pm.

        So wrong.

        It’s a complete fantasy that he hasn’t been thoroughly exposed as attacked from all angles.

        By and large Democratic voters are in favor of his policies, the reason he has less votes is because Clinton and the Media echo chamber never shut up about how unelectable he is which becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

        Those push polls mentioned are ridiculous you can talk most people in to believing anything if you lie and sound like you have authority. They conveniently forget to mention that if you make less then 250k your taxes may go up but your total spending on healthcare would go down saving most people several thousand. Show me a poll of how many people would say no to “Would you be willing to pay higher taxes if you ended up saving money by not having to buy healthcare?” and I’ll buy that argument. College tuition would be paid for be a financial transaction tax, like the UK has, yet again taxing the rich to pay for a social good.

        The Fact is the majority of voters who would vote for a democrat don’t pay any attention to any of this and would vote for a democrat no matter what. The difference is in who will actually turn up to vote. and to quote Pew Policy Polling “The difference between how Clinton and Sanders perform against Trump continues to come completely among younger voters.”

    • Submitted by Michael Cameron on 05/27/2016 - 08:00 pm.

      Who has more votes?

      The primary and caucus system is fairly open and the results speak for themselves, Clinton so far has 13.5m primary votes to Sanders 10.5m. While It may be the case that Sanders supporters are louder (that’s certainly true in my circle), there have been many more people who have backed Clinton given the choice between to two. Yelling doesn’t make anyone’s vote count more.

      And in case you think the system was somehow rigged against Sanders, a good recent piece from five thirty eight: Given the data we have, it’s likely the case that the only way Sanders would have won the primary season is if every state held an open caucus (not exactly the best way to represent broad support given the issues with representation present with a caucus system).

    • Submitted by Steven Bailey on 05/27/2016 - 08:35 pm.

      Spot on!

      When your best appeal is that “we aren’t as lousy as them” it gets tough to keep people motivated.

    • Submitted by Mike Davidson on 05/27/2016 - 09:29 pm.

      Less than 30%

      of the population identifies as a democrat? Source please. You can’t post a statistic without backing it up.

      Also, how do you explain Barack Obama’s re-election? Obama had proven by 2012 he is no liberal, he is very much a moderate Democrat himself.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/28/2016 - 09:27 am.

      Reply to Terry, Cameron, and Davidson

      Mr. Terry and Cameron,

      You guys don’t seem to understand the fact that a candidate doesn’t win a general election because YOU voted for them in the democratic primary… you understand the difference between the primary and general election yes? If Clinton gets the nomination the democrats will have selected the most unpopular, distrusted, disliked, and untalented candidate they have to run against Trump. Clinton actually has a well documented history of blowing huge advantages and double digit leads. She came into this campaign without a single popular liberal initiative, and has organized her entire campaign around mediocre suggestions devoid of imagination or passion. Clinton supporters have been impervious to logic, facts, and rational analysis; they just want to see Hillary be Hillary in the white house, and that’s not going to win against Trump in November.

      Look: one thing it is to have a choice between two similar candidates, but Sanders and Clinton are radically different candidates and people with radically different campaign agendas, styles, and bases of support. Clinton isn’t just an alternative, she’s literally disliked, unpopular, and distrusted. The idea that you can nominate such a candidate and then demand or even expect my vote is simply fatuous. Clinton’s vote for the Iraq was a big enough mistake to demolish her foreign policy credibility. Her decades long support for job and wage killing republican economic initiatives (i.e. free trade, deregulation, and privatization) are big enough mistakes to destroy her credibility on economics. I could go on but frankly, those two facts alone rule her out as a liberal candidate. Whatever.

      Davidson, I’m not actually required to provide links, you can look stuff up for yourself, but here’s the Gallup page that shows the percentage of affiliated democrats ranging between 29% and 31%:

      • Submitted by Michael Cameron on 05/28/2016 - 09:41 pm.

        November Choice

        Your original comment was that the party doesn’t “have to run candidates people want to vote for”. I was merely pointing out how 24m people have had a chance to vote for one of those two people in a fairly democratic process, and so far more people have chosen Clinton. You can’t say that people don’t want to vote for her, when in fact more people have voted for her. And yes, I do understand how elections work.

        Yes, her unfavorable rating is higher than Sanders and every democratic nominee since 1980 ( And yet, she is still getting more primary votes than Sanders. That should give you pause, that given the head-to-head race between Clinton and Sanders for most of the Democratic primary, that she still has more votes. Maybe people just don’t want what Sanders is offering.

        Please don’t self-righteously suggest that people that disagree with you are “impervious to logic, facts, and rational analysis”. People can analyze facts given their own history and experiences and come to different logical conclusions about who may be the best candidate going forward. Suggesting that everyone that disagrees with you is wrong is a bit childish.

        When it comes down to it in November there will likely just be two candidates to vote for: Clinton and Trump. Barring something unprecedented, one of those two people will become the next president of United States. We don’t live in a world were you get another choice, we can’t live on counterfactuals at that point. You should vote, and that vote should represent who you think will more closely represent your views or is more likely to further your causes (or at least suck a little less than the other person). The idea that should sit out that vote because your primary candidate didn’t make it is simply fatuous.

        • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/29/2016 - 08:53 am.

          Follow the Curves

          Mr. Cameron, you present an argument for Party alignment regardless of candidate quality, it seems.
          Really, why should one be held responsible to back an ultimate nominee regardless ?

          This is Memorial Day Weekend, well ahead of the convention, with five months of further polling before November. So far, the HRC curve is turning negative, while the Sanders curve holds/gains strength. Perhaps we are witnessing a very large initial lag, certainly facilitated early by HRC/DNC orchestration, now closing quite rapidly. Just how relevant are those early primary victories this weekend? (Many Republican candidates certainly know that answer right now.)

          It is quite clear to me that both Blue and Red confederations are finally breaking apart, at least straining at old seams weakened by years of public disappointment. For me, at least, it’s very odd to read your strong support of “the establishment,” regardless of quality or character. How do you feel about “Cruzaders” locking steps to back Trump in November? That’s a comparable consideration.

          When did maintaining one’s personal convictions become silly, foolish, stupid, inane, idiotic, vacuous, asinine, in one word: “fatuous”?

          • Submitted by Michael Cameron on 05/30/2016 - 02:46 pm.

            Early horse race polling is not very predictive at this point in the election cycle. At this point in 1980 we would have had Carter for a second term, Dukakis in 1988, Bush in 1992, Bush in 2000 (he lost the popular vote, despite being 6 points ahead in polling at this point and most of the race), and close to a toss up in 2008 and 2012 (

            As for the use of “fatuous”, I was merely making a parallel with Mr. Udstrand’s statement that “the idea that you can nominate such a candidate and then demand or even expect my vote is simply fatuous.” I regret that word choice, especially since I think we all need to be more civil, accept that different viewpoints exist, and not assume that because someone disagrees with us they are wrong. But I did try to provide an argument for why I think that November vote is important.

            I’m sorry if my argument came off as appealing to party unity or support of the establishment. I don’t give credence to political parties or unity in that sense. But you are right in that I think everyone should be held responsible for the result in November. We have a system, flawed as it may be, that results in two choices in November, one of whom will become the next President (sitting out the vote or writing someone in is not accepting that until there are changes, one of those two people will be President and we have to live with that). Though constrained in many ways, that person will have a significant influence on the direction of the country in the next 4 or 8 years. If the person you backed in the primary made it, great you have an easy choice. If they didn’t make it, I think you have a duty to still cast a vote for one of those two people based on how closely they align with your views, or who will do a better job getting closer to what you care about. Even if that means in some cases neither will move forward on a particular cause you care about, in the aggregate, one will probably better align than the other. Vote for that person and continue working on getting one of your candidates through the primary next time. Not because of any appeal to Party, but because that’s how our system is currently built.

            • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/31/2016 - 10:09 am.

              Much appreciated…

              Thanks for the elaboration here. I certainly agree with respect to not voting so much for a particular cause, but more for a “basket” of principles and plans. It seems the adoption/hijacking of particular causes creates the damaging grit in the grease of process, overheating our bearings, if you will.

              I must still quibble with your reduction to voting “for one of those two people.” If we adhere to one elemental principle of our freedoms here, it is the broader freedom of choice. As long as more than two principled serious candidates appear on any ballot, we must not be systematically constrained by one of two. To me, that narrow spectrum you seem to prefer threatens a core philosophical principle of social foundations.

              Perhaps I stretch your thesis unfairly. If so, please consider my view one of elemental freedom as opposed to expedited process. In any case, we should note that regardless of increasingly hostile campaigning of recent years, once an election is settled, our body politic generally continues to acquiesce to reality and to the hope that any new administration will work for all of us, even when short-term results suggest otherwise.

              No matter the conveniently divisive tactics of campaigns, our citizenry in the aggregate continues to believe our system does consider everyone in defining “the good of the Nation.” It’s just becoming more and more difficult for voters to listen through all the noise to hear common convictions still held among us.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/29/2016 - 01:23 pm.

          Circular reasoning IS impervious to logic

          “Your original comment was that the party doesn’t “have to run candidates people want to vote for”. I was merely pointing out how 24m people have had a chance to vote for one of those two people in a fairly democratic process, and so far more people have chosen Clinton. ”

          Actually Mr. Cameron I said the exact opposite, if democrats want to win election they need to run candidates people want to vote for, this is an obvious political truth. The problem is they run candidates people don’t want to vote for, and then demand votes anyways. Repeating your invalid claim about 24 million voters is just circular. Every candidate that loses an election “won” their party primary, there’s no correlation between primary votes and general election victories. The question isn’t whether or not people have voted for Clinton in the primary, the question is why so many democrats vote for their weakest candidate who has the best chance of losing to Trump? All we can say about the “process” in this case is that its systemically designed to select the weakest candidate, the question is why?

          As for open elections etc. etc. actually it’s well known and acknowledged that the democratic primary process has deliberately built in mechanisms to suppress candidates like Sanders and promote candidates like Clinton. From closed primaries to super delegates and a variety of other mechanisms the field has always been tilted in favor of Clinton. Despite that, she’s not winning the nomination by a huge margin because she’s such weak, disliked, distrusted, and unpopular candidate.

  4. Submitted by Jim Million on 05/27/2016 - 05:29 pm.

    Or, Option #3

    Write in “Bernie Sanders” in the provided blank space on the ballot. If he is one’s true choice, one should do that.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2016 - 05:35 pm.


      one wants to elect Donald Trumpf.

      • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/31/2016 - 12:29 pm.


        Or, if one wants to vote conscious, conviction and build a statistical set to influence post-election actions and build a base for 2020. It is important to better know just how many did vote for “other.”

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/31/2016 - 12:53 pm.

          Yes because that has worked SO well before

          See Green Party, Libertarian Party, Constitution Party, Independence Party, hell, Bull Moose Party. But I’m SURE it’ll be different THIS time.

  5. Submitted by Charles Holtman on 05/27/2016 - 06:29 pm.

    A gentle suggestion to the author

    To argue against a position, you must engage its strongest argument, not its weakest one. The strongest Bernie-or-Bust argument is not “my candidate lost so I’m throwing a tantrum.” It is that by voting for the lesser of evils, one is in one’s own small way (the same small way as voting) perpetuating the system that puts forward two candidates each election who both will protect the status quo and ensure that fundamental change never occurs. Under the present circumstances, I come down on the side of voting for Clinton – without enthusiasm and with a sense of rare possibility forfeited. But the other argument can be made in good faith.

    The other central flaw in your essay is assuming Sanders supporters would agree that the difference between Clinton and Sanders is incremental. I would venture that the chief feature of Sanders supporters (at least older ones, who have had the time to develop a more comprehensive political-economic critique) is their view that the primary cause of nearly all of our most serious challenges is the process by which wealth and power has come to concentrate in very few hands. They would say that from this emanates climate change, radical ideology and nihilism, global public health threats, global water supply threats, systemic poverty, and also racism, sexism, “difference hate” and all of the social concerns that younger folks tend to focus on. In their view, Clinton’s isolated actions to benefit women and others outside the power structure ultimately will come to nothing if her worldview renders her unable to question the power structure or desist from advancing its prerogatives. Perhaps Clinton supporters can respond to this critique in some convincing way, but in the months of smugly dismissing Sanders supporters, I haven’t seen any of them actually try.

    It isn’t that Sanders supporters want radical, impossible change. They just want the possibility of change.

  6. Submitted by Steven Bailey on 05/27/2016 - 08:22 pm.

    You don’t get it 🙁

    I am in my 50’s. My grandfather was appointed to his job by FDR. I was registered Democrat since I was 18 and have voted every election. I have worked phone banks for Wellstone. I knocked doors for get out the vote (which is not fun). My wife and I have donated a lot of money even when it was very difficult to afford to do so. I will never vote for Hillary. I am sick of the Democratic party putting up “right of Reagan” lousy candidates and then telling me that it is my fault if they don’t win. I don’t always vote for Democrats (90% of the time I do) I voted for Arne Carlson twice and I supported one of my local state legislators who was a very decent person and a Republican. I see no future in the current Democratic party. I don’t think we should be buying everyone a pony but we can do a lot better than we have been. Trump is is a bloviating narcissist but I don’t see Hilary as any great answer. She is just kicking the republican lite can down the road and if it takes a rough 4 years of Trump to get rid of the Clintons and the DNC then so be it. The Democratic party thousand small cuts ends with the same result. As far as the SOTUS we have one of the worst justices in a long time in Thomas and it was Joe Biden who let that happen. We need systematic change and Hillary isn’t it!

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/28/2016 - 10:28 am.


      The idea that a Clinton presidency wouldn’t be much different than a Trump presidency is absurd. Millions of people will lose their access to healthcare when the ACA gets repealed and the right-wing supreme court justices Trump appoints will be around for decades.

      • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/30/2016 - 11:38 am.

        Confusion on how a Supreme Court justice gets his seat ??

        Last time I checked, the President does not determine who gets onto the Court, it’s the Senate.

        For those “liberals” here who think otherwise, and go even further in thinking our Democratic Senators will stand in the way of hard-line conservatives taking seats on the SCOTUS, here is the tally of the Senate votes for…

        Scalia – 98
        Roberts – 78
        Ali to – 58.

        It was Democratic votes that put them on the Court.

        If you really want to influence who gets on the Court, focus your time, energy, and money on the Senate races. Russ Feingold next door in WI, for example, would make a real difference. There are others – it only takes a few.

        The Republican Senators are not going to fall in line for Clinton appointees. The implication that ANY President is going to control who gets on the Court is a fallacy.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/30/2016 - 11:08 pm.

          Problem being

          It’s a LOT easier to win a presidential election for liberals than it is to win a senate majority. Pesky thing about each state having equal representation and liberals self segregating in such a manner that many of those states won’t be voting anything but conservative for many, many years.

          • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/31/2016 - 03:20 pm.

            If a problem seems too difficult, then instead of

            …going to the root of it, let’s focus on secondary matters. It’s easier !!

            This whole argument about the Supreme Court composition being determined by a Presidential election ignores history.

            • Submitted by Tom Clark on 05/31/2016 - 03:48 pm.

              The Senate doesn’t choose SC justices

              it votes on who the President nominates. Given the current composition of the court, it doesn’t make sense to have Donald Trump pick them.

              • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/31/2016 - 04:23 pm.

                The President proposes, the Senate disposes.

                Clement Haynesworth, G. Harold Carswell, Robert Bork, Harriet Miers, Lani Guinere (sp?) et. al. offer examples.

                If the GOP retains the Senate, don’t expect Clinton’s (or Sanders’, if something unexpected comes out of the FBI investigation) nominees to get a fair hearing.

                The key is the Senate. That doesn’t mean the President doesn’t matter at all, of course – the nominations are a factor – yet not decisive.

  7. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 05/27/2016 - 09:04 pm.

    Bernie’s supporters believe that Hillary is, as the Republicans describe her, a corrupt rich person and that, if they support Bernie, lots of wonderful things will happen. To me, it is Nader times 100. Thanks, Bernie.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/29/2016 - 01:44 pm.


      The idea that liberal and progressive supporters of Sanders have been influenced by republican propaganda is simply fatuous. Liberals and progressives have their own observations and reasons for distrusting Clinton that are organized around a rejection of her neo-liberalism. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with republican criticisms.

      I only respond to this because it’s been obvious from the very beginning that despite her historically low favorability and trustworhy numbers, as well as her history as a divisive character, democrats seem to have been taken completely by surprise by the negative response Clinton has provoked from progressives and other liberals. This response has nothing to do with republican conspiracy theories or other criticisms. I’ve gotten the feeling that over the last few months that Clinton supporters couldn’t imagine anything more liberal or feminists than Hillary Clinton… that was a failure of imagination, not a rock solid grasp of reality. The disconnect between Clinton supporters and liberals simply highlights conservative drift of the democratic party establishment, and that drift will put Trump in the White House. It should have come as not surprise that so many liberals would reject a moderate republican as a democratic nominee, (every significant initiative Clinton has ever supported, from Nixon’s health care plan to the Iraq War has been a republican initiative) but there you have it; the democratic establishment has been caught completely flat footed by the liberal response to Clinton, and the enthusiastic embrace of Sanders.

      The fact that American democrats actually reject basic liberal principles i.e. living wages, medicare for all, financial and campaign finance regulation, sustainable energy policy, etc. etc. tells us how far the democrats have drifted from basic liberalism. Especially when ALL of these policies have already been implemented if not somewhere in the US, in other liberal democracies. Democrats have become a party of mediocrity pretending to be pragmatic who think they can win elections by threatening people with Trump.

  8. Submitted by Mike Davidson on 05/27/2016 - 09:32 pm.

    The problem I have …

    … with the “Bernie or Bust” mindset is it’s so selfish. I understand the political zeal be brings about, and I appreciate how he inspires young people. It’s all fine and good to say “I’ll never vote for Hillary” or “I’ll just write in Bernie’s name and watch Trump win.” That works both ways. Hillary has more votes than Bernie. If Bernie actually manages to pull off the nomination I will happily vote for him. However, what if we Hillary supporters did the same thing some (not all) Bernie supporters are doing? What if we just showed up to cast our down-ticket ballots and wrote her name in, or worse voted for Trump to spite Bernie supporters? His loss would be utterly humiliating. This whole “___ or Bust” idea is stupid.

    • Submitted by Steven Bailey on 05/28/2016 - 08:00 am.

      Bernie or Bust is an incorrect meme

      I’m sure that many people who support Senator Sanders would have no problem voting for someone else if it was not Hillary Clinton. Bill Curry, former Clinton White House Counselor, was writing last year that Hillary Clinton has incredibly high negatives and would have a very difficult time ever overcoming them. The DNC anointed HRC before the primaries even began and used very questionable methods to donate 26 million to her campaign before the primaries began. I don’t know of any person that prefers Bernie Sanders who thinks he is perfect or the only one for the job. Polling has also shown that our politicians are not liked at all (below 11% approval). When people say they prefer Nickelback, traffic jams, and even lice to our current Congress there is a real problem. It is my guess that a large number of people who support Bernie would not be involved at all without him in the primaries. Many of the Bernie supporters are not lost sheep Democrats. “Bernie or Bust ” should be accurately called “Just not Hillary”.

  9. Submitted by Joe Musich on 05/27/2016 - 09:58 pm.

    The Democratic Party has …

    lost the purity of the FDR era when the collective good was a paramount issue. This is not the same Democratic Party. Obama had the rhetoric and seemed to begin with the desire. All that was needs to be restored. Ms Clinton uses the singular self descriptive pronoun too much for my ears. There are some we did so smattered in there but where are the we wills ? The Democratic Party’s imagination seems to be paralyzed. This is exactly what we all do not need. I would agree it is time to go with the strongest candidate. The candidate who has a vision for the future we all an live in and are a part of.

    • Submitted by Pat Terry on 05/28/2016 - 10:47 am.

      The opposite is true

      If you ask Al Franken why he supports Clinton, he will tell you that she came and campaigned for him and raised money for him during his first election and recount. Other elected Democrats will say the same kind of things, which is why they overwhelmingly support her. Even his fellow Vermont Senator and current and former Vermont governors support Clinton. Unlike Clinton, Sanders has never lifted a finger to help other Democrats. If you look at actions instead of words, its Sanders that has been the candidate of “me.”

      Vision is great, but if you are unable or unwilling to do the work to enact that vision, its not much good. Its why Sanders has spent nearly 30 years in congress and has almost nothing to show for it. Change comes theough legislative majorities, not nice speeches. Obama didn’t lose the desire – he lost his majority in the house.

      Someone here used the term “bloviating narcissist” to describe Trump. I think that describes Sanders pretty well too.

  10. Submitted by Jeff Ross on 05/28/2016 - 08:01 am.

    You are mistaken…

    The #BernieOrBust pledge is taken at Revolt Against Plutocracy’s website… It’s a real thing. If you are going to write about something, you should take the time to read it. It isn’t about not voting.

    It’s about voting for the person you would like to represent you, as president… By writing him in, if available in your state, or voting for the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein… Just not for Hillary Clinton.

    I don’t expect to read any unbiased truth in today’s media, anywhere. Especially in regards to Sen. Sanders. But, I expect truth from my candidate, and there is only one telling it in the Democratic primary race, and it isn’t Sec. Clinton.

    I understand the cynicism of millennials, Watergate was our generation’s disgrace… Clinton will be yours. But, to not vote? Not on the radar.

    I would vote for Trump, before Clinton, everyday. Not because I was a Republican. Not because I’m a major league liberal. Because I have a son serving in the Middle East, and because her untruths are too well documented to ignore. The fact that so many are willing to blindly support her, despite her “mistakes”, is disturbing to me.

    This is about rebooting the system… It does nothing, if you load the same virus again and again.
    Big money is that virus. It has to go. For good.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/29/2016 - 11:54 pm.

      Then make that stand

      When the resulting defeat won’t endanger the livelihoods, if not the lives of millions. The problem with this philosophy is not its principle, it’s the execution. Trump is a potential despot, a generational disaster in the making. I get that you think that now is the perfect opportunity, that Trump is such a comical villian as to make your ideological stand irrelevant to the final outcome. But it’s really not, he could win, and that would be a disaster I don’t think folks in the Bernie or Bust camp have a clear understanding of. Too many of us, myself included, have been too sheltered in terms of what real hardship is. Think about the present question from say the eyes of a turn of the century laborer. On one hand, you have a candidate who promises to maintain policies that will keep a social safety net in place, expand modestly on their protections, and if possible add new categories to their scope. On the other, is one who promises, if not implicitly, then then through implementing the policy his party already has cued up, to revert society to the conditions said laborer would recognize from his own experience. Who would THEY choose. Look, I hate advocating for Hillary as much as you do, but the alternative is suicidal. At some point logic HAS to overcome zeal.

  11. Submitted by John Ferman on 05/28/2016 - 09:51 am.

    An Additional Downside to Not Voting

    The coming election is more than the Presidency. Every US House representative is up for election and there are a bunch of US Senate seat up for election, too. Reading Bernie’s Wikpedia article tells me his history is pure red meat for the likes of Karl Rove – his minions would make a Bernie race into the filthiest ever. Neither Bernie nor Clinton will acheive anything if the Senate is not taken back and the R majority in the House is not shaved considerably. So young folks Go Vote, at least down rhe ballot. In some States state-wide and local offices are up for election. You want to make a difference – participate at all levels. Think of alk those Federal initiatives that have been thwarted by the kocal politicians.

  12. Submitted by C.S. Senne on 05/28/2016 - 10:57 am.


    Sophie, you are a wonderful writer and thinker. You, your parents, and your school deserve congratulations. You’ll be amazing at whatever you choose to do! Thanks for writing and caring!

  13. Submitted by Curt Carlson on 05/28/2016 - 12:07 pm.

    Not Hobson

    I was never a Clinton fan, either Bill or Hillary, but much of the ‘crooked’ narrative has been created by the Republicans, and most of it has been rebutted. But like Trump, mainstream Republican politicians have never let the facts get in the way. So now even those who would vote Democratic, having heard the incessant drumbeat for over 20 years, believe it too.

    Those Bernie supporters (including some who have commented here) who would refrain from voting for Clinton because they want radical change should understand that all radical changes are not for the better. The kind of change that a President Trump would bring would make anyone with a responsible bone in their body regret their inaction – when it’s too late.

    • Submitted by Steve Titterud on 05/28/2016 - 06:31 pm.

      ‘crooked’ narrative actually created by the Clintons


      Has anyone EVER cashed in on public service like the Clintons?? Or maybe you missed the $ 150 MILLION in personal speaking fees they have raked in?? Don’t even try to confuse this money with their foundation, which is yet another revenue stream. See for the $21 million she piled up in a recent 2 year period, and who the clientele are. She retorts there is no quid-pro-quo, when in the current time, none is necessary – it’s not the way it works nowadays.. These donors know they’ll get a personal hearing on issues near and dear to their hearts.

      Mrs. Clinton’s deceptions about her email server have been thoroughly shown as such in the State IG’s report. She ( and her staff, of course) refused cooperation with that investigation, unlike all the others involved. If elected, she will give us the most opaque government since Tricky Dick Nixon.

      Let’s not forget the Presidential pardon of Marc Rich after he ponied up significant $$ for the benefit of the Clintons. The defense of it: silence, except to say that it’s not illegal. Some of us expect more than skirting criminal behavior.

      These facts have NOT been rebutted. There is more, of course.

      My belief is that either Clinton or Trump will make a poor excuse for a President, and will not win a second term. Either will be plagued by a lowering of the office.

  14. Submitted by Brian Eddington on 05/28/2016 - 01:20 pm.

    The rejection of Clinton represents a long overdue political shift. The Neoliberal agenda is a Right-wing imperialistic, corporatist political philosophy that has masqueraded as Left mainly through timely support of social reform.

    It is over. We will not vote for her because she does not represent us. We will not be bullied or intimidated for voting with a candidate we do not approve of, again.

    Political science, and historical perspective, dictates that a Far-Right executive term will result in greater support for a Progressive nominee.

    Yes, Clinton has more support amongst registered Democrats. That is not enough to win the general election. If it was, this “Bernie or Bust” campaign would be impotent. It is not impotent. It will decide the general election. It has been very clearly pronounced.

    Therefore, the future of this election lies directly with the DNC and their decision of which candidate flies their banner this November. Responsibility does not lie with those voters intent on acting upon their convictions, and it is shameful for anyone to suggest that they do otherwise.

  15. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/28/2016 - 08:52 pm.

    Bizarro candidates

    Wise beyond her years, indeed. If the Democratic Party was an actual political party rather than a collection of 50 state Democratic Parties with their own traditions, histories, caucuses and primaries, I’d say the reason Bernie Sanders is not the overwhelming choice of candidates is because of lack of courage and conviction. The biggest obstacles Bernie has faced in this election from Day One has been the nagging fear, fed incessantly by the Clinton controlled DNC, is that “Bernie can’t win”, and could never stand up against the relentless assault of the Rove campaign machine. I agree with the comment by Mr. Ulrich that these attacks against Bernie have become self-fulfilling prophesy.

    Well, here we are. The Rove campaign machine, like the war machine from the last war, has been beaten and sidelined (for the time being) and now the presumptive opponent is someone I might describe (for fans of Superman comix years ago) as “Bizarro Bernie.” I can’t disagree with any of the comments above, because I can never in my heart vote for a “Bizarro Bernie” but sadly, there are a depressing number of voters in our country who cannot tell the difference between a real Bernie Sanders and a “Bizarro Bernie” or the difference between Bernie’s message and the message of “Bizarro Bernie.”

    I think HRC can beat this “Bizarro Bernie”. So far, she has made noises that are beginning to sound a bit like the actual Bernie. But has she really? Generally, successful politicians have eschewed making any revolutionary changes to the warped and corrupt political machinery by which they have attained power. If HRC is true to form, she will, like Obama and Bill Clinton and many others before her, forget her campaign promises and embrace the rotten and corrupt system by which she managed to get herself elected. I don’t have any problem with HRC as President, unless she forgets that she is only the first choice of a tottering national party with a broken, rotten and corrupt nomination system that feeds an undemocratic, rotten, and corrupt election system. She’s going to have to do much, much better. If this country is really going to be “great” again, as “Bizarro Bernie” claims he can make it, it’s going to have to have system of elections that can do better than place 26th in integrity in elections among the nations of the world.

  16. Submitted by Josh Ondich on 05/28/2016 - 09:13 pm.

    2016 Election

    This election cycle is a populist, anti-establishment cycle in which this sentiment is observed in the nomination process and even the platforms of the two governing political parties. The “Bernie or Bust” movement is one part of this election cycle. People that are 18-24 who support Senator Sanders feel something different about him that they do not in Secretary Clinton. The “Bernie or Bust” movement believe he is the only honest, not bought off candidate that represents their worldviews. It somewhat ironic to how the people that backed Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 in the GOP primaries felt about Congressmen Paul at the time. I remember Ron Paul supporters that did not back McCain in 08 and Romney in 12. I ask what is the priorities of the Bernie Sanders supporters, if Bernie losses his nomination bid. If the move is to defeat Donald Trump, then the next course of action is to support Hillary and push the DNC to accept some Senator Sander’s platform as a move for unity, but if the move is to just support Sander’s ideals, then the move would be to stay home or support a third party candidate like Jill Stein or Gary Johnson. I personally do not nitpick between supporting Hillary or Bernie, when the worst option just sealed the nomination of the Republican Party. I admit I like Former NM Governor Gary Johnson and his campaign could be a strong third party campaign, but I am focusing on the bigger picture of keeping a person like Donald Trump from becoming president. I truly believe this is the most important presidential election, not only in my lifetime, but probably in post-WW2 America.

  17. Submitted by Solly Johnson on 05/29/2016 - 03:07 am.


    Secretary Clinton often states that she will continue the policies of President Obama. Many people when they voted in 2008, I believe, had the opinion that President Obama would govern as a liberal in office while he has actually been a centrist. Often we learn much about people by whom they quote. President Obama has quoted President Reagan very often, while rarely, if never, mentioning FDR, HST. JFK. or LBJ.

    Some economists are predicting a severe recession, if not depression, in the next four years. If this is true, both political parties may experience some gains. The next President will have the opportunity to name one to three Supreme Court justices, but the party out of power will make large gains in the 2020 elections at all levels, which will affect Congressional districts being drawn to their advantage after the 2020 census.

    Thomas Frank states that the Republican Party represents the top 1% of the population while the Democratic Party represents the others in the top 10%. The bottom 90% actually have very little power in the modern political process, and it is seems that we only have a choice of racing to the bottom quickly or slowly.

  18. Submitted by beryl john-knudson on 05/29/2016 - 08:34 am.

    The land of the free and the home of the knaves?

    It’s a funny thing what the people want these days…they want certainties that a candidate can shout down from the podium; make us believe… and tell us we are the winners, the good guys in the greater global picture?

    Another’s son, another’s daughter: We have sacrificed our men and women and praise them in their dying or too often among the living still, it is their bodies broken and minds damaged by what they saw, what they had to do not for the nation but for the money makers?

    A lot of Carl in Bernie: Bernie Sanders is a poet not as Sandburg was a poet but there is a lot of Carl in Bernie…but essentially lets be honest… this nation respects power that breeds from money and greed…that’s the motto the people respect ?

    Money and greed and we’ll succeed… that is rhyme, now is the time…way to go eh?

    And when you get to the poll booth compromise, compromise…vote for the woman and boy candidates of affluence and influence…sell your soul. Grab the coattails of their grubby speeches. Two of kind in too many ways. LIE is their common theme so live with it, vote for it…we get what we vote for and hope it pays us back in the end?

    Vote with a ‘winner’ and you’ll be a winner… Joe and Joanna Blow is it?

  19. Submitted by Bill Willy on 05/29/2016 - 03:53 pm.

    Two words . . .

    In addition to what Pat Terry had to say under “selfish,” anyone thinking about “sitting this one out” or registering some kind of protest vote ought to spend a little time between now and November contemplating these two words (and doing a little “in-depth research” on what they actually mean, if necessary, or if you’re too young to have a “visceral” understanding):

    Dick Cheney

    In terms of the ideas of “democracy” and “American citizen’s most basic and important Right” (and, supposedly, the “equal responsibility that goes with it”), it was people deciding to sit it out or register a protest vote in 2000 that handed Dick Cheney all the power he needed to do what he did to the United States and the world.

    This whole issue and all the (Dem, liberal, progressive, independent) hair-splitting going with it reminds me of the story of “The Princess and the Pea”: If you’re okay with taking a chance on what (more) the “next evolution” of a George Bush Junior presidency might do to your life and the lives of a whole lot of other people (here and around the world), that’s “your right” as a “proud American purist.” Have at it. Don’t vote. Or don’t vote for Hillary. . . Have a good (righteous) snit.

    But no one should think Trump will be any more of a match than Georgy was for the Dick Cheneys (and the vast array of spooks he represents) of the “Modern American Political World”: Trump (and half + 1 of America) may think he’s a brilliant tough negotiating outsider who will “bring real change,” but those guys will tie him in knots (he doesn’t know exist), eat him for lunch and get straight back to their (Obama-interrupted) plan for “The New American Century.”

    And when it comes to where you (probably) live, Jon Kingstad is 100% right: Want more of what we’ve gotten from Kurt Daudt, Joyce Peppin, Steve Drazkowski, Paul Torkelson and the rest of the MN Republican Brain Trust? . . You up for a couple more wasted legislative years? . . More bad roads, more and more traffic combined with less and less environmental regulatory interference (with unbuffered “public ditches” on hog confinement, beef, dairy and poultry feed lot factory farms, for example) via “common sense funding curtailment” of organizations like the MPCA? . . You okay with no funding for light rail in exchange for no funding for upgraded rural water treatment facilities and quicker pollution of the 60% of MN lakes, rivers and streams that aren’t wrecked yet?

    If so, you know what to do . . . Sit this one out, register a protest vote, or just go ahead and get it over with and vote Republican.

  20. Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/29/2016 - 11:39 pm.

    Simple foolishness

    I am a Bernie supporter, voted for him in the caucus, would love to vote for him in the general. To my fellows, imagine this future, roe vs. wade overturned. Marriage equality recriminalized. The EPA, dept of ed., blm, fws, hud, hhs, irs, labor, either abolished or rendered unrecognizable. Social Security, Medicare, gone. Tens of milllions again without healthcare. Someone like Rudy Giuliani as head of Homeland security, Chris Christie as AG, Sarah Palin as Secretary of State. Pick your hedge fund manager as Secretary of Treasury. Folks like Peter Thiel with the ear of the leader of the free world. Detention facilities for immigrants, police state conditions at ports and air terminals to screen against incoming Muslim travelers. A meglomanical fascist with access to world ending weapons. No one will remember your principled stand, no one will remember who was right or wrong. All that will be remembered was that it was we who allowed this to come to pass, that it was we who enabled the suffering of multitudes. What is the end game? I know the prevailing argument is that “well if Trump wins, the suffering will finally cause the apathetic to “wake up””. Really, so how does that work exactly? I’m fairly certain, were I the person on the receiving end of the suffering that is in the offing from a Trump presidency, the last person I’d be looking to for enlightenment is the won screaming “I told you so” as society burns around us all. Principle is wonderful, I stick to it as much as is possible. Self immolation is the province of zealots, and zealotry seldom leads to anything but sorrow. To accomplish what we all seek, there must be something left to build upon, Clinton is far from an ideal candidate, to be sure, but what’s left in her wake would provide far better fodder for a more perfect future than the ruin left by her opponent. I know, I know you’re saying to yourself “Trump hasn’t even proposed half that stuff, and the folks that have don’t support him”. Trump is about power, he will do what gives him power. If supporting what will still be an arch-conservative Legislature gives him more power, he’ll do so. We complain that Washington corrupts progressives, just think what it can do to someone with his proclivities. What I am saying IS NOT hyperbole, I understand why you make yourself believe that it is, one has to sleep at night, but please, I implore you, recognize reality for what it is, know your enemy. I have kids, you might too, whose future depends on it.

  21. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/30/2016 - 09:45 am.

    A note about “selfishness”

    It’s kind of interesting to see some off the convoluted reasoning behind some of these accusations of: “selfishness”, as if voting for a parties best interest is less selfish than voting for one’s own self interest.

    The whole concept of democracy is actually based on the premise that people, when given a chance, will vote in their own best interests. Any other assumption renders the whole notion of democracy incoherent.

    Now as adults we realize that: “self interest” isn’t necessarily as personal matter, voting for women’s rights doesn’t necessarily benefit me personally, but I benefit by extension because my wife and the other women in my life are better off. Likewise with civil rights and racial equity. On the other hand, as member of the middle class, voting for higher wages, universal health care, affordable education, sustainable energy policies, etc. benefit me directly AND indirectly.

    In fact, the progressives that support Sanders are in fact some of the least “selfish” voters in the country because we’ve always fought for the rights and well being of the most unrepresented and disenfranchised among us. As a white male with a valid drivers license I was not fighting for my own access to the ballot when I apposed voter ID restrictions. Nor was I as a heterosexual married man fighting for my own right to marry when I apposed the institutionalized bigotry of marriage restrictions.

    Yet here I am being told that my failure to support a party that has stalled the women’s movement, stalled and rolled back labor rights and union participation, privatized government, hammered the middle class in service of neo-liberal economic policy, and literally blocked universal access to health care… I’m being selfish.

    We live on a bizarre political landscape wherein we’re told that by refusing to support one of two political parties that refuse to represent the best interests of the majority, we’re being selfish, as if party loyalty is less “selfish” than liberalism.

    It’s critical for liberals in this country understand that conservatives in Kansas aren’t the only ones who’ve been conned into voting against their own best interests.

    The fact is democrats need our votes to win elections, and when we tell them what kind of candidate we’ll vote for, they respond: “That’s nice but you’ll vote for the candidate we give you.. or else”. Then they lose elections and blame us for our lack of party loyalty. This has been going on for decades and it’s tearing both parties apart because frankly, they’ve become intellectually dense.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/30/2016 - 06:15 pm.

      We play the cards we’re dealt

      Whether or not it’s a crapper deal, there IS a major difference between the crappy candidate for the Democrats, and the insane candidate for the Republicans. To pretend that the results of their election would be the same is no less intellectually dense. You know I support Bernie, at the beginning of this fiasco I thought you had agreed with my plan to support him as long as was feasible, then support whoever was necessary to prevent the back slide of society. Surely you don’t think Trump is that candidate, so what’s changed? I think it less a matter of selfishness, than a matter of stubbornness in the face of condescension from the other side, but at some point don’t we need to accept reality as it is, and attempt to mitigate possible damage? To me, the analogy that best fits the Bernie or Bust folks is this, the patient, American society, is in dire straits, condition is critical. Their plan is to perform a heart transplant, which would save the patient, but don’t bother to notice the fact that the patient is bleeding out and will die long before they complete their procedure. Would not the best course in this situation be to stabilize the patient first, THEN go about the business of switching out the innards of our political process?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2016 - 08:21 am.

        I’m not endorsing Trump

        I’m just explaining how it is that democrats lose to candidates like Trump, it’s a documented historical trend.

        Sure voters play the hand their dealt but you make the mistake of assuming there are only two cards in the deck when in fact every presidential election has a least four options: 1) One of the two parties. 2) There are always more than two names on the ballot. 3) You can write someone in who’s not on the ballot. 4) You can opt out of the game all together and either not vote, or vote for everyone except the president.

        There’s no point in arguing about which of these choices makes the most sense, we just know that voters take advantage of ALL of them in every election, and that’s how guys like GW and Tim Pawlenty get elected, it’s how Trump will get elected.

        The argument that if you don’t vote for on candidate you’ll get the other is the weakest and least motivational argument anyone can possibly make for a candidate. If you’re already making that argument for Clinton before she’s even got the nomination… I think you’re toast, she’s lost before the campaign has even begun. That’s history, every time democrats are stuck with that as their primary argument the lose. That message didn’t work for: Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, or Kerry, and it won’t work for HRC.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/31/2016 - 12:50 pm.

          We’ll have to agree to disagree I suppose

          You still treat this as a normal election cycle, with a normal opposition candidate, normal opposition support. Simply saying ho hum, Democrats gonna screw up again negates the very real threat THIS election and THIS candidate poses to society. To your other point, I might gently suggest that perhaps it was a BIT more complicated than you suggest. Mondale was a sacrificial lamb, Dukakis a terrible campaigner (both were however quite liberal by today’s standards) Gore was tainted by his predecessor’s transgressions (both real and perceived). Kerry most closely fits your description, but I wonder whom you’d have liked as a replacement? God bless him, but if your plan is to go to war with Dennis Kucinich as your general, I suggest you change tactics.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2016 - 02:51 pm.

            I don’t actually see where we disagree

            I never said anything about this being a normal election cycle, it certainly is not, but regardless of any unique character it may have, weak candidates still lose and Clinton’s the weakest candidate to run against Trump. I honestly think Trump can win, and only HRC can lose. And no matter how unique this election cycle may be, it won’t defy the laws of physics (sic). Every time democrats have relied on threats to convince voters that they have to vote against republicans… democrats lose. Sure I think that’s a bad thing, but it’s out of my hands, my vote for Clinton won’t put her in the White House.

            The other day I heard Trump banging away with his new message against Clinton, he was saying: “I’ll always be for America first. Clinton is the candidate for the powerful and wealthy. I’m the candidate for ordinary people and I’ll fight for American jobs and decent wages”. Fact is he can win with that message, and Clinton doesn’t have any effective response. Sanders would stomp Trump on that, but Clinton won’t. Sure, it’s BS coming from Trump, but it’s a winning message and Clinton never has had a winning message beyond being Hillary. Unfortunately for too many voters being Hillary is actually a liability.

            Likewise I don’t see where we disagree on the weak candidates, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry. You just explain why they were weak candidates in more detail than I did. 🙂

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/31/2016 - 04:06 pm.

              Yes your individual vote

              May not matter, but the thrust of this article is that the “movement” called Bernie or Bust might by changing its philosophy. This would be a correct observation, no? My personal take on it as a whole is that it’s not just a reflection on Clinton, as you seem to think, or some battle between old and new style liberals, but a reflection on the fractuous nature of liberalism, that ridiculous impulse to impassioned zeal over one or two topics, to the exclusion of all others, that continues to deny our side the opportunity to truly coalesce to attain power on the level of conservatives. Republicans HATE Trump, yet rest assured they’ll all pull the lever come November. Call that sort of command detrimental to whatever you like, victory brings power, if you’d like to get done the things that you think should, you need to have power to do it. Whether or not the candidate is weak, strong, or indifferent, aiding the enemy will never be the end game that gives the results liberals are looking for.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/31/2016 - 04:52 pm.

              On candidates

              Perhaps I took your argument wrong, but weren’t you suggesting that the problem lie with the Party, and presumably party members shooting themselves in the foot by selecting weak candidates? I guess to better summarize my point, those “weak” candidates were the best of the options available, at least to my knowledge (do you suggest others?). If so, how is that a question of judgement on the part of party voters? I would even throw party insiders a bone in that candidates still do have to choose to run, it’s not as if we’ve yet reached the point of desperation that we must strong arm folks into the decision. I fail to see how today’s situation, where some feel one candidate has been annointed while one railroaded has any real parallel in past races. Nor where such suggestions of voter discontent could play such a role in then outcome, perhaps with the exception of 2008, where it didn’t really come to fruition. What are you getting at with your dissection of past candidacy, with regards to this situation, I guess would be the overarching question.

  22. Submitted by Charles Thompson on 05/30/2016 - 04:09 pm.


    To all true Bernlievers – Remember Ralph Nader, and the GWB he gave us. Want to see that movie again? Go for it.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2016 - 08:32 am.

      The weakest message for the weakest candidate

      Yeah, if don’t vote Clinton we’ll end up with Trump… the weakest possible campaign message that has repeatedly failed over the decades. Tens of millions of people are telling you they either won’t or don’t want to vote for Clinton, you run her anyways, then it’s someone else’s fault you lost the election. You deliberately walk away from tens of millions of votes you need to win the election… and it’s not your fault you lost the election. This is why we can’t trust the political sense of the democratic establishment.

      You have two candidates, one with historically high unpopularity and untrusted rates that tens of millions of LIBERALS are telling you they either don’t want to vote for, or flat out won’t vote for. And they you have another candidate that tens of millions are flocking to enthusiastically, that every liberal (and most independents) will vote for, and who is actually the most popular and trusted candidate in the entire field of democrats or republicans… and your gonna roll the dice on the unpopular candidate and blame the voters for losing. And so it goes. Say: “Hello” to President Trump everyone.

    • Submitted by Jim Million on 05/31/2016 - 08:51 am.

      I don’t remember this.

      How did Ralph Nader give us GWB? First time I’ve noted this particular bank shot. Can anyone elaborate?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/31/2016 - 10:52 am.


        The theory is that Nader drew necessary votes from Gore, especially in Florida. The problem is, Gore actually won Florida and managed to lose anyways, and more democrats actually voted for Bush than Nader in Florida.

        Gore was a tough call for democrats because he was an incumbent. Nevertheless, like HRC he wasn’t the strongest candidate in the field but they went with him anyways… and then blamed Nader for his loss.

        In the end Gore’s main campaign message was: “If you don’t vote for me Bush will win”, and again, I’m not sure that message has EVER worked for any candidate in US history and don’t expect it will work for HRC this time. People talk about how spooky Trump is, but they seem to forget he just got the nomination so he’s not without votes and supporters.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 05/31/2016 - 01:00 pm.

          So who then

          Bill Bradley? Or is there some other forgettable also ran who should have been the nominee? At some point there needs to be acknowledgement that despite our personal preferences for a particular candidacy, nostalgia does tend to rose tint our view of electoral history. Especially when that nostalgia is for some idealized vision of what could have been. Fact if the matter is, I deeply regret my Nader vote, as inconsequential as it was in my safe state, it did nothing to further liberalism, it didn’t motivate anyone to revolt against conservatism (see 2004), and it sure as hell didn’t move the party left.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/01/2016 - 08:31 am.

            Gore won the election

            He just couldn’t get into the white house because they blew their legal strategy for the Florida recount, had they demanded a statewide recount Gore would have been president. You can’t blame THAT on Nader.

            • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/01/2016 - 11:08 am.

              Were the margins not so close

              The Florida decision might have been irrelevant, so yes, you can.

              • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 08:38 am.

                The margins were so close…

                Because Gore was a such a weak candidate, period. Had Gore been a stronger candidate Nader would not have been a factor one way or the other.

          • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/01/2016 - 02:21 pm.

            Bill Bradley

            There are a lot of nice things you can say about Bill Bradley, but he makes Hillary look like an amateur when it comes to being connected to Wall Street.

    • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 06/01/2016 - 02:57 pm.

      It wan’t Nader: Gore lost because of Gore

      After nearly 16 years, the canard about Nader costing Gore the 2000 election should have a stake driven through its heart.

      1. Gore didn’t own the votes of anybody who voted for Nader. Gore had to earn those votes … and he failed to do that.

      2. Gore didn’t win Tennessee, his home state. Gore didn’t win Arkansas, Clinton’s home state. If Gore had won either of those states, Florida wouldn’t have been an issue.

      • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/01/2016 - 03:29 pm.

        If only Gore had won Texas

        or Georgia, or Alabama, or etc. misses the point that Nader voters did cost Gore Florida and New Hampshire as well. Those who voted for Nader did themselves no favors, and that’s the historical fact.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 08:40 am.


          Gore WON Florida. Nader didn’t cost him anything. Gore’s team just didn’t win the election because they didn’t demand a state-wide recount.

          • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 08:54 am.


            there wouldn’t have been a need for a recount in FL if Nader hadn’t run as a spoiler in the first place.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 09:22 am.

              This is a circular argument

              Again, more democrats actually voted for Bush than voted for Nader in Florida because Gore was a such a weak candidate. You blame Nader because Gore lost, but Gore didn’t lose. Then you blame Nader because the vote was so close, but Gore won. Then you blame Nader again because despite the fact that Gore won, he lost the recount. And now you blame Nader for the recount as if Gore’s losses all over the rest of the country were irrelevant. EVERYONE but Al Gore is responsible for Al Gore losing to Bush.

              Look, this is how elections work: People run for office and someone gets a majority of votes. Those who get the get the votes: “win”, and those who do not get the votes: “lose”. You either get the votes or you don’t. If you want the votes, you have to run your strongest candidates, you can’t run weak candidates and expect to win. This is common sense yet over and over again we’ve seen democrats defy common sense by running weak candidates. It’s simply ironic that they run these weak candidates under the pretense of political pragmatism, as if those who want strong candidates are the politically naive voters. And so it goes. This is why democrats lost again to Bush four years later even though Nader didn’t run. We were told without a “spoiler” in the race it was in the bag… well it would have been had democrats been willing to nominate an anti-war candidate but instead they nominated a guy who voted for the war… the rest is history.

              • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 10:42 am.


                If Al Gore was such a weak candidate, how did he get more votes than Bush nationally? So let’s dispense with that unsupported claim and focus on what actually happened in Florida. First, it’s a swing state, certainly back in 2000. Gore as we well know did win 49.99% of the vote there, literally losing by a margin of a few hundred votes. A state-wide recount would have still resulted in a narrow margin for either candidate. So Nader’s getting nearly 100,000 votes in Florida really did hurt Gore and cost him the election. You can’t excuse that by pretending that Nader didn’t matter.

                • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/02/2016 - 11:33 am.

                  And if we really want to talk about Florida was lost…

                  … it happened months before the election when Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris (ahem) erroneously purged thousands of African-American voters off the lists of registered voters.

                • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 06/02/2016 - 01:44 pm.

                  Gore cost Gore the election!

                  “So Nader’s getting nearly 100,000 votes in Florida really did hurt Gore and cost him the election.”

                  You and the rest of the Nader Blamers assume that the people who voted for Nader all would have voted for Gore if Nader didn’t run. Well, that’s just plain BS. There’s not a single shred of evidence to support that position. It’s just a convenient way to avoid the truth, that every candidate on the ballot was legally qualified to be there and every person who voted for a candidate did so willingly.

                  I repeat:

                  Gore didn’t own anybody’s vote. He had to earn the votes of everyone who voted for Nader. Gore failed to do that.

                  Those three statements are true.

                  • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 03:44 pm.

                    Nobody owns your vote

                    but you do owe it to your fellow man to consider the common good rather than indulge in a protest vote, especially in important swing states like Florida. Even if only one out of 100 Nader voters in Florida had voted for Gore, Gore would have won. That’s a simple fact by the numbers. We’d have all been better off, including you. A protest vote that helps elect Trump President is the wrong thing to do, period.

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 02:07 pm.

                  Gore did not lose Florida

                  49.99% was more than Bush. You’re contradicting yourself. If Gore was such a strong candidate who won the state, why didn’t he didn’t get into the White House? Nader didn’t tell him demand a partial recount instead of a full state recount.

                  This has always been silly, people voted for a lot other candidates in FL, not just Nader, it still comes down to Gore losing. No candidate is entitled to votes, they all have to earn them. It’s so weird, you guys always blamed Nader instead of Bush or the guy who actually lost the election.

                  See, this is why you guys lost again with Kerry, you wouldn’t admit you blew it with Gore so you didn’t learn.

                  • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 03:49 pm.

                    Not sure what you don’t get about swing states

                    but the facts were that Gore by winning the popular vote refutes your assertion that he was a “weak” candidate. You want a weak candidate, look at McGovern or Mondale, who both lost in landslides and weren’t also facing independent candidates, like Anderson in 1980 or Perot in 1992. Nader’s vanity campaign siphoned off enough voters in swing states like Florida and New Hampshire to cost Gore those states and the Electoral College. I do blame Nader for given Bush the breaks he needed to become President.

              • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/02/2016 - 11:58 am.

                Not stupidity, but cupidity

                The Democratic party doesn’t run weak candidates because it lacks common sense. It does so because for a long time now, the tenor of Democratic voters, and of the nation as a whole, is properly unimpressed with establishment candidates, but the Democratic establishment would rather lose – yet retain its spoils as the lesser partner in the establishment duopoly – than prevail with a candidate who will not ensure that establishment prerogatives are protected.

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/02/2016 - 12:11 pm.

                And again

                We return to the question of who else? Voters vote for the options listed, if “Democrats” are responsible for running weak candidates who is to blame? Voters, the Party, ostensibly “stronger ” candidates with the gall to not put themselves through the election wringer? You have made your case as to what you think the problem is, (whether we all agree or not), what could have been done differently given the current, and past state of affairs (in “reality” not hoped for perfection) that would meaningfully change the situation?

                • Submitted by Bill Willy on 06/02/2016 - 02:58 pm.

                  And again and again . . .

                  Interesting (overall) comments thread, but got to agree with Matt on this one: It would be refreshing to read a little bit about some specific potential solutions to the extensively articulated problems.

  23. Submitted by Jim Million on 05/31/2016 - 10:31 am.

    Sophie Cannon

    You have presented a well-constructed garment of reason, one that has produced a thread count of 47 (so far), making your submission successful in promoting mostly thoughtful reaction and exceptionally civil discourse. If you might wonder about your impact upon this usually diverse and pretty astute audience, be pleased.

    Your thinking, writing style and generally calm reasoning have produced some very thoughtful reaction and comment, including newer voices here. Whatever your personal measure of success might be in this, by MinnPost standards and measures, you have produced a most meaningful result.

    Please don’t push yourself toward the expediency of future postings; but for the good of considered conversation, do please provide more thought for our collective reaction. Thank you, Sophie. Really good stuff.

  24. Submitted by Tom Clark on 05/31/2016 - 03:14 pm.

    I expect this all to blow over

    when there’s finally a nominee. If it’s Clinton, I’m betting that most of Sanders supporters will vote for her given the alternative is President Trump and the Republican Party in control of the federal government.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/01/2016 - 08:27 am.

      This is why Trump will be our next president

      It matters who your candidate is and the: “be afraid” of the other guy message has never won an election.

      • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/01/2016 - 09:46 am.

        I think you’re missing some history here

        I recall the “Daisy” ad from 1964 that LBJ’s campaign aired about Goldwater. Not that Goldwater helped his case by saying things such as “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice” given the Cuban Missile Crisis happened just a couple of years earlier. Trump’s own off-the-wall racism, threats, and sleaze should provide ample fodder for negative ads, which of course influence voters. Given that Sanders is also pushing a negative line about Clinton, I find you’re assertion here rather unconvincing.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/01/2016 - 10:39 am.

          Uh huh…

          I’m afraid I find your historical reach all the way back to 1960s lacks credibility. Let’s talk about 2004… the last time democrats tried to scare us into voting for their candidate by telling us if we didn’t vote for their pro-war candidate we’d be stuck with Bush for another 4 years. I remember being afraid of Reagan, Bush, AND Bush again… they still won. By the way, people were afraid of Nixon and he won anyways as well.

          See, the problem is too many liberals will not admit the fact that democrats have stalled the liberal agenda for three decades. These liberals can’t understand Trumps success because they think we’ve made “progress” when in fact we’ve been losing ground for decades. Trump may be the most overtly racists and misogynist candidate the republicans have ever nominated, this 50 years AFTER Roe v. Wade and 60 years AFTER the Civil Rights Act. Attempts to restore workers benefits and wages BACK to their standards in the 1950s are considered “controversial” by democrats! Racial segregation, gender inequality, and voting restrictions have all made a comeback not to mention the fact that our police routinely shoot unarmed people of color (and others) to death. So when you claim that Americans won’t tolerate or accept a guy like Trump… dude we’re already there and have been for at least a decade. THAT’s why Trump is the republican nominee and that’s why he’s our next president if the democrats don’t run a credible candidate against him. I’m afraid your “outrage” train left the station long ago.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/01/2016 - 11:22 am.

            The problem is that you posit that all this has happened

            In a vacuum. That the only limiting factor between the liberal paradise that might have been and what we have now is a lack of will from those of us considered Democrats. There was such a thing as pushback from the other side, particularly in the 80s that was rather successful. As I stated earlier, it’s not as if some very liberal candidates weren’t put forth for consideration, not only to the party base, but to the national electorate as a whole. They got trounced. I can agree that it’s past time for the neoliberal experiment, (which I think you can agree was a not unexpected response to the beating taken during the Reagan years) to be over, but to pretend that all the troubles of liberalism can be ascribed tkwrong headed choices and weak messaging from the subset of liberals calling themselves Democrats is a cop out. “Progressives ” (a label I hate, and which you might notice I purposely avoid using), have as much to answer for regarding their lack of cohesiveness, and utter disdain for the actual nut and bolts machine building that is necessary in our current political system, in the analysis as to why liberalism has yet to achieve the power necessary to accomplish the goals it has put forth.

          • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/01/2016 - 11:31 am.

            If the comparison is with Trump

            it doesn’t lack credibility, especially if you’re “Mexican”, and given Latinos haven’t had high voter participation rates in the past that doesn’t bode well for Trump in the general election, particularly in Florida. Trump’s M.O. is overt racism (and sexism), which plays to those whites who have already been voting Republican already. There’s a reason why the GOP has always used so-called “dog-whistles” when making appeals to their base, and while Trump can win the GOP nomination by going for the id himself, there’s already a backlash occurring. I’m not sure why you’re discount Trump’s negatives here, which are considerable to say the least.

            At the same time, you’re discounting the fact that Hillary Clinton does support a higher minimum wage, justice for minorities, is obviously pro-choice, etc. She has real strengths as a candidate that we’ve seen already and when you factor in Obama’s popularity and ability to increase turnout for Democrats in the general election, I like our chances.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 08:52 am.

              If only…

              Mexicans could vote for American Presidents.

              All of the democrats that have lost to republicans in the last 40 years were pro-choice. Women’s rights to abortion are more precarious now than at any time since Roe v. Wade and many of us attribute that to the stalled women’s movement and weakest possible defenses by democrats like Clinton.

              The fact is Clinton’s “positives” are weak, that’s why she’s the most disliked and distrusted, candidate you have. Sanders has nothing but positives yet you want to roll the dice with your weakest candidate. Whatever.

              The reason centrist democrats lose is because Americans are actually more liberal than democrats give them credit for and most American’s are actually not in the “center”. A liberal candidate is forced to defend against attacks and criticisms from the right flank. Centrist candidates have to defend against attacks from both sides, something Clinton is illustrating quite convincingly.

              • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 09:14 am.

                If Hispanics turned out for Democrats like Blacks do

                Arizona, North Carolina, and even Texas would flip to the Democrats in the Electoral College. They’ll turn out for Clinton. For Sanders, not so much.

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 12:07 pm.

                  Exactly backwards

                  If Hispanic and black voters determined elections in places like TX, AZ, and NC republicans wouldn’t be in control there in the first place.

                  And I still don’t know why some democrats think they’re most distrusted, disliked, and disqualified candidates is more likely to “flip” states? For all his faults Trump has shown a talent for motivating new voters while HRC actually fails in that regard. Furthermore the dislike and distrust of Clinton is far more likely to energize republican votes against her than bring in new voters for her. Sanders can get the majority of Latino and Black votes (because IF they vote, they won’t vote for Trump) and he’s two or three times more popular than Trump among the independents and white voters he and Trump will compete for. Clinton, not so much.

                  • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/02/2016 - 12:49 pm.

                    Facts are stubborn things

                    I recall that Obama did win NC in 2008 and came close in 2012, so factoring in Hispanic voters participating at higher rates would help tip the scales there and elsewhere. Check out FiveThirtyEight’s Swing-O-Matic app and play with that if you like.

                    As for Trump motivating new voters, nada. He’s drawing from existing voters who may not be nominal Republicans but have voted reliably Republican in past elections. Politico has this to say on the subject:


                    To say that Sanders is bringing in new voters is mistaken, given that Clinton has in fact gotten more votes than Sanders has. Sanders has done well primarily in caucus states that reward highly motivated participants who are willing to invest hours of their time to express their preference. Clinton on the other hand has done well in states where there are higher minority populations and Democrats will benefit from that in the general election. If Clinton happens to lose some votes to Jill Stein, I think that’s more than offset by the number of minority voters who don’t see Sanders as representing what’s important to them.

                    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 02:31 pm.

                      It’s actually a documented fact

                      Sanders is capturing more new voters than Clinton. In fact that’s one reason he’s lost some of the primaries and caucus’s, they didn’t get registered in time.

              • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/02/2016 - 12:20 pm.


                You are veering into territory demarcated by hubris. You THINK Americans are more liberal than the Democratic Party gives them credit for. Conservatives also THINK they represent a vast silent majority that also fails to materialize when election time rolls around. The problem comes when one fails to account for the great diversity of thought that falls under those two labels and how much each individual tenet plays a role in determining personal decision making. What you are really attempting to convey is the belief (and that’s all it is really) that more Americans hew towards YOUR view of liberalism than what is currently understood to be common wisdom. That may very well be the case, but given the current state of affairs it is certainly fair game to call such thinking into question.

                • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 02:26 pm.


                  ” What you are really attempting to convey is the belief (and that’s all it is really) that more Americans hew towards YOUR view of liberalism than what is currently understood to be common wisdom. :

                  That’s exactly what I’m saying. Given the failings of conventional or common wisdom, I think I’ve got good argument. And it’s not just me, Sanders has gotten millions of votes, he’s popular, trusted, and has a strong record. All of which defy common wisdom. The “hubris” is assuming that Clinton is the the strongest candidate despite her track record, poor performance, and historically low levels of trust and favorability. I’m not the one claiming to represent the silent majority, those claim to be cognizant of ALL those other “perspectives” and who they’re most likely to vote for are the ones delving into hubris.

                  We could delve into all the survey data over the decades that’s consistently shown American’s to be more liberal than either party, and certainly more liberal than the corporate media assumes, but that’s way off topic, suffice to say that it may be my opinion, but it’s not an ill informed opinion. This goes way back. For instance in 1968 despite the fact that the majority of Americans thought the Viet Nam war was a mistake and that out troops shouldn’t have been there, the democrats refused to run an anti-war candidate. We could talk about more recent issues like gay marriage, and voting rights, etc. but it’s pretty clear that the democrats have in many ways been to the right of the electorate pretty consistently.

  25. Submitted by Tom Kelly on 05/31/2016 - 08:49 pm.

    It’s more about a political revolution

    I’m pretty weary with the comparison of #BernieOrBust to being a pechulent child taking his ball and going home. It betrays an ignorance of the deeper meaning of the Sanders campaign. From the beginning, Sanders has been stressing the inability of ANY president to make change that challenges corporate power or interests. It will depend on us to stand in opposition. If we fall in line with a candidate that embodies everything we stand against, this campaign disappears like smoke.
    If you are someone who doesn’t believe #BernieOrBust makes any sense, I suspect it is because you are someone who still identifies as a Democrat. You see this simply as a contest, a horse race. It’s just not.

    • Submitted by Tom Clark on 06/01/2016 - 07:57 am.

      It’s about political evolution

      not revolution, as it was Sanders who elected to run in the Democratic presidential primary. It’s not just a horse race, as the Democratic Party of 2016 is to the left of what the Democratic Party of 1996 was, and Hillary Clinton also will name SC justices who will reverse Citizens United, will raise the minimum wage, will not pass TPP without more protections for U.S. workers. In other words, this isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition that absolutely depends on Sanders being the nominee.

    • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/01/2016 - 02:30 pm.

      Bernie supporters who fail to support Hillary Clinton may find out that the next time they try to storm the castle that President Trump has made the moat wider and deeper, the walls taller, and he’s added more cauldrons of boiling oil.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 09:02 am.

        Problem is…

        We’ve been doing this for decades and democratic “moats” are just as deep. Remember, it’s the democrats who are denouncing liberal initiatives the loudest in this election cycle.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/02/2016 - 09:19 am.

          That’s a bit much

          Some are a bit tepid at the prospects for success for some of those proposals, as is their want. Some of us are no less on board with said plans, yet dismayed at the continued impulse toward self immolation by those unhappy with how the process has played out. Just because some folks feel their side is in the right does not make their actions any less culpable if defeat is the ultimate end. One can say it’s the Party’s fault until ones face turns blue, or vice versa, yet in the end it’s only the defeat that will be remembered, with any number of rationale put forth after the fact for its occurrence.

        • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/02/2016 - 10:47 am.

          Not really

          With Hillary Clinton as President, you’re going to get a Supreme Court justice that will overturn Citizens United and Shelby County. You’re not going to get that with Donald Trump. That alone ought to be enough rationale to not walk away.

          • Submitted by Ken Bearman on 06/02/2016 - 01:55 pm.

            Pres. HRC and SCOTUS

            “With Hillary Clinton as President, you’re going to get a Supreme Court justice …”

            Only if the Senate doesn’t have a Republican majority.

          • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 02:28 pm.

            Unless Hillary loses

            And you’d get the same thing from Sanders.

            • Submitted by Sean Olsen on 06/02/2016 - 04:10 pm.

              I’m sure you would get the same from Sanders…

              … but that ship has sailed. Whether or not he’s actually the best candidate, he’s not going to be the nominee. The voters have spoken. So the question then becomes who should Bernie backers vote for (or should they vote at all), and I think it’s pretty clear that a vote for Hillary Clinton is a lot better (or a lot less worse, if you choose to frame it that way) than a vote for Donald Trump. Clinton and Trump just aren’t the same.

  26. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/01/2016 - 09:10 am.

    The problem IS the party

    Matt (and others)

    Of course there were better candidates that could have been nominated ( referring to Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry).

    Look, I’ve been dealing with this for months (as have we all), the fact is when you ask any democrat (Like perhaps Jerry Brown) to explain why they think their most disliked, distrusted, discredited, untalented, pro-war candidate has the best chance of beating Trump?… they simply can’t answer the question. All you get is a recital of Franken’s endorsement i.e. “She’s the most qualified and experienced…” Problem is when you scratch the surface Clinton’s qualifications and experience disintegrate, starting with Iraq War and going all the back to her attempt to implement Nixon’s health care plan. Decades of neo-liberal support for policies that promoted wealth disparity at the expense of the median and low income earners just confirms her status as a moderate republican.

    It’s just plain weird that democrats think the Clinton’s “centrism” have been an asset to the party when in fact they’ve been a liability. Third way democrats lost five of the seven presidential contests they’ve competed in, and they would have lost more had they nominated Clinton instead of Obama in 2008.

    It matters who your candidate is, you can’t demand votes, you have to earn them. Liberals can coalesce around a candidate just fine, they got behind Obama, Franken, Dayton, Wellstone, and Ellison. Frankly it’s just kind of stupid to expect that liberals will get behind a moderate republican like Clinton and the fact that I actually have to say that out loud tells us how bizarre the democratic mentality has become. This idea that people should vote for the democrat no matter who the democrat is is just silly, real voters just don’t vote that way. History is clear on this; once you start arguing that the only reason to vote one candidate is that the other candidate is “unthinkable” you’ve lost the election, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen if the democrats nominate Clinton. I don’t like it, I’m just saying it out loud.

    As for the Bernie or Bust rational itself it’s just a reflection of the absurdity of expecting liberals and progressives will support moderate republican candidates… they won’t, at least not in enough numbers to win a general election. If this surprises you or disappoints you, you haven’t been paying attention. You can insult liberals and progressives all you want but you can’t make them vote for your crappy candidate. The problem with republocrats is that they haven’t had any really good ideas since Eisenhower, and no passably good ideas since Nixon. Liberals have the best ideas and solutions based on evidence and reason, so why would we support those with bad ideas and no solutions? Are Clinton’s watered down bad ideas really THAT much better for the country than Trumps purely bad ideas in the long run? Our nation is decades behind where it should be on almost every front from labor rights to infrastructure because democrats stopped promoted liberal agendas. At some point you have to look at the long game and stop being blinded by short term election cycle hysteria. That’s what Sanders’s supporters are talking about when they describe a movement which is why frankly, you should be more afraid of Clinton that you are of Trump if you’re a democrat. Clinton will not only lose the election, she’ll tear the party apart. Establishment politics are finally collapsing after decades of incompetence and class warfare.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/01/2016 - 11:36 am.

      The problem with your analogy

      Is that in all of your coalescing examples you refer to regional candidates (MN in this case) with the exception of our current President. The flaws in your logic there is to assume we all thought he was some flaming liberal during the electoral process. He won IMHO, not because he ONLY appealed to the most liberal among us, but because he displayed enough of a centrist streak to pull in those who might otherwise have voted Clinton the last time. Liberal candidates can win in Minnesota because frankly, there’s a lot of Liberals here, such is not the case everywhere. The problem I have with Bernie or Bust, and with some in the circle calling themselves “progessive” isn’t with their ideals, it with the notion, that like the tea party on the other end of the spectrum, they feel they would be best served by fracturing the “big tent” that any party in a duopoly such as ours needs, to maintain any semblance of usable political power. Why self segregate oursleves into nothing more than a force of influence in strongly liberal areas only? I read some post somewhere from a Bernie supporter trying to rally support for 4 national parties. Great, just what we need, leadership determined by a 1/4 of the vote + 1. We don’t live in a parliamentary democracy, we have the system we have, at least currently. Work to change things, fine, but understand the reality you are forced to operate in. You simply aren’t gonna be able to accomplish what you’d like through protesting in the streets and shouting on the Internet. We don’t live in that sort of world, and, really never have.

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/01/2016 - 12:22 pm.


        The idea isn’t to fracture the big tent, it’s to restructure it around a liberal agenda. Clinton supporters are the ones doing the fracturing because she is and always has been a divisive character. See this is what you guys don’t get, the Bernie or Bust thing isn’t about leaving the party, it’s about demanding change within the party, that’s why Sanders decided to run as a democrat. The Bernie or Bust folks are independents who are telling you that you won’t get their vote with Clinton, they’re not democrats threatening to leave the party. Since you can’t win elections with party votes alone I suggest you listen because these folks don’t play the lessor than two evils game.

        This is a long game in any event, it was never about this election cycle alone whether Sanders got the nomination or not. And even if Sanders gets the nomination and wins the general election, that wouldn’t be the end game, we still have to keep dragging the party to left by re-populating it with liberals. No one wins every election anyways so losing this one wouldn’t the end of the world in any event.

        As for now bad Trump might be, well I guess we’re going to find out because democrats are going to put him the White House when they nominate Clinton. Here’s “reality”: if you want to beat Trump you need to produce a candidate that can win the election, it’s really that simple. You can nominate a candidate thats unlikely to win and then whine about all the “dreamers” who didn’t vote for you candidate if you want, but it’s actually easier to just select the best candidate.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/01/2016 - 01:30 pm.

          That’s a fallacy

          If Bernie or Bust folks ARE simply disaffected independents as you say, then they have even LESS excuse to be abandoning their vote from the only candidate that gives them ANY seat at the table. They can demand whatever they wish, but they are no less beggars than run of the mI’ll Democrats in this scenario, I would argue more so, as they have no native means of getting the political capital necessary to advance ANY of their policy aims sans through the Democratic party apparatus. So less a fracturing than a hostile takeover attempt akin (once again) to the tea party takeover on the right. When do the purity expulsions begin? This type of tribalism doesn’t bother you at all?

  27. Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/02/2016 - 01:14 pm.

    A final thought (I promise)

    There’s a lot of talk about conscience sprinkled throughout this discussion, “I have to vote my conscience”, “I cannot in good conscience support” and the like. Think what this implies, especially if one considers themselves Liberal. To set the stage, my view of Liberalism is that calling oneself such implies taking the view that the common good assumes primacy in all decision making endeavors, I think is somewhat commonly understood. The “conscience” argument turns this on its ear, putting forth ones individual moral certitude as the primary lever to determine the worth of ideas, or as in this case candidacy. I would argue this is more in line with “libertarian” individual as most important unit, style thinking. There is in my mind, no scenario in which a Trump presidency is better or equal for the common good than a Clinton presidency, full stop. Whether or not one personally cares for Hillary should have no bearing beyond that point. Conscience won’t feed the hungry, it won’t give healthcare to those who would lose it, it won’t stop a civil rights regression, it won’t bring back jobs for the unemployed. At best it will give one a sense of smug satisfaction as society burns around us. If one professes to be a Liberal, there should be no need for discussion. (not that I expect that to be the case).

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/02/2016 - 03:19 pm.

      My last word

      The problem with Matt’s notion of liberalism is that it doesn’t look beyond the current election cycle. It’s a fear based liberalism that is risk averse and timid. It puts a band-aid on problems that go on to fester until the patient either dies or requires an amputation. That’s not how any great liberal initiative ever got implemented and many great liberal initiative have been enacted. Liberals have the best ideas and only real solutions to any of the major problems we face today from global warming to police violence and we need passionate champions, not place holders.

      You can take a long view and realize that Trump will just be a bad president. While we’ve had bad presidents before empowering pseudo-incrementalism that actually stalls progress on every front from women’s rights to energy policy can actually do more harm over the decades than any bad president can do in 4-8 years. Millions of Americans have died and suffered because we didn’t get the health care system we needed (and still don’t have it). Were it not for Scalia’s death Roe v. Wade would likely have been gutted this summer. Strong bold progressive candidates with popular agendas could have beaten Bush and never would have authorized the Iraq war in the first place. How many lives has the collapse of middle class ruined? How many lives were ruined by the financial sector collapse that neo-liberal democrats enabled with deregulation and privatization? Even if you blame republicans you have wonder where was the fierce democratic resistance?

      The idea that voting against your conscience services greater moral agendas is pseudo-utilitarian mumbo jumbo. Democracy is for human beings who take their morality seriously and the idea that voting along party lines for someone who condoned the Iraq War is a “moral” choice is almost obscene. Better to vote with your conscience than vote for those who have no conscience.

      It’s clear that neither party has the capacity to govern this country in the best interests of it’s citizens, and the people know it. For their part democrats have lost credibility simply because they’ve abandoned passionate advocacy of liberal initiatives and principles in a vain attempt to achieve parody with republicans. When basic liberal principles like living wages and health care become “dangerous” attempts to usurp party wisdom it’s time to stick a fork in them… they’re done. Sanders is actually showing democrats a way out, a way to survive and go forward. It remains to be seen whether or not democrats will recognize the opportunity or fade into history behind the cataracts of their own mediocrity.

      • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/02/2016 - 04:39 pm.

        So I guess I lied with respect to last thoughts

        Utilitarianism is the basis for much of liberal thought, to abandon it in the face of unwelcome electoral outcomes is the epitome of short sightedness. If that were common practice all of the liberal gains you suggest would have simply been abandoned after enough push back was registered to render them untenable with wider audience. As to long view thinking I fail to see how the “burn it down to save it ” worldview still holds any creedence in the face of the fact that 1.It never actually happens (unless you count our current centrist in office as proof that Nader’s raiders had any actual effect on political thought) 2.Always leads to suffering, generally by someone other than those espousing the mindset. As to Trump, I’m aware you feel less threatened than some regarding his prospects as an executive, I hope you’re right, or we’ll all be sorry, and history won’t discriminate in placing blame.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/03/2016 - 09:38 am.

          Utilitarianism yes, pseudo utilitarianism no.

          Utilitarianism doesn’t council us to ignore our conscience, it informs our conscience by suggesting we consider a greater good beyond ourselves. This idea that voting for weak democratic candidates who either lose or refuse to passionately champion the greater good if they get elected is not nothing more than party loyalty pretending to be utilitarian morality, ego pretending to be wisdom.

          No moral system tells us to disregard our conscience.

          If you have to two candidates, one who passionately and explicitly runs on an agenda of aggressively promoting the greater good, i.e. universal health care, living wages, peace instead of war, etc. and another candidate who believes the greater good is an childish illusion to be put aside in favor of practical mediocrity… the Utilitarian choice, and the choice of a Utilitarian conscience is clear. The only immoral choice you can make is to ignore your conscience.

          Look, you’re not going to put Trump in the White House by ignoring your conscience. Democrats who ignore their conscience and select their weakest candidate to run against Trump are the ones who are going to put Trump in the White House, just like they put Bush and Reagan in the White House.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/03/2016 - 11:08 am.

            If I believe a Trump presidency

            Will lead to disastrous outcomes for our country and its citizens, up to and including loss of many lives, and the potential for the dissolving of our status as a representative democracy, please explain to me the utilitarian rationalization to vote for anyone but the only other candidate realistically able to prevent Trump from taking office. Sadly, Bernie is not the nominee, no amount of my, or your, or anyone else’s want to is going to make that a reality. So how is my voting for a third party candidate, who will not win, or not voting at all, defensible given what I believe of the future. You needn’t reargue the premise, I know you don’t share it, simply my rationale.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/03/2016 - 04:33 pm.


              If that’s what you really believe, then your voting your conscience. Since you’re not infallible or omniscient you have no moral basis to insist that others ignore their conscience as if your conscience is better than everyone else’s (talk about hubris!).

        • Submitted by Charles Holtman on 06/03/2016 - 10:07 am.

          Wait, we’re not going to make it to 200 comments?

          FWIW, I agree fairly completely with Paul on the substance of the long thread, but will pull the lever, unhappily, for Clinton. This is purely pragmatic based on Matt’s reasons, and also on the perception that the Sanders campaign, and the energy and discourse it has engendered, has actually made progress toward the tipping point where a decisive proportion of voters escapes the mindset successfully administered by the establishment duopoly for so long, and where younger and more diverse Bernie Sanderses will proliferate. Of course, with the existential crises that face us, it isn’t clear that we can afford four years of Clinton regress. Indeed, with Trump, if we survive, we’ll get another chance in four years to turn things around, whereas with Clinton it probably would be eight. So the argument about lesser evil is perhaps more debatable than it would seem, and in any event election eve won’t be a time for rejoicing.

          However, here’s a further concern that I don’t think has been discussed. To me, another great advantage of Sanders over Clinton is that a Sanders administration and bully pulpit would have started to give the angry citizens on the right a counter-narrative as to the reasons and justification for their anger and a path forward, in opposition to the manipulating and polis-destroying narrative that they have been fed for 50 years and that has primed them for Trump. The advantage of the Sanders counter-narrative would be that it in fact is true, and that by offering the actual causes of the conditions prompting the anger, it would start the long, slow process of uniting the polity against disintegration and nihilism, and toward shared and meaningful self-governance. Conversely, with Clinton in office, the Trump anger won’t go away, it will only continue to be stoked with every radical-liberal-totalitarian-Marxist action of the Clinton administration.

          • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/03/2016 - 11:00 am.

            I applaud you for your optimism

            But sadly, do not share it. I love Bernie, honestly I do, but he lost, really and truly. We are in damage mitigation mode, and I honestly believe there will be nothing left to rebuild in the wake of Trump Presidency. All due respect to Paul, but that’s not the Democratic Party’s scare tactics talking, that’s what I see with my eyes, and hear with my ears. We are in extraordinary times, not necessarily those kind that lead to happy days ahead, unfortunately.

  28. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 06/03/2016 - 09:40 am.

    Supporting the party

    I deeply dislike the argument that we shouldn’t vote for Bernie because he hasn’t done anything for anyone in the party. That’s the unfortunate suggestion forwarded by Senator Franken (who I generally like) when he says he supports Clinton because she supported him.

    This is the deal–the PARTY hasn’t done a darn thing for the PEOPLE! It’s the reason I support candidates and give NO money to the party. They send me all kinds of flyers and letters and emails telling me that I should support the party to support a candidate. No, especially after watching the antics of Wasserman Schultz. I support the ideas that the party has on its platform and many of the candidates support, but the party itself isn’t doing much to forward those ideas. Between Clinton and Sanders, I believe that only Sanders will stand on principle–working WITH anyone who will to forward progressive ideas. I believe that Clinton will do what’s “practical”–cave.

    Beyond that, I’m opposed to Clinton as president for one of the same reasons I opposed Bush II–we don’t need no stinking dynasties! We’re America, and the presidency was developed in opposition to England’s approach of a ruling family.

    Will I vote for Hillary if the choice is her, Trump, and whoever that guy the “true conservatives” are throwing into the ring as an “independent” in the hopes of getting Congress to choose? Ugh. Yes. I will hate myself for it, but yes. But only because I truly believe that Trump as president will be a monumental disaster, while Clinton as president will be the same old trickle up economic BS. The Devil you know, I guess.

  29. Submitted by Jim Million on 06/03/2016 - 12:32 pm.

    Clear Eyes as Usual

    I might spend part of the weekend musing about “trickle up economics,” Rachel. Good one, there.
    Where have we all arrived when one must “hate myself” for casting a particular vote? Will 2016 ever end?

    Appreciate your writing and thinking, as always.

  30. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/03/2016 - 02:32 pm.

    It’s your vote

    I don’t actually care who you (people) vote for, I’m not here to tell people how to vote. I’m just telling you that Clinton is the weakest candidate who is the most likely to lose the election to Trump. So go ahead, vote for Clinton, she’ll still lose. This is how the guy liberals are the most afraid of gets into the White House- democrats refuse to nominate their strongest candidate, snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and march off to defeat muttering all kinds of mumbo jumbo about pragmatism and lesser evils.

    Ultimately the problem isn’t Trump. Trump will be a bad president but we’ve had bad presidents before. The problem is that our “liberal” party is incapable of promoting a liberal agenda or defeating candidates like Bush and Trump no matter how toxic they are; that’s a much bigger problem than any particular president.

    The problem isn’t that republicans and their candidates are political geniuses, the problem is our liberal “champions” are incompetent. Seriously, they’re going to run their most disliked, distrusted, untalented, and resented candidate against a wild card populist. So this deal is done (unless Sanders somehow captures the nomination). The real question is how can we transform the democratic party into the liberal champion we need it to be?

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/03/2016 - 04:48 pm.


      Convince liberals to vote for liberals, same as always. Teach liberals to be better campaigners, realize that politics is about more than “the truth will set you free”. Realize that retail politicking is a necessary evil when most of the folks you need to convince aren’t die hard political junkies. Don’t start campaigns with one hand tied behind your back with regards to finances when you look to depose moneyed interests. Understand the difference between reality and idealized reality and what needs to be done to win elections in the real, ugly world. Any of this sound vaguely familiar?

      • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 06/04/2016 - 08:47 am.

        Ummm indeed

        Well, the threads finally been bumped but you brought us full circle, and you illustrate the inherently contradictory nature of your logic. We’re not convincing liberals to vote for liberals when we nominate conservative candidates like Clinton and tell liberals to vote for them, the problem isn’t that we have to convince liberals to vote for liberals, the problem is the democrats refuse to provide a liberal candidate that liberals can vote for.

        As for the rest of it, yes it looks familiar but the question was how to transform the democrats into liberal champions, not how do we maintain them as party of moderate republicans? You’re prescription transformed a liberal party into a conservative party.

        The Bernie or bust theory is that liberals vote for liberal candidates until the democrats start nominating liberal candidates and change the party structure and nominating process so that liberals can actually get nominated.

        You’ve had several decades to “transform” the party your way, maybe it’s time to try something different.

        • Submitted by Matt Haas on 06/05/2016 - 02:17 pm.

          Theres no rule

          That states liberals cannot also be adept and talented politicians. That is a self imposed restriction by those who only think victory is meaningful if it’s “pure”. Look, the true believers can keep pounding their heads against the brick wall as long as they like, they have no power, they never will until the structure is changed to enable the sort of system they’d prefer. They will never get that power until they learn, and acquiesce to playing the game as its now constituted. It’s really that simple. Perhaps a few more decades of constant disappointment will clue them in, or perhaps they’ll give up. Those are really the only two outcomes available.

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