With Super Tuesday fast approaching, Democratic voters are waiting to see which candidate will emerge victorious from the round of 14 primaries being held March 3. Looking at the polls, it seems increasingly likely that Senator Bernie Sanders will sweep the Democratic primaries, leading with double digits nationally — and rising after Tuesday’s debate.
However, over the past few weeks people I’ve talked to feel like this primary will be incredibly close and, dreading the possibility of a second term of Trump, a number of Democrats are spouting the line “vote blue no matter who,” or something similar, attempting to do anything to avoid re-electing Donald Trump.
Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.
First, widening the scope of someone you think is fit to lead a country from ‘someone whose policies I like’ or ‘someone who says things I believe in’ to ‘literally anyone who isn’t Donald Trump,’ is even more terrifying than re-electing Trump.
Take Mike Bloomberg, for instance.
Bloomberg, an oligarch with a fortune that vastly exceeds Trump’s and who used prison labor to make calls for his campaign, enacted the extremely racist “Stop and Frisk” policy that had police officers further targeting racial minorities during his time as mayor of New York City.
Audio has recently surfaced from 2015 where Bloomberg defends this policy, and claims that 95% of murderers and murder victims are young men from racial minorities, stating that “you can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops.”
He has also made a stunning number of disgusting and disturbing remarks about women on par with Trump, including telling his female employees, “It (a new financial computer) will do everything, including give you a blowjob. I guess that puts a lot of you girls out of business.”
I could be here all day telling you why Mike Bloomberg would be a horrible president, but the fact of the matter is that he’s not Trump, and based on that, “voting blue no matter who” would get him elected. Bloomberg has been shown to support the same fundamental types of policies as Trump, but he’s actually capable of implementing them effectively.
That’s terrifying. That’s what unquestioning support for a party will get you. That’s what saying ‘vote for our guy, at least he’s not the other guy’ will do if it’s successful. Often, it doesn’t even work in the first place, and it’ll elect the person you were trying so hard to keep out of office. That’s what we saw in 2016, and if the same ideas win out in this election, that’s what we’ll see again this November.
Secondly, it weakens the candidate’s responsibility to their supporters. As you get to the point where you desperately want anyone but the current president to get elected, it’s far worse to just take whoever gets put in front of you instead of working to get a particular candidate elected. If that’s the case, then whoever does get the nomination doesn’t have any reason to listen to you. They know you’ll vote for them anyways, so you end up getting ignored, someone you never really liked gets elected and you’re back to square one.
If you want to sit back and be adamant that you want anyone but Trump, no matter who it is, things will end up just like that. If you get involved with a mass movement of people trying to build a viable candidate, Trump or no Trump, your voice will be listened to more intently, and you’re likely to end up with a candidate that you’re enthusiastic about supporting, despite any earlier reservations.
Finally, building support around opposition fractures your own support base. This might sound counterintuitive, but let me explain. When you make ‘not Trump’ your entire platform, you fall into the trap of thinking that people who aren’t him, but might be just enough like him, are more electable, and that they’ll win over Republican voters.
So, in a desperate bid to find a ‘winning’ candidate, you go for someone who, on top of having abysmal policies and being unresponsive towards their own supporters, is probably confused about why nobody eats at Maurice’s Barbecue anymore.
This is a common mistake, but it’s a mistake all the same. Most people who voted for Trump aren’t likely to vote for someone like Klobuchar or Buttigieg, and any attempts to pander to Trump’s voting base of ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires’ only serves to weaken support from people further to the left.
This ends up splitting your own voter base, because people who won’t vote for a Republican don’t have any interest in someone who’s just Republican Lite™. It completely shuts down any interest in the movement from the left, and the people they’re appealing to on the right are already happy with the way things are — at least to the extent that they won’t vote for a Democrat.
People have been slamming Bernie for being ‘too radical’ to gain support from Republicans, but these ‘radical’ ideas are engaging nonvoters nationwide and are in no small part responsible for his surge in popularity.
He’s even getting support from the other side of the aisle.
Former Republican challenger Joe Walsh published an opinion article in the Washington Post on Tuesday claiming that, if Sanders gets the nomination, “I won’t just vote for him, I’ll campaign for him.” If Sanders can maintain such a strong lead among Democrats while pushing a ‘radical’ portfolio and still gain the support of avowed Republicans, maybe we should be asking ourselves if these ‘radical’ ideas aren’t so radical after all — they might be exactly what we need.
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