Let me be clear: I will not vote for Hillary Clinton. I have been campaigning (Well, I’m not sure “campaigning” is the right word. More like “moving”…) for Bernie Sanders for more than a year now. Through a brain surgery, a lot of personal hardship, landslide wins, and even demoralizing defeats in some cases, I have endured. Why? Because I am sick and tired of a political system that depends on a rigged system and rewards the investment of the mega-rich. Democracy? Bah. Democratic party? Laughable.
It has been clear from the beginning of our movement that the DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has bent the primary rules and scheduling to favor Clinton. Though tens of thousands come out to see Bernie speak wherever he goes (and only a handful at Clinton rallies) Hillary still enjoys the well-moneyed and well-oiled Democratic machine that can manipulate the media and subvert voters using local Democratic politicking. Those of us who have worked for Bernie have spent countless hours knocking on doors, making phone calls, holding rallies, and doing everything within our power to make sure our neighbors know Bernie’s name and platform. Hillary’s people? I have yet to see a Hillary campaigner. Why? Because she has the whoooooole Democratic party working for her.
What I did see was the local Democratic machine here in Philadelphia go into full swing the day of the primary (not a year of work, mind you, but a day of mindgames) to sway voters. At polling places “official ballots” were handed out inside polling places that listed Hillary Clinton as the “Democratic choice” for President. What? No, she isn’t. That’s what voters are supposed to decide. That’s why we have a primary. Yet, instead of providing voters with information about the candidates so voters could make their own choice local Democratic committees chose to subvert the process by only listing Clinton and party insiders on their “official ballots.” Pennsylvania US Senate candidates Joe Sestak and John Fetterman suffered the same fate for the same reason.
If you have ever worked in politics advocating for lower income folks you know how hard it can be to reach those who make up such a large portion of so many of our cities. A lot of them work 2-3 jobs to feed their families and spend the rest of their time trying to make sure their kids have opportunities even though so much of the deck is stacked against them. A lot of them don’t have time to come to rallies, meetings, and organizational mixers because they are too busy with the costly business of being poor. These people rely on their local representatives to be fair and honest with them. When a lot of these folks go to the polls they trust their local leaders to provide them with the information they need to make responsible decisions. If you have not been on social media several hours a day or watch or read independent media then Bernie has probably been blacked out to you. Why? Because the Democratic party has worked to keep it that way. This is not just in Philadelphia either. Go online. Read the stories. State after state county after county you will find stories of underhanded political tactics being used by local Democratic machines and Hillary’s own campaign to undermine our movement. Just look at the Nevada Democratic state convention. They sure as hell haven’t outworked us. Hell, they haven’t even out-raised us even though they take contributions from the mega-rich. What they have done is outmaneuvered us by relying on tactics that you would think would be more likely to be found in Vladimir Putin’s playbook.
Now that the primary season is almost over—though crucial contests still remain—and still Hillary doesn’t have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination we, who have worked so hard to build our movement from nothing nationwide, are being asked to roll over and support Hillary because a bunch of party insiders decided to pledge to her?! Why would we do that? These are the same party “leaders” (and lobbyists, mind you) who rigged the process in the first place. She cannot come up with enough support from the public to secure the nomination so she relies on the rich and connected to swindle the nomination but we are supposed to roll over and vote for her? Why would I do that when these same insiders have been spitting in our faces for over a year?
At every turn we have been undermined. We have been told that our ideas are too big. We have been called names. We have had an entire Party and the behemoth of the mass media actively working against us. We have had the steepest climb of any candidate I can remember in my short lifetime. Yet, still we are in this race. By the end of the primary season Hillary Clinton (nor Bernie for that matter) will have enough pledged delegates (in other words, the actual voting public) to secure the nomination. Yet, Clinton herself, super delegates, and the media have already coronated her, which is a blatant lie. She is not the nominee and still will not have enough delegates come June 15th. By definition that means the Convention should be contested. “But the super delegates,” the Hillary supporters and media will say. Exactly.
If neither Hillary nor Bernie earn enough delegates to secure the nomination they should both go to the floor of the convention to make their cases and let the elected delegates decide. If Bernie loses an open convention and the voting pledged delegates decided to support Clinton then the party would have a leg to stand on in asking for my vote. But if you steal the nomination by depending on the unaccountable and undemocratic votes of the very party insiders and lobbyists who have undermined our movement at every turn then you can go straight to hell.
We Bernie Sanders supports should not roll over because rich party insiders tell us too. That mode of thinking is exactly what we have been criticizing and combatting for the better part of a year. Do not be fooled by the “do you want Trump to win” line that Hillary supporters are going to be throwing around for the next couple of months. If they really thought that they’d vote for Bernie since he is the only one who soundly beats the Donald. No, they are regurgitating talking points from the Democratic machine and their party insiders who want you to believe that they should choose the candidates and we should just fall in line because they know best. I am done falling in line. I am done being ignored. I am doing rolling over for a “Democratic” machine that has even less respect for my vote than they do for my hopes and dreams.
I will not vote for Hillary Clinton because she hasn’t earned it. I am voting for Bernie Sanders in November because he is the only candidate who has not acted like he deserved my vote and has actually worked for it. If you are a Bernie supporter I urge you to not fall in line with the rich who are for the umpteenth time are trying to tell us what to do because they think they have a right to. Vote with your heart. If we lose, we lose. But if we lose I want to lose fairly and democratically, not because some rich party insiders and lobbyists stole it. Because you know what: when elections are fair… we win.
The lesser of two evils is still evil no matter how the scales tip. Vote for someone you believe in, not who the masters tell you to. Bernie Sanders for President 2016, Democrat or Independent.