Will Sanders' supporters follow their hearts or their allegiance?
When Bernie Sanders finally bowed out of the race for the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, he left thousands upon thousands of disillusioned supporters still looking for the answers, and wondering what they would do in the upcoming election.
Most of them agreed that Hillary Clinton was not their candidate of choice and, at least on social media, there a large number who say they cannot and will not vote for her in November. Some are holding out for a possible third-party or independent run from Sanders, but that likelihood is dwindling daily. Some are likely to vote for other candidates from the Libertarian or Green parties, but those candidates are longshots at best.
And who could blame them for their disappointment? Many of them supported Hope and Change back in 2008, and now find themselves with neither, after eight years of the Obama presidency. And the best Hillary has to offer is four more years of the same morass. You may find a statistic somewhere or two that appears to indicate things are getting better in the country, but most of the middle-class working public fails to be convinced.
The Democratic Party has largely been a disappointment for those who entrusted them with the country’s future eight years ago, and an outright disaster for those who were opposed to Obama’s policies. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but again, try to tell that to the middle-class that was promised so much.
Of course, if you are a life-long Democrat, voting for a Republican is out of the question. Just saying Republican out loud makes most Democrat’s faces wrinkle up as if they had tasted sour milk.
But, and bear with me now, in walks Donald Trump, the not-quite Republican candidate for president. Sure he is the party’s nominee, but most of the “Establishment” Republican leaders fought him tooth and nail, until he became the front-runner, and many still refuse to support their own party’s nominee (see the Bush and Cruz families).
Trump is the rogue outsider, and that frightens the complacent insiders, on both sides of the aisle. Democrats and Republican legislators seem to have trouble finding common ground on anything, except that which benefits them, and they are more than willing to cross the aisle for those reasons.
Trump is loud, boisterous and sometimes obnoxious, and says things to fire people up, quite often going too far, again frightening the established status quo on Capitol Hill. Leaders of both parties are afraid of him, not for the reasons one would expect, but because they worry they can’t control him.
They are concerned he may lead to a break in the system, and could cost many of them their high-profile positions of authority. In short, he was not what the Republicans wanted as their nominee.
But to the party’s credit, they listened to the voice of the people. As Trump racked up victory after victory in the primaries, the Republicans realized this was what the people of America wanted, at least the majority of the Republicans.
The Democratic Party, on the other hand, knew back in 2008 who the party’s nominee would be in 2016. Bernie could only gather general support from the Democratic inner workings, as he fought uphill all the way against the force of the Clinton machine.
Allegations of a rigged system in favor of Ms. Clinton continued to spread, and this also led many to become disgusted with the whole process. That was a major part of Bernie’s appeal, the desire to make a change in the way things were going and the way things were being done.
Can Bernie’s supporters put aside their Republican phobia long enough to take a look at what Trump is offering, or will their deep-seated hatred for the “other party” force them to accept the way things have always been?
Americans want a change in the way Washington operates, and only one of the two major parties is offering even a glimpse of change. At least, take the time to weigh both options instead of accepting what you have been told to do. Trump may not be the change people are looking for, but there is a possibility. With Clinton, all hope of change is gone.