Yesterday, Jeff Winbush at Domino Theory raised possibly the most prevalent objection among Democrats and independents for casting a primary vote for Bernie Sanders, namely that a President Sanders’ agenda would be too extreme to ever be realized.
I wholeheartedly agree that if elected as President, Sanders would have an incredibly difficult time moving any of his agenda forward. However, anyone who thinks Hillary Clinton would have an easier time enacting liberal policies is greatly underestimating the odium the GOP has for her (as a female, as a symbol of her husband’s legacy, and as a symbol of Obama’s legacy). Also, noting the direction the GOP is moving with leading candidates like Trump and Cruz, a Democratic president in 2016 is sure to meet even more resistance than Obama has. But even if Hillary were to meet half the resistance that Obama did, nothing will get accomplished in Washington for another term—save the occasional government shutdown and Dr. Seuss themed fake filibuster.
As far as the extremism of Bernie’s platform (vs. Hillary’s), it is important to realize that Bernie has already pulled Hillary so far left on the campaign trail that their policy proposals are becoming almost indistinguishable. Hillary just said this weekend that her top domestic priority would be healthcare?!? Her debt free college proposal only came after Sander’s push for tuition free college. Their rhetoric on ISIS is nearly identical (although Clinton does have more credibility in the foreign policy arena). Outside of foreign policy leadership experience and differing votes on the war in Iraq, there are few major differences between the Democratic candidates, and only one that matters: money.
If you can accept the fact the neither candidate has a chance of magically changing the hearts of the GOP congress and moving them towards enacting even watered down progressive policy measures, then a Sanders’ presidency at least proves that political candidates do not have to prostitute themselves to big money donors that fund their campaigns. This substantive outcome is something that the obstructionist GOP cannot stop, and the lasting impact it would have on politics would be–to quote both Donald Trump and Bernie–“Uuuge.” This is the reason to vote for Sanders.
(For the record, Trump’s popularity on the right is, at least to some degree, based on the fact that, like Sanders, Trump doesn’t need big money donors to fund his campaign.)
This has to be the message from Sanders’ campaign: a vote for Sanders is a vote for a political system that restores at least some balance of power to people over money–as evidenced by a candidate who turns down donations from billionaires. A vote for Hillary is just a vote for Bernie’s lightly moderated policies–policies with no better chance of getting through a GOP congress and zero chance of pleasing her Wall Street benefactors who already have their sales receipts for less regulation.